I want to get an important idea out into this post right off the bat: as spiritual beings, men and women are equal in value before God. This truth doesn’t mean that they are interchangeable, or that their roles are or should be the same. But respecting the other kind is a spiritual decision, and one based on God’s true principle of love. Statements like “That’s just men for you” or “Why are men so oblivious (dumb)?” betray a serious spiritual blind spot. Men are made in the image of God. Comments and mindsets like these fail to appreciate and have reverence for the Creator who made men just the way they are. As Gary Thomas has written in his book Sacred Marriage: “Giving respect to others brings light and life into our lives. It leads us in the end to respect the God who created all of us and shapes us as he sees fit. It is an essential discipline…”. I am guilty and need work in this area. I will try to be more conscious in my speech and respectful toward the men whom God has created.
Moving into our understanding of men, it’s really pretty simple when we understand that they really are the same as us women in essentials. We both have deep insecurities, questions, and longings from our souls. The difference is in the question that we each have, and also in the needs of our spirits.
In the book Captivating, by John and Staci Eldredge, we learn that as women our deepest question, the one we try to get answered first by our father, and then by anything or anyone else, is “Am I lovely? Do you delight in me?” When I first read this, it struck that chord of truth that rings when you encounter a good principle. As I thought more and more about it I realized that it was indeed true. One of the most wonderful things about the book Captivating, and about our Heart of a Woman retreats, is that we learn HOW to take this question to God, and to no one else. With joy we forget our daily worries and carve out three days in the mountains, (just like Moses, Elijah, and Jesus) and get our questions answered by the Source of all truth. He alone will tell us the absolute, unfailing truth about who we are and what He thinks of us. Once we are armed with this answer, we begin to be strong in the Lord. How I love retreat!
Just like women, men have a question silently simmering in their hearts: “Do I have what it takes? Am I a real man?” And also just like women, they go first to their fathers, and then to anything and anyone else who might answer this question. Like many women, many men don’t get their question answered truthfully by their earthly fathers and this results in a father wound. As a result, so many men in this world go through life internally terrified that they are not enough, that they don’t have what it takes, that they are just posers, and that all they’ve built is a house of cards, ready to be knocked down by the slightest jolt. But again, only God can put to rest this question for men. Men can’t answer the woman’s question because he is a human being, prone to failure, exhaustion, moments of short temper, harshness, impatience, and not always wise. He doesn’t know all things. Women can’t answer the man’s question because she is a human being, prone to failure, exhaustion, moments of short temper, harshness, impatience, and not always wise. She doesn’t know all things.
The longings of a woman’s heart are romance, to be able to unveil their beauty, and to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure.
The longings of a man’s heart are to have a battle to fight, to be able to rescue the beauty, and to live out an adventure.
The question here in this post is: What as women are we to do with these questions and insecurities that men have? How are we to handle their hearts? First my sisters, make sure you are getting your question answered by God. If you are looking to a man to tell you who you are, the relationship will be fraught with pressure, not love. Many of us may be married to men who are unable to provide a number of our needs. Many of us are not married at all. Please get your needs met by God. Please go to Him in sweet prayer and meditation and just be still and listen to Him. Let him fill your needs and let Him minister to you. After you have fought for your own heart to have that reliance on God alone, THEN you can fight for the heart of Adam. And we do that by offering him our beauty. Offer him your femininity, in whatever flavor that femininity is that God gave you. Maybe you are playful. Maybe you are wise. Maybe you are gentle. Maybe you are a living example of having a great relationship with God. Whatever you are, you are beautiful, and chances are, you are a combination of many womanly ways. There are as many colors of femininity as there are women, and as long as they operate on true principles of God’s ways, they are good. And they will do the heart of Adam good. And above all, believe in him and let him know that you do.
Just as we have a special retreat for women every fall up in the mountains, there is an event designed to wake the heart of every man! It’s called A Warrior Heart Boot Camp. It is also up in the mountains, and the men who offer this retreat are some of the strongest, wisest, and most Godly of the men I know. One of the ways God may want to invite your man to change is to have him go to Boot Camp. It is coming up in March. I really urge you to pray about the best way to encourage him to go. Here are the details!
In married love, not every man is even on the road to God’s love. Some don’t even want to be. Some men as it is written in Captivating, are not safe and good men. For you, my beautiful friends, please distinguish which type you are dealing with. If he is simply a lost man, you and God will want to invite him to change. There are many examples of women who have done this and they’ve done it in different ways. May I offer a few resources? Captivating by John and Staci Eldredge, and Wild at Heart, by the same. John and Staci recommend a book called Bold Love by Dan Allender in their book Captivating, especially the chapters called “Loving an Evil Person”, Loving a Fool”, and “Loving a Normal Sinner.” I have never read this book, but you could give it a try. I highly recommend the book Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. I have also read and recommend Sacred Influence, written especially for women by the same author. There is a book called Living and Loving After Betrayal that many people who I respect and love have read and they have told me how helpful it is. I have not read it myself. Boundaries and Boundaries in Marriage by Henry Cloud and John Townsed are both fantastic books and I highly recommend both of them. Above all, take your needs to God, let Him fill you up, and then you and He together can figure out what books, practices, and approaches to take in order to invite change in the heart of your Adam. Remember, the choice is his. You can invite and offer your beauty as an invitation to know God, and he may reject that offer. That does not alter your value as a woman and as a human being in God’s sight.
If you are in a relationship with an unsafe man, get away. Find a different place to live.
Our deep love goes out to all women and men. May we all find our questions answered by the One who offers us nothing but truth, light, and love.