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Men Walking Through Their Own Brokenness

Thirty guys from all over the country joined us here at Adventures for a men’s retreat. Most of us are empty nest dudes. We’ve raised our kids and wish we had a “do-over”, so we became coaches. When we shared with the male coaches this past weekend, at the very end, the response is not what you …
By Seth Barnes

Thirty guys from all over the country joined us here at Adventures for a men’s retreat. Most of us are empty nest dudes. We’ve raised our kids and wish we had a “do-over”, so we became coaches.

When we shared with the male coaches this past weekend, at the very end, the response is not what you may have expected. Here we’ve been following Jesus most of our lives. We’ve raised our own kids and we’ve walked out life in hard places.

And yet…most guys felt inadequate. Most guys felt like, “I’m not enough.”

We poured oil on them and prayed for them and my point was, “That’s exactly the point. You are not enough. Therefore, if Jesus doesn’t show up, you are toast. And that radical dependence on Him should set you free.”

A number of years ago I met Troy Magnum, a hotshot software department. manager from NC. After that, I walked with Troy through some tough times in his marriage.

I love his reflection on the difficult parts of his marriage. A lot of men are right where he was. We feel inadequate and poorly prepared. We know we’re supposed to be “more than conquerors,” but we feel weak.

Here’s his confession on his blog:

I was 34. I had woken up from another terrible night sleep on the couch at a college friend’s house. It was 4:45am and I had to get to my second job of driving taxis by 5:30am. My wife and I were separated. I had two little ones, a seminary degree, a failed attempt as a pastor and a very strained marriage to greet me in the mirror that morning. Nothing but broken relationships surrounded me and it was the beginning of a rude awakening in my 30’s.

I came into my 20’s with guns blazing, looking to make my mark, leaning on talent, skill, looks, intellect, physical prowess, determination and willpower to move forward. I had a lot of ministry responsibilities for the young adults at our church. I recall an older man who pulled me aside and asked why I was so demanding and thankless towards my other small group leaders.

I remember responding in an unguarded moment, that no one took care of my heart so why should I treat my leaders any different. Like many young leaders, I was unaware of how much brokenness infected my good desires to serve God.

I was not awake to the fact that how you treat others is the litmus test of your relationship with God. “For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen“ – 1 John 4:20

During my 20’s and early 30’s, I thought I had everything I needed to change the world. The world’s problems, the unreached people groups, the injustices done to oppressed people – I thought I could impact them all. I was idealistic. I had the passion to make a difference and thought I had all that was needed (intellectually, emotionally, relationally, etc..) to make an impact and that the opportunities would come easily.

The world was not daunting because I thought it was a lot smaller and simpler than it actually is. I thought I was a lot larger and “more together” than I actually was. You could say my view of the world was all about me and what I could do.

As Micheal Thompson of zoweh.org says, “if the story is all about you, then you are living in way too small a story.”

I was surprised and stunned when life did not go as smoothly as I thought it would. I see that same surprise in younger men when I talk with them. When I finished Seminary, I was in for a rude awakening. I was unaware of how much pride, brokenness and ambition I had mixed in with my good Godly desires. I was in for some long years in learning about humility and the importance of relationships over accomplishments.

As an older man, I have sought out community over being the lone ranger. My personal view is that guys in their 20’s and early 30’s, tend to be self absorbed and avoid real consequences of that behavior in the short term.

Yet, when they start to take that same cavalier approach with a pretty young lady who calls them hubby, or children who call them daddy, or in growing roles of influence at work, church, the ball field, or other social settings….the way they do life all starts to catch up to them. They start, all of a sudden, looking in the mirror beyond their own self-importance, rugged good looks, abilities, desires, etc… to see the ugly side of themselves that is negatively affecting others. They start to wake up. No one is immune.

My view of the world is quite a bit different from when I was younger. From where I sit today, I still have all my idealism but I have been sobered in the best sense of that word. I have dropped my naïveté. I have come to believe the scripture that says without Jesus i can do nothing.


Folks, in Jesus, we are enough. If we’ll just get out of the way, He will be made strong in us.

Do you know men like that? Please pray for them.

Men in America are in a bad way. Pray for all of us. We want to step up. We want to fight the righteous fight for the Kingdom, but we have to make our way through a lot of pain to do it.

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