My wife will say that being a mother is the most rewarding job that exists….. and one of the hardest. It can be a thankless job requiring thousands of hours of sacrifice. Margie (my wife), after the miracle of birth, has assumed the roles of, counselor, decorator, doctor, mediator, confidant, cook, lover, taxi driver, coach, cheerleader, housekeeper, decorator, comforter, sage, seamstress, financial planner…..etc.
HOWEVER… She will also say that the mantle of responsibility that God places on a man is greater still. (Ephesians 5)
10 Obstacles that a man faces when he tries to lead his family…
- He is a “Punchline” in our culture. Name the last TV commercial, sitcom, or movie you saw where the man was not weak, beholden to his lusts or simply an idiot. His wife, of course, is the smart, savvy one and his kids barely tolerate his ramblings. The Christian man gets it even worse: always the “doormat”, the creepy neighbor, the “judgmental finger pointer” or the pedophile. Very predictable…. and very tired. But it has taken its toll on Christian men.
- His own insecurities. A man has a unique set of insecurities that follow him out of young adulthood into marriage. Some related to immaturity, some related to pain that has not been dealt with, and some are just that fact that he sometime believes what the world tells him.
- His Lack of role model. Most men never had a father who lead his family well. The Men of the Greatest Generation saved the world from oppression, came home and built a powerful economy but kept their families, and especially their sons, at “arms length”. The 60’s did not help either, and along came the 70’s freedom, the 80’s self-absorption. The typical man has been searching for “who he is” or who he wanted to be for the last 70 years. All the while churning out men with no clue how to love, respect, nurture their wives or raise their children.
- He and his wife have trouble communicating. By the way…there is not a right way or wrong way to communicate. (obviously other than in an abusive or demeaning fashion) A man DOES communicate…but he does so like a man would! I am all for a man learning how to verbally explain himself in a way that his wife can “hear” him. But a man should not be disqualified or worse, vilified, when he communicates like a man. The typical man shares his life in “bottom line” bits of information. That will be his “default” position until Jesus comes. His wife typically is much more verbal and expressive…obviously, unless a couple handles this well they will struggle mightily in marriage.
- His wife has a mind of her own! Turns out our wives have their own thoughts, dreams, goals, ambitions etc… Many women never saw their mother’s be cherished and cared for appropriately by their fathers (if their father was even around). Consequently turning over the reigns of her life to her untested husband is difficult to do. She will fight him all the way until she sees him place her above every other woman, defend her publicly and privately, take a bullet for her, have eyes for her only, trust her with his secrets…..(i.e. place her on her rightful pedestal).
- He is unsure what he wants his family to “look like“. Many men do not plan past the end of the week, much less what they want their family to become.
- His wife knows his inconsistencies and failures. It is easy to lead folks that really don’t know you. That is why everyone loves the guest preacher and critiques their pastor. The financial planner is trusted and successful until you examine his personal books to see that his advice does not always match his actions. It is hard to be lead by someone who does not always do what he says. And yet if anyone is examined closely enough, their actions will not match 100% of what they say. Men must lead in the midst of their inconsistencies.
- The Enemy has plans to destroy him. (John 10:10) Pretty simply. Every time a man walks out of his house he has a target on his back. More about this at #1.
- He is busy trying to support his family. Life can really get in the way of leading a family well. Our career, money, mortgage, recreation, kids, pressure, emergencies, distractions…
- He lacks discipline. Many men have not yet learned to lead themselves and consequently have a hard time leading anyone else.
A FEW THOUGHTS THAT MAY HELP…
- LEAD AUTHENTICALLY. We have three children and my biggest fear is that they will get so used to being around church that they will lose their appetite for it. We “leak” on our kids. What is important to us will become important to them. Attend church begrudgingly or out of some misplaced sense of obligation and your kids will run from it the first chance they get. (ya can’t hide boredom). But show some passion for the things of God and they will be drawn to Him. (2 Cor. 11:3)
- Don’t “PROTECT THE PICTURE“. In other words, don’t be something on Sunday’s that we are not on Saturday nights. It fosters hypocrisy! Most people put a nice picture of their family in their homes. These picture are sometime a great representation of a peaceful home and sometimes what is represented on the wall could not be further from what is actually going on in the home. I have watched people walk away from the faith because they boiled it down to a game of not getting caught. It destroys the soul and most people just get tired of the game. The key is to just love Jesus….period. (Jer 5:1, Phil. 4:8, Titus 2:5)
- GROW UP – I was 34 years with three children before I embraced being an adult. (long story) I realized that I have others (wife and kids) who are inextricably hitched to me that I must bring along. Embrace them, feed them, love them, don’t run (physically, emotionally or spiritually) from them. (1 Cor 13:11)
from The Bible Study Series, “Things They Did Not Tell Me About My Faith” – Hixon Frank 2007