EMM Main Blog
Every year, men try to pony up at Valentine’s Day for their spouse, significant other or loved ones with the obligatory purchase of red roses, chocolates, jewelry, a card and perhaps a romantic dinner. Some men dutifully step up. Others go over the top, while others cross their fingers hoping they can do something right. But all men face the pressure of answering the conundrum that has eluded men for centuries, “what does she really want?”
Understanding women can seem like trying to solve a broken Rubik’s cube.
From historical accounts, and what we read from the wisest man’s “Songs of Solomon,” here’s a little love lesson on how to be the “Valentine” your sweetheart desires.
Remember when Popeye the Sailor Man would pop open a can of spinach, guzzle down the green goop and BAM!, his biceps would bulge? Then, he wielded extra power, speed, wit and energy to foil Bluto’s chaotic plans to steal the spindly, love interest Olive Oyl.
Ever feel like you could use a super-sized helping of strength? Not strength from curling barbels, but real strength...strength of character, perseverance and wisdom; strength that comes from confidence, peace, and faith.
Spinach worked great for Popeye, but in real life, real strength comes from …
- “...the joy of the Lord is your strength.” -- Nehemiah 8:10
I broke the rules.
I asked overly self-conscious Orange County men and women to stand in the middle of a church service if they had never heard the words “I love you” or “I am proud of you” from their father. A good ten seconds passed before one brave man stood and then several more women and men joined him. The keyboard player began to play some comforting chords which infused this moment of freedom and healing with a gentle and safe spirit. Like a breaker rolling onto the Laguna Beach shoreline it came from the back to the front. A wave of people began to rise up out of their seats. Some were weeping, some were holding their spouse’s hand, and others stood alone. The pure shock and awe of people letting their defenses down and making themselves vulnerable, in a public way, was powerful.
While holidays provide times to thank God, and celebrate Christ’s birth, so often we get caught up in the familiar patterns we’ve always followed. Turkeys, trees, trimmings. Cookies, cakes and gaining weight. That’s all ok. But I think many men just show up, instead of getting involved and taking the lead.
We all have holiday family traditions. Some are handed down, others are created by accident. Some traditions we’d rather never happened. But I think God’s man can play a greater role. What if we intentionally created a new tradition(s) that honored God and others -- and was fun to boot?
Here are a couple of traditions in the Luck family:
Holiday cheer can be hard to muster when there’s chaos in the air; with more tasks and less time, ‘tis the season that puts a squeeze on our emotions, priorities and finances. Some men paint on a grin and roll through the routine with low expectations. Others face demons from the past, broken families, pressures and circumstances that bring up pain. For many, it’s not survival of the fittest; it’s just a matter of survival.
Holidays can be so much more. Allow me to tweak your perspective this year, starting with T-Day.
Typically, we go into Thanksgiving with hunger in mind, an appetite for turkey, stuffing, all the fix-ins and a football game, all in the name of gratefulness -- just like the pilgrims celebrated the harvest, right?
Wrong. Did you know Thanksgiving was the original men’s “meat-up” dinner that started with a prayer? Thanksgiving was actually evangelism in action, introducing other men -- in the Pilgrim’s case, Native Americans -- to God. It was a gathering of men to thank God for the harvest. Not just a time to be thankful. It was a time to address the person behind the provision, not randomly recite positive thoughts.