Have you ever found yourself preparing for every possible mishap when going on a roadtrip? I mean, you have the weather for the next week printed out, flawless mapquest directions, a spare tire, and an extra tank of gas all ready to roll at the blink of an eye. And then, in mid-rainstorm while your newly installed windshield wipers are swiping and swerving, the battery of the car decides to revolt violently and eventually give out. No warning. No heads up. It just dies. The one part of your car that has hold of its heart, a vital piece to making the car work as it is intended… and yet it was the least of your worries. Isn’t it amazing how we can all be so prepared for what we think is going to come that we don’t even see what is planted deep within? I think you know I’m no longer talking about a car.
Strength– it’s the security blanket we are all called to have. The one characteristic that makes us better, more independent, more mature. It’s what we work for… it’s what we want. Define it how you will– no definition will ever be adequate in explaining all this word means. I want to speak to the men for a few lines. Every man experiences a time in his life when he goes away. Perhaps not physically away, but emotionally and spiritually distant from the world he once knew as a child. He takes on a new horizon, a new dynamic where he gathers a certain strength that only comes alongside manhood. It’s a special time because it’s a developing process that sets the stage for the rest of our lives. That strength is what we have grown up to gain, and when it is gained it can be somewhat overwhelming. Regardless, we “go away” with the ultimate intention of returning… returning in a better way, as a better individual, and as a better MAN. And when we do finally arrive for the first time in our newly masculine state, we find someone close to us to pour our newly found strength into. And when it happens as it was meant to be, there is little that could be labeled more beautiful. It is then, when we initiate not only a relationship but a relationship with someone who you invest your STRENGTH in, that a moment of perfection can be seen. A moment where God’s intention is visible in its purest form… until we mess it up.
So, how can we mess it up? How can something so natural, so inherently placed in a man’s nature, go completely wrong? Let me try and explain. We (men) are so great at building up strength, retaining that strength, and then finally pouring it into a loved one’s being. We have no problem issuing that strength for whoever we have chosen to pour into, and we will be there whenever our strength can be used to their benefit. Why? Because we love them, and we have deliberately made such people part of ourselves by pouring ourselves, our strength, into them. However, we run into a problem when the person in which we have invested starts a battle with us. All of a sudden, there are no defenses to be found. No shield, no sword, no armor. Just a bare heart, forced to take the breaks and bruises as they come. We have developed so much strength in our “going away” yet the one person in who we pour what we have gained is also the one person who can tear us right back down to the ground. That’s the hole in our strength… that’s the mistake so many men make. Who would ever have thought that one person would break us down? Maybe we should ask the guy with the dead battery…
You see, maturity and strength go hand-in-hand. But we have to be careful how we define strength. Strength has no holes, no exceptions to its resilience. It is gained separately from anyone other than yourself and your Maker, and it cannot be broken by anyone other than the two. As we grow, we strengthen. Each mistake made in the strengthening eventually builds back up a stronger wall of resistance, wiser than the one before and more alert for the next possibility of error. The time when you really grow is the time when you are left with no one else to lean on, no one else to cushion you. You have no choice but to grow up, beef up, and carry the weight of who you are.
FYI: My words are not poetic. They are not fluffy or full of beautiful imagery describing what is on my mind. No… but they are stained with experienced. Simplicity often mirrors truth. And I hope all of you understand how that relates to all that has been said. Scatter-brained– yes. But I don’t want my jumbled words to demean the innate truth of this message.
This airstream runs on a battery. Even though I can get new windshield wipers, new tires, a new paint job, new seats,etc., it won’t do me any good unless that battery is running the way it should. We can prepare, prepare, prepare for all the “what ifs” and “maybes” that this world might throw at us, but NEVER make the mistake of ignoring what’s at the heart of it all. Preparation for what will not happen is often a sign of ignorance of what will. Thus, once again, we are called to fight… but this time, our formidable foe is strength. Fight strength? Yep. Fight Strength. Fight it until its truly strong against anyone. Make sure before you pour your strength into someone, you are also able to show that strength AGAINST that same person. That is the test– a test painful to pass and even more painful to fail.
Rustling through highways and broken hearts,