Have you ever flipped on the t.v. And the Discovery Channel is on? I’m sure you’ve all been here, for lack of anything better to watch or you are waiting for Fast N’ Loud or Duck Dynasty to come on.
You see a pack of gazelles or deer, feeding peacefully in a field. A mother doe with her fawn grazing. The young deer with his head down in the grass doesn’t seem to notice the herd has worked there way in another direction and have moved serveral yards away. Then. BANG!! Like the shot of a gun, a full grown lioness with her cubs pounces out from the tall reeds where she’s been laying in wait. She’s been only a few feet off the young deer for some time but cleverly waits for the young fawn to isolate himself from the rest of the herd and grabs on the back of her unsuspecting prey.
The devil’s number one tactic against us as men and as husbands is to isolate us and to cause strife between us and people we are in a relationship with. If he can get us out of the “herd” so to speak, then he’s got us.
1 Peter 5:8 says ” The devil roams around like a roaring lion seeking who he may devour.”
Most times a predator waits for a young animal to wander off from its mother, or for an animal thats been injured to fall just behind the pack.
I know in my case offense, and previous hurts have always caused me to drift away from people and to put up walls against people. It got so bad that I found myself without any friends, even new people I’d meet would be kept at arms length. I built walls all around me for all sorts of reasons, closing myself alone into a corner. And, like a wild animal being poked with a stick, I lashed out from the slightest thing said that would rub a previous wound and that sore spot in my heart.
I know how alone I felt- no friends, feeling like my family was slipping away from me, feeling like God had deserted me.
I remember this coming to a head when I was sitting in a chair in my living room crying and telling my wife I felt like I was losing her and my children.
Isolation has many different starting points and can look like many different things. We’ve all heard the classic lines
“I’ll never let that happen to me again” or “I’ll just never put myself back in that situation”.
We’re taught as men to be strong and see vulnerability as a weakness. We’ve grown up with the John Wayne’s being the role models that we’ve idolized. Strong, hardened, stone-faced, manly men.
Jesus’ picture of a man is so very different from the image that the world has given.
When Peter came to Jesus and asked,
how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? -Matthew 18:21-22
Jesus responds in a mind-blowing way. “Not seven times, but 70×7.”
Jesus answers the question with the definition of insanity (Doing the same thing, expecting a different result)!
Jesus knew that what Peter was asking about was a humility issue.
How many of us men have been in this same boat with Peter (no pun intended) trying to justify our actions or to give an excuse for why we need to keep our distance.
These actions can lead you to the place I’ve described above. Because I guarantee you 9 times out of 10, people will let you down!
So what’s the Good news?
God has given as a role model, Jesus. He was God, humbled himself and became a man (read Philippians 2).
As a husband, I know the greatest times that my wife and I have grown the closest, have been the times when we’ve been most vulnerable with each other.
Humble yourself! Become vulnerable to God, tell Him what you’re going through, tell Him the things you can’t tell anyone else… do you really think it will surprise Him? Become vulnerable to your wife! God gave her to you as your helper and best friend. Who better is there to be most vulnerable to? Don’t shut her out.
At the end of the day, when the smoke clears, more times than not she’s the one standing there with you no matter what! I definitely know this to be true in my own marriage!
I know for myself that being a good husband and father comes from being in a place where I am right with the Lord and don’t let my emotions dictate my reactions.
So, if you’re in the place of feeling like everyone’s turned their backs on you and feeling alone, do a little self-evaluation and see if maybe something you’re doing could be the cause. I know it’s always easier to point a finger at someone else. But remember, just like you, they’re a work in progress!