Hello, David here. Today’s slightly longer post follows on from a reflection on The Poser. Most of the material for this post comes from the book, Wild at Heart, by John Eldredge. A great read. So join me for part two:
Am I Good Enough?
John Eldredge, author of Wild at Heart, suggests that two questions that most men seek answers to are, “Am I good enough?”, and “Do I have what it takes?”. The answers to these can generally only come from their father who provides the places and moments to answer these questions.
A boy’s passage into manhood involves many of those moments. The father’s role is to arrange for them, invite his boy into them, keep his eye out for the moment the question arises and then speak into his son’s heart yes, you are. You have what it takes. And that is why the deepest wound is always given by the father.
The wound is inevitable, necessary and the wound hurts. Some fathers give a wound, merely by their silence; they are present, yet at the very same time, absent to their sons. The silence is deafening.
Imagine how Jesus, felt at that moment on the Cross when God, the Father, was silent.
From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice ‘Eloi, Eloi, lamasabachthani?’ — which means, ‘My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me? (Matthew 27:45-46 NIV)
Even Jesus received a wound from His Father — and felt the pain of what it was like to be without the Father at a critical moment. Even with what Jesus felt and experienced, the bible reminds us of what was done for us, as sinners – by the sacrifice of a man taking on the wounds.
But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:4-6 NIV)
As men, created in the image of God — we are subject to the wounds which we receive and, paradoxically, can only be healed by the sacrifice of what Jesus did in taking the wounds — our wounds, my wounds, all the wounds.
The assault wounds are like a shotgun blast to the chest, Eldredge says. This can get unspeakably evil when it involves physical, sexual, or verbal abuse carried on for years. Without some kind of help, many men never recover. One thing about assault wounds — they are obvious. The passive wounds are not; they are pernicious, like a cancer. Because they are subtle, they often go unrecognized as wounds and therefore are actually more difficult to heal.
And so it has gone, men to men, fathers to sons — the wounds are given, and the wounds are received.
The Wound’s Effect
So, as a man, what can I do with the wound?
All men carry a wound. Most know it’s there but don’t know what to do about it. Some ignore it, acting out of its pain across their entire lives. Others discover the wound, name it, and go forth towards a path of healing.
So there is no crossing through this country, of the landscape between being a boy and becoming a man, without taking a wound. And every wound, whether it’s assaultive or passive, delivers a message. The messages feels final and true, absolutely true, because it is delivered with such force. Our reaction to it shapes our personality in very significant ways. From that flows the false self. Most of the men you meet are living out a false self, a pose, which is directly related to his wound.
We have a choice as men — either overcompensate and become driven or violent, or shrink and become passive or retreating in our masculinity. It’s because of the wound — not because of being a man. But Eldredge warns us, “The wound comes, and with it a message. From that place a boy makes a vow, chooses a way of life that gives rise to the false self. At the core of it all is a deep uncertainty. The man doesn’t live from a center. So many men feel stuck — either paralyzed and unable to move, or unable to stop.
Take a moment as a man and ask yourself: “Do I have what it takes? Am I powerful? If you can’t — or won’t — answer these questions, it is time to ask yourself this one:
“Am I ready to go into battle to win the war for my heart?”
The wound will be in your way. But there is a way through
A wound that goes unacknowledged and unwept is a wound that cannot heal. ~ John Eldredge
Only when we enter our wound will we discover our true glory. As Robert Bly says, “Where a man’s wound is, that is where his genius will be.” There are two reasons for this. First, the wound was given in the place of your true strength, as an effort to take you out. Until you go there you are still posing, offering something more shallow and insubstantial. And therefore, second, it is out of your brokenness that you discover what you have to offer the community. The false self is never wholly false. Those gifts we’ve been using are often quite true about us, but we’ve used them to hide behind. We thought that the power of our life was in the golden bat, but the power is in us. When we begin to offer not merely our gifts but our true selves, that is when we become powerful.
May you discover the wound that holds you back from the life that God has for you. May you know the One who was wounded for you – to heal your wounds and your heart. All it takes is a prayer. Will you dare to go to this place and seek healing?
Abandoned by the world today
Rejected in all I do and say
My wound trails me like a shadow
As it hunts me with its bow and arrow
Beauty and affliction haunt me still
Shot through my heart, but by your will
Enter my wound and set me free
Heal my heart, while I face my fear
Through my wound, set me free
From your wounds upon that tree