This weekend I have been asked to address a men’s breakfast and it got me thinking about where men find their identity. It came to the conclusion that we are particularly prone to a distinct lack of reality. We often pride ourselves on being hand’s-on and practical, but the reality is far from the truth. Sure we can fix the dishwasher, change a tire, mow the lawns, but can we find a pair of socks in the sock drawer?
Let’s face it guys, we really are dreamers. As teenagers we think we are invincible. We get in a car and imagine we are Nicky Rosberg. We meet a woman and think of ourselves as James Bond. We face the things in the world that we just don’t understand like we are Dr Who. We like to think we are invincible, God’s gift to women, and have a solutions for every problem.
Things don’t get any better as we get older. In fact how we see ourselves often become even less connected with reality. If reality was life I would be 18 years old. Tall dark and handsome, elite sportsman with great 6 pack body. Funniest guy on planet, every other guy is jealous and every woman wants me. I’m richer than Bill gates, more talented than Hugh Jackman AND better looking!
But the truth is something far different, and we can not trust our own judgement on these things. It is only when disaster strikes and we are forced to face reality that we see things how they really are. Although it may not be too late to fix the problem at that time, we are usually full of regret that we didn’t spot the problem earlier. We know that if only we had seen the truth the problem would never have become as serious as it is now.
Let me give you several examples. Take the alcoholic who doesn’t recognise they have a drinking problem, or the man with prostate cancer who refuses to believe that it is anything to be concerned about. Relationships is also one of the areas where guys are particularly bad judges. How many times have relationships broken up, and they guys says “I never saw it coming” despite the fact that the relationship has been on the rocks for many years.
The problems is often related to our identity. How we see ourselves reflects how we feel about our situation. If we see ourselves as invincible then their is nothing to worry about. If we see ourselves as appealing to others, then we can handle rejection. If we see ourselves as gods, then nothing is impossible for us.
Psychologist often promote the power of positive thinking, but given the serious reality check that disaster often brings, positive thinking will not get you through. Instead of taking your identity from who you think you are, take it from who God says you really are.
“As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.’” (Romans 3: 10-11) “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5: 8) “For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!” (Romans 5: 17)
Look to Jesus. Comparing our life to his gives us the reality check we need. Accepting his life in ours gives us the solution to becoming the very person we always want to be – REALLY.