“Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”(Proverbs 16:32)
As we discussed who is a father and what is your father in parts 1 and 2 of the Fatherhood series, the likely response from most men would be, “I know who a father is and who my father is but how does that pay the bills or put food on the table?”
It is in our nurturing as African men to give ourselves solely to our manly task, so this feedback is expected. However, it is also reflective of why men struggle to find their true identity in God and thrive in it. We focus so much on our responsibilities and give little or no attention to the internal issues that affect how effective we are in delivering on our responsibilities.
Men are not only expected to provide school fees, house bills, care of parents, etc., we are also expected to provide nurturing, affection, emotional support, etc. Rightfully, we are no longer just the provider for physical needs but also the provider for emotional needs.
This is where most of us are failing. We fail because we were not brought up to be ‘emotional’ by our parents and society. As a result, we have swept our emotional past under the carpet then forget it is there while we focus on our ‘manly’ physical duties. We also fail to see the failure in our nation as a fruit of our emotional failings (a failure to connect with people rather than with things).
Is it a surprise then that most men are facing depression and cannot talk about it? Is it a surprise that many men encounter reoccurring patterns which everyone, except them, can see? Is it not clear that the reason men can’t deal with the emotional issues of their past is because they have blocked them out? All categories of men are affected – the married, the single, the rich, the poor, the employed, the unemployed, the self-employed, the young, the old, etc.
So, what must I do?
Accept it: There are issues in our childhood that affected us then and still affect us now, no matter how silly that issue may be perceived to be. Without acceptance, we can’t unearth the past and deal with it. Accepting emotional issues is no longer ‘being feminine’.
Place a value on its impact: We can only appreciate the depth of impact if we place a value on its impact.
Look carefully to see the outcomes: We need to identify or observe the outcomes of our emotional struggles on our children, wives, families, friends, colleagues, etc.
Admit what you have become: We need to admit that we are today as m en, fathers, husbands, children, colleagues, friends, etc. is a result of our emotional issues. It would make it easier for us to take in feedback from people around us, most of whom will be people keen for us to deal with the issues we have been denying existed for years.
Go to God sincerely: 1 Peter 5:7 tell us, “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” As we seek God sincerely, His Spirit will reveal to us vivid pictures of our past with the purpose of revealing the root cause. The Holy Spirit will also give us the enabling to forgive those who hurt us and also the humility to seek for forgiveness from our close ones and others we have wronged. We will also receive guidance on any professional help we may require and steps we should take to become the man God desires for us to be.
Do note that the healing could be instant but the new man will be a journey. The gradual change will be visible to those around us.
When men focus on and deal with their emotional issues, we can then fully accept our identity in God and the fruits of that will be a life lived through expressed love, compassion, affection, courage, vulnerability, servant leadership and the other fruits of the Spirit. Such men reproduce their liberated selves in their children and other folks, particularly their sons.
Join us at When Men Worship 2018 on Sunday 8th July 2018 where in the atmosphere of worship, we will deal with these issues.