by Tyler Marines, Resonate Pullman member
Recently the Lord has been teaching me a lot through my failures as a man. Just the other day an incident occurred that pushed me toward a realization: I, as a man, need to put to death my selfishness and grow in self-sacrifice for the flourishing of others, regardless of the benefit or lack thereof for myself.
As my family is getting ready to move to Boise, selling and buying houses, my wife is getting more and more excited about her vision for the new house. Nicole is a great interior decorator and has come up with great ideas for what to do to our new house to make it feel more like a home. Nicole and I had been talking back and forth about what kind of beds we were going to get for the boys’ bedroom. I had wanted to get bunk beds and she wanted to get two “vintage iron beds.” We never came to a decision and one day when I came home from work she asked me which card she should purchase the beds on. I kinda looked with a raised eyebrow and my best sarcastic voice, I said something along the lines of “Oh, I hadn't realized we had figured out which kind of beds we were going to get for the boys. What did you decide on?” She could obviously hear the sarcasm in my voice and thus we started to argue.
I’m a verbal processor so it took me 10-15 minutes of us discussing the situation to understand what I was feeling and why I cared. Throughout our marriage we have struggled to find things to do together that we both enjoy, which has affected our friendship a bit. Since we had the kiddos, Nicole has struggled to find things that she likes to do. So when I see that she loves interior decor and is gifted with turning a house into a home, I see our house in Boise as an opportunity for us to have some fun doing something we love together. Once I figured that out I was able to express it to her. I didn't care that much about the beds; what I cared about was being able to decorate the house with her, alongside her, and my frustration in this instance was that she wasn’t including me, though I never really asked her to. I expressed this to her and she still wanted to work on the decor by herself, which felt like a rejection to me. My frustration rose and I responded poorly; pushed a small box off the couch, snapped at her, and stormed off. We avoided each other for the rest of the evening and then went to bed. In the morning, as I walked out the door to work, Nicole said she wanted to talk more about the previous night so I said we could talk about it when I got home for lunch.
A little while later the Lord started reminding me about his story, the good news that while I was still a sinner, an enemy of God, someone rejecting Christ daily, he went to the cross with grace and sacrificed himself for my good, my thriving, my salvation. Throughout the morning, he also reminded me of the text in Ephesians where husbands are called to love their wives as Christ loved the Church, in that same self-sacrificial, in the face of rejection type of love. My conviction continued to rise as he was speaking and pointing to sin that I needed to repent of. I also started to see that her rejection of my desire was really my fault due to me inserting my ego into the things that she loved to do. Rather than allow her to enjoy what she’s good and free her to be a home-maker as God made her to be, I would input my thoughts and selfishly want her to adopt my ideas and if she doesn't, I’d take it personally and choose to get hurt by that. What a poor example of Christ. After realizing this, Nicole and I were able to sit down and talk about the prior night and come to reconciliation through my repentance and her forgiveness. She expressed that the main reason that she wanted to decorate by herself was because she knows that our styles are quite different and us decorating together would most likely cause argumentation. *facepalm* Yep, that's on me. As the man of the house my goal and role is to work hard and self-sacrifice to protect the flourishing and freedom of my family and, in this instance, I was the one stifling the flourishing.
Even as I repent of this I want to call the other men into our church to learn from my kairos of understanding, a learning moment, and look toward their own lives and try to identify areas where they need to repent of selfishness and take on more self-sacrificial masculinity. God has blessed us with gifts and skills that we are called to utilize for his glory, and when we allow things like ego, hobbies, personal desires, or anything else to get in the way of directing the people around us to Christ, then we are sacrificing God’s glory for our own; a thing that we should hastily repent of and then actively seek to do the opposite. My example specifically applied to my family and my marriage, but this principle applies in all areas of our lives and interactions as men. How much more would our communities, our villages, our churches be thriving if we had men across Resonate who were exemplifying this? The principle here is that we as men are called to model Christ and the way he responded to his bride, the church. We should be looking for ways to lay down our lives for those around us to enable the church to flourish and grow more. Who needs help around you and how are you living towards them? Are you willing to stay up late to help a roommate study for a test or go into work early to help a project get finished? When you’re at work are you only fighting for yourself to succeed and climb the ladder, or are you seeking to help your boss and/or your employees thrive? When you are at home are you loving on your roommates/family and encouraging them to make good choices? Are you aware of needs in the community around you? Become aware, bring flourishing by serving and loving, and direct all glory back to Christ.