Men, this includes me of course, what is our purpose as leaders of our families? This is where I am. I am looking nowhere but into my own mirror. What is the will of God in my life and the life of my family? I am sure about some things and a little foggy on others. Thankfully I have a God who is patient, because sometimes I am slow on the uptake, if you know what I mean. (Thanks to my wife on that front too, haha).
If we look to scripture there is quite a bit of instruction. From Genesis to Revelation God is crying out to the men in his story to act like he designed them to act, but over and over again they fail. It seems like we cant figure it out. It’s either one extreme or the other. Adam cowers behind Eve and refuses to protect his wife from the serpent, standing in the background, too afraid to act. Or David, he is right up front and in your face, too arrogant and self-righteous to see that his sinful desires have taken over and Gods will has somehow ended up in the backseat.
I end up in both camps often. Bouncing around like a ping-pong ball. One moment I’ll sit back and watch my family struggle, refusing to step up and lead and the next moment I can become overbearing and critical. The happy medium is where God calls us to be.
We are commanded to provide for our families in 1 Timothy 5:8. We all are, not just the men, but I think this is especially true for the man. We go into the world and face its ugliness and hardships to give our families what they need. Most of us accept this (those that don’t should probably reference that verse), but it can give us a feeling of superiority that is unfounded and sinful. I know that in the past I have fallen into this camp. Somehow my mind tells me that because I am the one bringing home provision, I am the one who can look down on all those that are not. This is ridiculous of course. We are a family, created to empower and lift up the whole at the expense of the individual. My wife and children have their own ugliness and hardships to deal with (and they deal with them spectacularly by the way) and for me to think that mine are somehow worse or more noble to face, is the definition of self-righteousness.
On the other hand, when things become difficult, I have been known to deliberately step back and kind of push the others up front saying “here, this is too uncomfortable, you handle it”. How much more cowardly could I be? I am a man called to lead and leadership shows its need most in the times of trial. It can sneak up on me. I have no problem facing down danger or obstacle, where I struggle is with compassion, tenderness, and the building up of individuals. I can become frustrated and impatient. I can forget that a leader not only defends his castle and slays the dragons, but he also raises up his princes and princesses with loving tenderness, leaning more on his softness than his sword. My babes love sitting on my knee and touching my rough hands and stubbily face. They need to know that I am the one who will always protect them, but that I am also the one who will pick them up and kiss away their tears when they fall down.
Thankfully as I travel down the path of life I am exposed to men that are further along than I am. I can glean bits and pieces from their examples and import them into my own life. Hopefully I am creating an example that others are gleaning from me. I believe we need to periodically take an inventory of ourselves and confirm that we are moving forward rather than falling behind. Those that we are impacting can help us grow. Who knows us better than the ones we are leading?
As we lead and love, everyone benefits. Failing to lead only slows the entire family down. It hurts the people we love. It creates disaster. Step up guys. Be a man. Be a man who leads his mini army towards victory. You’ll be thankful that you did.