Monday, July 22, 2013

Asleep at the Wheel

As a family last night, we watched the movie, Courageous. What a tear-jerker! It gets me every time. It is a powerful, well done movie that hit me square in the eyes, while encouraging me, all at the same time. Amy said to me this morning, "I am surprised you didn't wake up with swollen eyes." Ha. I hate to admit I cried while watching a movie, but it's true.

For many years, I failed as a husband and father. I failed to take responsibility for myself, my wife, and my children. I failed to lead spiritually. I failed to stay faithful. I dropped the ball and "fell asleep at the wheel." It's a hard reality that causes me to feel deep regret and sadness. Thankfully, God has seen fit to pull me out of that "hole" and move me toward healthy change and restoration. It's a life-long process.

This morning I got out the book, The Resolution for Men, which was written by the same guys who produced the movie Courageous. It is a great book for men who wish to lead their family and stop neglecting their God-given calling, duty, and privilege. It's no easy task, but God can enable us as men to step up and lead. We need each other, a band of brothers, to do it, though.

Here is an exert from the book (chapter 1) that is a powerful reminder to men, particularly Christian men, who have to decide if we are going to step up or not: often feel permission to be irresponsible, immature and carelessly neglect in their roles as husbands and fathers. In the meantime, they have placed their families in moral and spiritual danger, threatening their marriages, their children, and their faith. They don't realize that they can't have it both ways. 
As a result, the mothers of their children become the ones who (by default and necessity) are carrying the weight of the family on their shoulders in order to survive. These women are stressed out and longing for the man in their lives to wake up, rescue them, and grab the wheel again.
That's why before it's too late, we are sounding the call and asking men if they are awake at the wheel. Or more importantly, to see if they even realize they are in the driver's seat at all. God's word commands husbands and fathers to lovingly lead their homes. As men, we are to walk in honor and integrity and fully embrace our responsibilities as shepherds over our families. We are called to model a loving, Christlike example for our wives and children. 
Therefore - because this is God's calling - it's no mystery that a godless culture would mock and constantly undermine fatherhood, attacking and inverting what God designs and wants. Men are being told that they don't have the permission or responsibility to lead. But the culture is not your authority. God is. 
They go on to ask a series of questions to men that are "revealing questions:"
  • Is your wife weary, worn out, and always feeling like she is carrying too much on her shoulders?
  • Does your marriage lack clear direction, romance and true intimacy?
  • Are your children, whether young or grown, emotionally distant from you and spiritually apathetic toward God?
  • Is your own faith and spiritual condition weak or mediocre at best? 

A hard but sobering truth...
If your wife is calling all the shots in the family and has her hands on the wheel, then very likely it's because you have not. Regardless of what she does, God has intentionally placed you in the driver's seat and wants you to lead. You need her deeply, but leading is your God-ordained responsibility, not hers. 
I need to be reminded of these truths and God-given duties and commands. I have put too much on Amy in the past and neglected my responsibilities as a husband and father. No more. Enough!

It won't come without a fight, no doubt, but it is worth the struggle. I expect it to be difficult, to face some resistance, to feel overwhelmed and alone at times, and to have to overcome my past failures. Jesus is bigger, better and stronger than all of it, so "if God is for us, then who can be against us?"

**For the women, there is also a book for you, called, The Resolution for Women.

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