First call. First date. First kiss. Wedded bliss. Men will experience all facets of love and emotions as they go from one stage of their lives to the next. In our Supporting and Motivating Men Series, we're starting off with relationships as the devil has been playing a lot of games with men trying to catch them off-guard through sudden hurt and heartache in relationships, a job loss, or a sudden shift in finances. It's a way to try to get you in the flesh so you can't focus on your Spiritual growth. That's why you need to build with one hand and defend with the other!
Let's get started...
Healing from Heartaches
Have you gone through a huge breakup recently or been in a big fight and now you're tuning the world out with video games and movies because you just can't explain what just happened. Don't worry. You are not alone.
There was an interesting message recently about selfless acts, "In helping others, we are then able to help ourselves." It can be hard though when you're going through a breakup or recovering from a relationship that ended abruptly that has you questioning, "What just happened?" That's because sometimes the devil wants to fight you by digging a knife right into your heart because he knows it will affect you. The devil tried that with Jesus. Remember, when John was beheaded, but Jesus had to keep on ministering to the crowds? Or when David in the Old Testament lost a child, but after mourning for a set time, was able to regroup and get back to work.
Focus on God and Recognize the Devil's Attacks
To help you overcome your hurts, heartache, and setbacks, focus on God so you can move forward, be stronger and wiser in Him, and fix your faith on the future. I remember my own heartache in this category. I was dating someone at the time who wanted to have sex, but being born again (and again), I said no, I would wait until marriage. The person presented me with an ultimatum that I either choose them or they would leave. Hmm, I chose Jesus. The problem was, the blow felt like a gut-punch that I cried for hours and wanted to curl up in a ball with Ben and Jerry's and a couple of action movies. Nope. The Holy Spirit reminded me that I had signed up to volunteer at a church and make meals (really, now?).
When I went to the local church to volunteer, I realized that I was being sabotaged by my feelings and thoughts. Here I was crying over nothing while people I was ministering to needed help. I needed to pour out to them and in doing so, I was able to receive the healing I needed. I hear God saying right now to tell you to never give up. The devil can try to present a distraction to detract you from God's work, but thank God the Holy Spirit is here with us just like He was there helping to get me out of my ice cream stupor! I understood that tests will come, but we have to stand firm on God promises to never leave us nor forsake us and that's encouraging as you stand on faith, heal your heart, move forward in Christ, and crack open the fridge every now and then and put the game on.
When Relationships Don't Make Sense
I got to counsel a man about his marriage once and it came out of the blue. I had just finished working on a series of marriage workshop articles and was on Jimmy Evans' page. A young man posted a frantic message asking for prayer and no one responded. The Holy Spirit told me to share an encouraging word.
So often men can find it hard to move forward because their wives or girlfriends might be playing games - not to judge and this is not to say anything against women, but immature women and self-centered women can play games. Let's be honest. They can use children and sex as leverage and for a man, this can be heart-wrenching to know you're on a playing field that's more like an emotional battlefield. How can you work in a marriage when your partner won't grow up? How do you raise your kids if you were never taught how to deal with the tough stuff? How do you build a house with a firm foundation from a blueprint you never had access to growing up?
Let the Weak Say I am Strong
One point to remember about being a dad, a husband, a fiance, a brother, and a man is don't beat yourself up. Pastor Joel Osteen says life might try to push you down through rejection, failure, divorce or negative voices, but you're not buried and you will get back up again. So often, men feel defeated because they're in relationships where they are verbally or emotionally abused.
There was a story a few years ago about a man who recorded his wife threatening him and hitting him because he said no one would believe him. It turned out that she had an undiagnosed narcissistic personality so her persona shined with the world while she secretly tortured the man. But maybe that's not your story.
Maybe your dad didn't teach you certain skills you need now with your kids or maybe you had a violent or tragic upbringing and you're worried you'll bring that into your marriage. It's okay to be concerned about things you feel like you lacked growing up, but don't internalize it. Take it to God in prayer. You have a Faithful Father God who loves you. Ask God for Wisdom and to put strong men in your atmosphere who are "just like fathers" and can fill any gaps that you need with an encouraging word and their wisdom.
Next, change how you see yourself. Stop speaking in your mind that you're a failure. Sometimes men and women in relationships will speak how they were demeaned by people they dated or their parents, and they might not realize they were being abused so they don't know better. Then you internalize the words and start to feel like a failure. You're not. That's the devil trying to make you feel defeated. Jesus said, "Let the weak say I am strong."
You have a loving Father who is there with you to help lift you up. Every day see yourself as a success. Speak words of success into your life and speak over yourself. Stay encouraged and don't beat yourself up ever again. Say, "I am blessed and highly favored of the Lord. I am the head and not the tail. I am the lender and not the borrower. I am above and not beneath."
Lastly, get in a good men's support system that can encourage you and take your faith and your thought life to another level. Instead of playing the old tapes in your head about your past failures or hearing tapes from an abusive parent or spouse, put on Bishop TD Jakes, Pastor Robert Jeffress, Bishop Dale C. Bronner, Tony Roberts, Pastor A.R. Bernard, Pastor Joel Osteen, Pastor Jentzen Franklin, Dr. Bill Winston, and other great leaders to help equip and empower you. You are stronger than you know. Work on building that firm foundation in God.
Let's Start a New Thing
Once you hear a few inspiring and encouraging messages, it can help you establish a firmer foundation. You'll feel more confident, have a new outlook and you'll see that there are brighter days ahead.
Moving forward, look for ways to rebuild your relationship with your spouse and your kids:
However you spend your time, stay encouraged, and don't be afraid to start a new thing. Even if you didn't start out on a firm foundation or you didn't have the right influences and role models, you can learn from great spiritual leaders and start becoming the best you right now for yourself, your family, and for future generations to come!