Yesterday I issued a challenge that had been forming in my mind for a few weeks for myself and the other warriors who posted for BOHICA. Today I pass on that challenge to you.
I see a hesitance to embrace and take full ownership of the role of Leader, especially when it comes to spiritual and emotional leadership. I see it in myself, and I see hints of it in many of the men around me. For example, it has not been uncommon for Qs to ask another one of the Pax to lead the closing thoughts or prayer in the Circle of Trust. Usually this falls to one of a handful of men who are respected by the group and whose faith we admire (Rev, Big Bird, I’m looking at you!). While there is nothing inherently wrong with asking another brother to share a thought or lead the CoT, I believe we’re missing the point when this becomes the norm.
In some ways, leading a workout is the easy part of taking the Q, even though it should leave every Pax drenched in sweat, out of breath and wobbling back to their cars on rubbery legs when done properly. Most of us as men are comfortable with structured, concrete plans of action – that’s our sweet spot, and with a little practice we’re pretty good at leading a group of other men through a regimen of exercises. It gets dicey when we have to lead in areas that are less well defined, more abstract or relational, or heaven forbid, involve showing our emotions. Yet it’s the emotional, relational, and spiritual parts of life that are of immeasurable importance and that shape us as people.
Welcome to my life. I’m naturally on the strong/silent (i.e. emotionally constipated) end of the personality spectrum, and putting myself at risk of looking foolish or having my flaws exposed has never been near the top of my to do list. In two years of being married to my M, though, I’ve been learning that being transparent in relationships and letting people see my heart’s messiness is one of the hardest and riskiest but most rewarding qualities I can pursue. For me, being a leader in my home means exposing my heart, it means admitting when I’m wrong, it means praying for my M and my new 2.0 even when I don’t feel like it.
When we abdicate our responsibility to lead emotionally and spiritually by delegating it to someone who seems more “qualified,” we miss out on opportunities to stretch ourselves and become better men, and our loved ones suffer as well. It’s not the responsibility of your pastor or priest to lead your family spiritually; it’s not the responsibility of your kids’ teachers to show them the value of respect, integrity and hard work, and it’s not the responsibility of the “better prayer” in the CoT to finish your job as Q. Let’s take total ownership and fulfill our calling to lead in all areas of life, especially when it involves going outside our comfort zones.
Don’t be afraid to let other people see your discomfort, your awkwardness, your messiness. It will utterly demolish your pride, but it will make you a better man, (present or future) husband and father, and you may just inspire someone else to get outside of their comfort zone too. Let’s get better together.