All men have three basic yearnings: purpose, adventure and romance.
John Elldredge puts it beautifully in his book Wild at Heart when he writes that every masculine soul needs a battle to fight, an adventure to live and a beauty to rescue. As men we come alive when our souls find expression in these three areas.
Unfortunately, in today’s sanitised and digitalised world, battles and adventure are not easy to come by. And in our overly eroticised society, romance has largely been reduced to the physical act of sex. Today most men attempt to satisfy their need for battle, adventure and romance by living vicariously through others or in the playground of virtual reality. We sit on our couches week after week watching our favourite team do battle against the opposition on the sports field. We yearn for a noble cause, a battle to fight. Because we don’t have one of our own, we identify ourselves with a sports team. We feel elated when they win and depressed when they lose. We somehow link our masculine validity to the success of the team we support. Or we spend countless hours playing computer games, battling aliens or monsters in some digital never-never land. It’s sad and it’s lonely because it’s not the real thing.
Our quest for romance is often even more sad and lonely.
Porn addiction has reached almost epidemic proportions. Men are spending an ever-increasing amount of time in front of their computer screens trawling porn sites, seeking a distorted form of the romance our masculine souls crave.
We’ve been seduced by a lie, believing that somehow millions of pixels on a computer screen can satisfy our soul’s cry for romance and beauty. It’s a deadly trap and one that millions of men are battling to escape.
Pornography destroys intimacy because no woman can ever live up to the images of erotic perfection it so brazenly displays. And even if they do, it won’t last because in the fantasy world of digitised sex, a new, younger, slimmer, sexier woman is just a click away.
None of this works to satisfy the masculine soul because none of it is real. All it does is feed growing addictions, cause more frustration and erode our masculinity. Instead of being virtuous our lives become virtual. What is the way out of this futile maze?
Is it possible to find fulfilment for the masculine soul and live as a true man in this modern world?
The answer is a resounding yes! When a man understands his masculine soul and what drives it, confusion about his role and identity gives way to a deep sense of conviction and purpose and he is able to embrace his masculinity with gratitude and joy. He is able to break away from the sterile strictures and digital distractions of modern living and find purpose, adventure and true romance.
The richest and most important source of battle, adventure and romance for a man is found in his own family. A father’s most important fight is for his children; to ensure that they are safe, educated, loved and provided for. To do this well a man will need to draw on all the qualities of true masculinity. It doesn’t come easily; as resilient as children are, they are also fragile and complex beings who grow up in a world full of potential danger. Raising children well is a noble purpose and a battle worth fighting.
A man’s most challenging and rewarding romance is a lifelong commitment to one woman. It is something over fifty per cent of men fail in. To succeed in this noble challenge, a man will need to draw deeply on the virtues and strengths of true masculinity. There will be dragons to slay, but they won’t be the ones you read about in fairy tales. Just as no man reached manhood unscathed by his childhood, women bear their own wounds. And the woman who mothers your child will be no exception. She will carry her wounds and scars into your relationship and as her knight in shining armour you will have to rescue her from them by walking with her in love and truth through her own healing process. This is true romance. And it is found in your own home.
And while you are raising your children and romancing your wife there is purpose to be found and adventure to be lived outside the home too. (There is also romance, but it’s false, and the only way to deal with that is to flee!) The best way to satisfy the cry of the masculine soul for purpose is to find it and live it. Men are crying out for lives that matter, lives that have purpose. As an illustration of that, Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life (Zondervan), is the bestselling nonfiction hardback in history!
Men lose their masculine fire when their only purpose in life is to pay the bills.
But there is no need to fall into this treadmill-shaped trap. In almost every sphere of society there are noble causes to put your heart into and fight and, in so doing, satisfy the cry of your masculine soul for purpose and adventure. One of the great benefits of finding a cause worth fighting for is that it will undoubtedly come with its share of adventure. Adventure itself is not difficult to find. It simply requires breaking routine, getting off the couch, getting out from in front of the television or computer screen and leaving the comfort and convenience of the house. What constitutes adventure differs from person to person. The important thing is not to fall into a trap of living the same old life, year after year. Many people who claim to have 30 years of experience actually only have one year, repeated 30 times over.
The power and importance of making a determined decision to find healing for your masculine wounds and to live with authentic masculinity cannot be overstated. It will change your life and the lives of those you love forever. It will start you on the adventure of a lifetime and a journey of discovery from which you will never look back.
– A reading from ‘DAD – The Power and Beauty of Authentic Fatherhood’.