Frustrated Men, Face Down
‘Because we are vulnerable, we can be brave.’ Josef Pieper
‘Inner healing’ tends to attract women, who usually access their wounds more readily than men with the help of words absent from the masculine vocabulary.
Yet guys are no less frustrated, perhaps more pent up than their female counterparts. On one hand, God made us for noble acts of conquest and self-sacrifice; on the other, we’re unclear on proper outlets and less certain of our capacity to sustain a holy charge in the right direction. Frustrated. Ashamed.
How many of us typify what Pieper describes as ‘the roving unrest of spirit’ and ‘a dreary sadness’ that results when we forsake ‘the nobility of being that belongs to our essential dignity as…sons of God’? In other words, we’ve glimpsed the Lion and our lion-heartedness, then dully return to domestication through porn and video games. We war online and kill ourselves slowly through virtual unrealities.
Roving unrest indeed. Only complete surrender to Jesus calms our storm.
God allows sin to level us as to raise us up. I have been blessed this year with a male majority (what?) Living Waters group full of guys diverse in lust, age, and church tradition yet united in common frustration and determined to find the narrow way that leads to life. We found words through which we humbled ourselves in consistent accountability. We chose to see and grieve the damage we’ve done to women. We opened to the Father’s love. We now stretch under-used muscle in focused self-giving and are relishing the burn (a little).
My sharp-as-a-whip colleague Mark convinced us that masculine vulnerability is the threshold over which men become strong. The Spirit brooded. We marveled. After Trump and the masculine frustration that surfaced in vile, random acts of violence throughout the last four years, are we still capable of forsaking our ‘roving unrests’ facedown before the Crucified? Dare we stumble to the Savior?
All is not well. The Merciful Doctor is in.
‘The unique design of God is fully realized in a man only when he is transformed in Christ.’ Dietrich von Hildebrand