We hear it every day and many of us say it every day – “I’m good. I’m okay. Everything’s okay.” We don’t want to deal with our feelings. We put things in extremes. We avoid falling into emotional vulnerability. I don’t want to be emotional! We’ve been taught since birth to not show emotions and to be strong and hard. We’re not trying to put you on the spot. Having a life full of joy and fulfillment is a great thing to aspire to. But, you can still miss out on your own personal destiny that was planned for you. You are more than a cut above than you give yourself credit for. #ManUp

“Don’t worry about me, I’m good.” This is how we isolate and insulate ourselves from ‘them’ and ‘those situations.’ We’re not trying to get in touch with or get you in touch with our feelings. We just don’t talk about it. We don’t want to connect too strongly to an emotional journey. If two women were the ones in this story…tell it from their point of view… it would be all rainbows and unicorns. Instead, we bow up and say, “I’m never going there ever again”…I get it.

We don’t want to peel back the layers, the scar tissues, and the violation because we’re just not wired that way. The isolation and the insulation is that self-imposed safe place most of us squeeze into when we’re up against it. Many of us have great friends and strangely enough, most of them are not local. We’re all long distance, aren’t we?

Doug and I used to work together and we’ve been best friends for twenty years. We’re tight! Michael and I are close friends since college and he’s in Illinois and I’m in Alabama, but we’re tight! We’re not in town. We’re not down the street or nearby. Our socialization tends to be at sporting events, golf outings, fishing, hunting, etc. We’re isolated when it comes to people really being in our lives. When we’re isolated we’re easy targets, and when we’re insulated from people being in your lives we have the inability, to be honest with ourselves with things that have pierced our hearts. Jobs that didn’t pan out, a relationship that wasn’t a dad or parent who wasn’t there and we gloss over it. We navigate around the landscape of pain, uncertainty or doubt because we don’t expose who we truly are.

We navigate around and away from that pain, then vulnerability and the wounds. We’re good. We have a job, a roof over our heads, food on the table, stuff, and we’re doing the best we can. I’m good. I got this. At the end of the day, there’s something more, there’s something missing I’m supposed to be doing, to be a spirit of more for the men of our house. There’s some great men, great fathers and great businessmen here.

#ManUp is more than raising the bar for guys. Many of us are tired of the continually moving goal posts. We’re tired of constantly having to achieve, overachieve, maximize and optimize this plan and that goal and on and on. What we bring to the table as men and our feeling of accomplishment give us self-worth because its what we do – it’s what we’ve always done. We’re good!

Fighting the good fight is what man up is. It means I’ve finished the race. We are a group, a community of men taking the good fight in the race. Those of us who are 30-60 and beyond, we’re doing what matters most.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7
We’re a group of guys who believe what we believe in together and we’ll believe it until the end of the race. We can pack a stadium of 50, 60, 80,000 people, but there’s only 22 guys on the field playing the game. We want the 60,000 of you out of the stands and on the field! There’s something very powerful in flipping the script and you can be on the field with us! Some of you know I play golf and had a promising career in my 20’s and one that’s returned in my 50’s. I can tell you what it’s like to play Augusta. I can tell you what it’s like on a Sunday afternoon with a golf ball size lump in your throat and your hands trembling over a 3-foot putt anyone sitting in their Lazyboy can make with their eyes closed.

When you play on the field you know what it means to man up you’re not outside the ropes, in the stands with a Coke and a dog. Inside the ropes are commitment, investment and sacrifice and the one thing many miss is…you’re extraordinarily vulnerable. Because every shot, every putt, every recovery from trouble is under extreme scrutiny from fans on the other side of the ropes and the thousands and millions watching from the comfort of that Lazyboy.

To be one of those 22 football players, 18 baseball players and the one golfer on the other side is completely different than sitting and soaking in the stands in section 140 row L seat 4 deciding if Sbarro pizza and a beer is a good call at the next break. We can sit on the sidelines, in the stadium and watch from a distance maybe we can see 3 or 4 guys and we can celebrate and understand what it looks like to lift our hands up at church like – my fish was this big, or rock the baby, or teacher pick me or touchdown (some of you will get the visual). Or, we could get on the field with guys like us and make a commitment on our own to be a participant on our own and play to win the game together – #ManUp

Maybe you don’t want to be a spectator, you want to be in the game in what God has in store for your life. In what He wants you to be – a man with other men like you.

“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” – Prov 27:17

If you’ve missed the previous #ManUp posts, I’ll sum them up here:

Here’s the process: begin the journey – Our walk with God – contend for our relationships with him. This is the first step where evil wants to trip us up. Maybe you’ve done a lot in your spiritual journey and all that is great but was it a dynamic life-giving relationship with Him? A man after God’s own heart – it’s what captured David’s heart. It’s going to take a fight, lean in, live it and pass it on. We are to contend for our relationship with God. #ManUp

Next is a fight for your Heart and Character. The landscape of humanity has us focused on silver and gold instead of where we will be spending eternity. Our culture has us chasing great riches, and it’s a much easier choice than having a ‘good name’ – we have it backwards. We must not be isolated and insulated to avoid being deluded by not believing it’s a fight. We want to be men who contend for what matters most. However, most of us realize that we aren’t going to fulfill our God-designed destiny alone.

Lust exists in our hearts – not just sexual, but fame, fortune and anything that puts ‘silver and gold’ in your heart. Being isolated and insulated is a formula for failure – setting you up for a fall. We’ve all failed. We must fight and overcome the temptation that faces us. When we link up, join up, stay up and let us lift you up, we can win the fight for our hearts and character.

The third fight is for Our family or future family – get the focus off ourselves and become men after God’s own heart. As guys, this is the easier fight, because we hunt, we gather, we love it and we enjoy doing it – we are providers and protectors. We’re good at it and we love to do it. We are also the fountain for our family, not a drain. Don’t be a Funsucker. Pour out your fountain to your family. We make more than financial deposits and emotional deposits to our families. Every woman wants a man who will protect, provide and fight for her. A man who will give her the approval, the encouragement she must have.

What do you think she’d rather have when she hears a strange thing downstairs at 2am – ‘hey babe, did you hear that?’ or ‘I got it, I’ll go see what that was.’ From simple things like I love you, I like you, I’m thinking of you, I want to be with you, I want to help you fulfill your dreams. It’s relational. It’s easy and simple and she needs your approval. When a man encourages and leans into his spouse, he mans up – he understands the powerful sense of worth of his family for what matters most.

Finally, we’re fighting for – Our Brother – fight for one another. One can be overpowered, two can defend themselves, but a 3-strand cord isn’t easily broken. #ManUp means we stand beside not behind our brother and let him take one to the head or gut. #ManUp means we will help one another in all four arenas – to help you be who you want to be and help everyone who needs someone who needs us. Together as men, we will help the marginalized and fight for those who can’t fight for themselves.

The success of #ManUp rests on two simple traits – 1) brotherhood and 2) transparency.

Shoulder to shoulder we link up and #ManUp in the brotherhood. This is what every man must have in order to be on the field instead of in the stands. The other critical piece is to be honest. Not the I’m good. I got this. Everything’s fine. Because we all know it’s not. We’ve been there and the overprice, ill-fitting t-shirt sucked. You hold all the cards and your destiny is in those cards. By the way, it’s an open-book test and we’re not going to let you fail. When you have all the cards and the book to the test supported by guys linked up just like you – failure doesn’t happen.

Come see what #ManUp looks like. Kick the tires and see what’s going on now before we’re on the field and ready for kickoff on August 13th. Copy and paste the link or click here. https://www.facebook.com/groups/270679270352787/

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