Passivity Is Killing Us

So yesterday was father’s day and that made me think of men and the struggles we often face.  One of the areas we really struggle in is our passivity.  It’s pretty much an epidemic really.  We so often fail to engage where we should.  Sometimes that comes from laziness but often times it comes from fear, and our number one fear is failure.

We are all passive in different places, mainly the places we don’t feel confident (which is a lot of places for most of us).  We of course try to only operate in the places we feel confident but that usually fails at some point.  When we don’t know what to do or are afraid to fail, we go passive.

One place that most men are passive though is in relationships with women. This goes all the way back to the garden.  In Genesis, Adam and Eve are in the garden when Satan tempts Eve to eat the fruit.  I’m not going to go into the female part of this here but I want to touch on Adam’s part.  Adam was literally right next to Eve as this is going on.  It’s not like she calls him over and says, “Hey come check out this fruit”.  No, Adam is “with her” and in the Hebrew it says he was literally with her, right at her side.

Adam is there and he does nothing.  He doesn’t lead, doesn’t confront, doesn’t rescue Eve, doesn’t stand up and say, “Hey go back to Hell.  We are following God”.  He goes passive.  Ever thought about why? I’ll tell you why.  He was more afraid of Eve than God.  I have a mentor that says most men are afraid of their wives.  I like to joke that I’m afraid of my wife and I’m not even married yet.

This leads to all sorts of trouble in marriage.  Husbands can become passive and then aggressive to make up for it.  They hide in work.  They can fail to lead their family.  Mainly there are just whole areas where they check out. But this is also extremely important as a single.

As a single person I think it is much easier to keep ourselves in situations that we feel confident without facing our fears.  There is often no reason bigger than ourselves to face them so we just don’t.  This is why having people that know your story, including where you are passive, is so huge.

And when it comes to how we approach women, it just creates one mess after another.  It can keep us from pursuing women that we really want to.  If we do pursue, it can lead to doing it in a nice guy, aw shucks kind of way at best, or make us creepy at worst.  We end up chasing instead of pursuing and that is not where you want to be – trust me I’ve spent way to much time there.

If we don’t deal with passivity as a single guy, one of two things is going to happen.  Either we are not going to get married or probably worse, we are going to marry someone we don’t really want to or someone who is controlling us.  In both cases we end up with a situation where they are leading us.  We end up in a marriage that is all backwards where we are emasculated or where eventually we grow a pair and it all blows up in our face.  All of this is bad, really bad.

Passivity kills masculinity because it steals our confidence and leads to sin. So we need to face it head on. Here are a couple of things that have been helping me.  First of all when you are passive in a situation, don’t spend time beating yourself up over it.  This accomplishes nothing good and in fact will probably drive you to more passivity.  Instead, ask yourself where are you passive?  What situations do you shrink back from?  A way I like to ask it to myself is where do I feel like a 5 year old?  Then ask God, where does that come from?  In other words what are you afraid of and where does that fear originate?  It will probably not be the first thing that comes to mind so engage your heart, and God.

So how about it guys?  Does this resonate?  Where are you passive?  What has it cost you?  How have you responded to your passivity?  Ladies feel free to chime in as well.

I Wanted To Like You

Several years ago I really liked this girl.  She was beautiful, successful, smart, fun, liked Jesus – whole 9 yards.  I had met her at a conference I was speaking at but she lived a few states away.  We talked and I got her number, called her and oddly enough had a trip planned to her state already – so I asked her if while I was there if we could go out.  She said yes and we had a great time.  We kept talking on the phone and I said I wanted to see her again if she would like to.  She said she would like that and we set up another time for me to come visit her.  Now let me ask you a question – did she at least kind of like me? I’m thinking yes.  So I should just go make it happen right? But I didn’t know how.

I went down and we had an ok time but there was no spark.  I was in my head the whole time.  To be honest I didn’t get that she could like me.  I mean what did I have to offer her – she made more money than me, lived in a better place, had a great family – all of it.  When she dropped me off at the airport her eyes said it all.  Not that it kept me from calling her more and trying to get her to like me etc.

One day as we were talking on the phone (she was pretty gracious to talk to me at this point) she literally said, “I wanted to like you – but I just didn’t”.  She went on to say attraction just happens and she didn’t feel it.

It was a turning point in my life and here’s why.  I finally realized that I was the problem. For so long, really going all the way back to high school, I had always thought that it was my looks, or the money I made, or the job I had, or whatever that made me unattractive to certain girls I liked.  But this girl messed all that up.  She had everything, knew all that about me and still “wanted to like me”.  None of that had mattered.  Not my looks, money etc.  None of it. It was something else.

I always just thought, “I can’t ever get the girl that I really like”.  This happens all the time. When it counts, we guys choke.  When we as guys really like a girl we often fall into this weird state where we quit being ourselves, quit leading, and start being a wuss.  We are afraid and we go into impress her mode, or get her to like me mode.  This of course does just the opposite. Women end up perplexed by it as well. “I wanted to like him, he was nice (good, loved Jesus etc) but I just didn’t feel it.”

One of the reasons that we are single is that men don’t understand female attraction at all. We misinterpret all sorts of things growing up and we end up lost in this area. We have almost no guidance here. To be honest, I think in Christian circles this is even more confusing.  We are just clueless.  Even most guys who attract women don’t realize why – or at least not the real reasons.

Female attraction does not work the same way that male attraction does.  This is actually good news for us guys, but only if we can get some sort of handle on it.   Unless we do, we are going to keep failing, sometimes even if we get married, because we will keep thinking the wrong way and doing the wrong things.

Learning about marriage is important and many church communities, as well as books, do a great job of teaching on this.  But it isn’t much good if we don’t help guys figure out how to get married.  Much, much more to come on this.

Guys, how are you around women you like? Ladies, have you ever had a guy you wanted to like but didn’t?