Whether it’s Paula Cole singing it, a pastor preaching it, or girlfriends chatting about it in a coffee shop, we all want to know where the cowboys have gone.
|Photo Compliments of Kasper Photography|
And unlike the song lyrics, I’m not talking about the ‘Marlboro man’ who does what he wants, when he wants and rides off into the sunset without looking back to whom or what he leaves behind. I’m talking about men who treat women, their families, God and country with respect. Who willingly and sacrificially do everything it takes to protect and honor those they lead and care for. Men after God’s heart. Sold out, on fire men; who love and passionately seek after the Lord above all else. They lead and provide for their families and future families. They live intentionally and courageously. Where are these men today?
I’m not in any way trying to bash or disrespect the men around me! On the contrary! The Lord has blessed me abundantly by giving me a father, brothers and some friends who strive to be men of God in a culture that shoots them down at every turn. Because I have met real men, I now look around and my heart breaks at everything the media and culture projects as manhood. Even in the church, we let the culture rather than scriptures dictate how we view masculinity.
I could go on at length about why the men in our culture and in our churches aren’t stepping up. It’s a spiritual battle and a cultural battle – some of it is the fault of women as much as it is the men. Books, movies and research are produced explaining men’s roles and then and encouraging them to be men. But the end result is that neither men, nor women are living out what the Lord calls us to be.
The lack of godly men is nowhere felt as acutely as it is in the realm of Christian singles. The divorce courtroom full of broken promises and families perhaps follows that. Walk into almost any church and the number of Christian young women doubles that of the young men. It really hit home for me during my time in Colorado where the ratio of women to men in my class at Focus on the Family’s Leadership Institute was 3 to 1. And if you allow me to extrapolate and ask the question – Is this the state of the church and nation? Where 3 times the numbers of women over men are stepping up to be leaders?
So, where have all the men gone? And what can we do about it? I’m sick of others, and myself complaining about it and doing nothing. In reality, I don’t think the men have gone anywhere. They are still here right in front of us. All around us are men created in the image of God, called for a specific purpose. They are ripe with potential!
Here’s the thing though, only men can mentor and teach other men how to step up and be men. As a woman how can I tell a guy how to ‘man up’? I overstep my bounds if and as I attempt to teach him to be a man. I end up stepping into the leadership role I’m frustrated with him for not filling in the first place!
Women, whether married or single, we are called to stand with the men in our lives through prayer. We can also live in such a way as to inspire men to be men. When we act as women and are comfortable in whom God made us to be, we challenge them to be all they can be in the Lord, simply through the way we live. Nagging and asking the men to step up in our lives in a manner that demeans in any way simply comes across as disrespect to them. It creates an atmosphere of defeat rather than encouragement. So how do we effectively communicate this to them? How can we have an impact without stepping out of our God-ordained roles?
I had the supreme privilege to watch a pre showing for Sherwood Picture’s newest movie Courageous. I can’t talk enough about how the movie will inspire men. I walked out of that theater even more broken for my brothers all around me. But I want to do something about it!
So what can I do? I started asking the men around me whom I respected, including actor Ken Bevell from the films Fireproof and Courageous: ‘What can we as women do to inspire the men around us to live courageously for the Lord?’
The answer was almost universal and seemed almost too simplistic to be true – Yet I know it works and is true because I have lived it! But ladies, it is a call that will take more from you than you might be willing to give. It will be a sacrifice – are the men in your life worth it? How serious are you about doing what it takes to encourage the men around you? Will you complain or will you act? And are you ready for what you will get?
Blog Edits – Thanks to J & T Holden and C Brittin! I love you guys and thanks for your constant encouragement! ❤