Originally posted by Mike Young September 2006
Men, this week I have a challenge for you. It won’t be easy, but challenges aren’t supposed to be easy; they are supposed to be challenging. Here’s the deal… will you take some time in the coming days to sit down, preferably with a buddy, and take a look in your rear view mirror? Many men are uncomfortable with looking back over their lives because there is a fair amount of junk that they don’t like to look at, think about or talk about. But, you know what, you don’t have to start with the hard parts. Start with some easy thoughts. Could you answer these questions?
- What is your favorite memory from childhood?
- What was your favorite meal?
- When you had free time to do anything you wanted, what did you choose to do?
- Who was your best friend? What made him such a great friend?
- What was your favorite thing to do with your father? Your mother?
- What were you good at?
I hope some of those questions brought to mind some good thoughts about where you have been. But now I’ll challenge you to go a little deeper…
- What was the biggest challenge you faced as a young man?
- Tell about a time when you were disappointed.
- Describe some conflicts that you had with your mom or dad. What did you learn? How did you react?
- Can you think of a time when you were embarrassed beyond description?
- Describe a time when you failed.
Now, what’s the purpose of this line of questions? Well, the idea is this…we all have a story. In The Quest for Authentic Manhood, we have recently discussed the fact that our stories are all different, but we all have one. And, if we slow down, look around and pay attention to ourselves, we can know ourselves better. Maybe if you stop for a few minutes, you’ll understand why you love fishing or baseball so much. Or perhaps you’ll realize that you love to walk through the woods in the early morning because it makes you think about hunting with your dad. You may suddenly realize that when you get frustrated, you react just like your dad did. You may understand that you are passive when it comes to leading your family, just like your father was. You may realize that you hated being poor and so you invest every drop of energy into getting rich. You may remember a time when you were embarrassed by some guys when you stood up to give a speech in a high school class, so you’re still afraid to speak in public. You may have heard your father say that you would never amount to anything, so you work your tail off to prove him wrong even though you’re worth millions and he’s been dead for 10 years.
When we look back, we can learn a lot about who we are and how we got to our station in life. Some of the markers along life’s journey are fun to recall; others are downright painful to think about. Looking back is important, we need to do it. But remember, we can’t change what happened in the past, we can only change our reaction to it and how we move forward. As I was pondering all this I found this verse in Romans: And do this understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. Men, can I challenge you to look back into your past to help you understand the present time? Then wake up and move forward with a stronger sense of who you are and where you are headed.