Black Men and Mental Health

In light of Mental Health Awareness week, I would like to share a featured post, more for the brothers and for the sisters who wish to understand.

Check it out here!

 

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The Misconceptions of Man

 

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My brothers,

This topic is very dear to my heart and I could not wait to share this with you. I will explain why in a later post, but earlier I shared that we are going through a crisis in masculinity. There are many reasons that we probably can think of, but I truly believe that at some point, somewhere in our lives we have been deceived.

Yes, there is a crisis, because we as men have been deceived to what masculinity actually is.

We have looked at films, TV shows, discussions amongst our peers and have used that as benchmarks to achieve masculinity.

I will be sharing scripture as well as my own experience, research and from various conversations that I have heard and engaged in. These are the few misconceptions that are prevalent or have come across and I honestly pray that this message will reach the hearts of those who are promoting the misconceptions without even knowing.

MISCONCEPTION #1 – REAL MEN HAVE BEARDS

This is one of the recent trends that I have noted. Beards do have some input in making a guy look more masculine, especially towards the females, (who are probably nodding their heads in agreement) but unfortunately, the appeal towards guys having beards often has a negative backlash when a beard has been cut or removed.

Not to mention men who have found themselves following this trend to grow a beard just to attract women and those who sadly have questioned their own masculinity because they can’t grow a beard.

MISCONCEPTION #2 – REAL MEN ARE 6ft +

During my transition from college to university years where I was reading about male and female communication, I made it my business to obtain the feminine perspective on relationships and the like. The main reason being, that I have been a victim of this point of rhetoric. In fact, I still don’t quite understand this point. Forgive me if I am wrong, but my natural thought towards this area is that women would like to look up to their male and feel protected as they look out for them, and the added height gives them the advantage. Also, the fact that a male who is shorter than an ideal height, or even shorter than her will almost make the female not want to take the male seriously. In other words, the conversation ends when 5 foot something is mentioned…

Whether that is true or not remains to be seen. However, we are all fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139: 13 -16) and made in the image of God Himself (Genesis 1: 27), in other words, males (and females) did not choose the families they were born, the neighbourhoods they grew up in, their body shape or their height.

Men, your height or beard has nothing to do with you being a man. For those who have felt some kind of way because of these misconceptions, let this be a principle to take home:

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Disclaimer: My brothers. This is not a call to escape from responsibility. If you are made to feel a certain way about things that you KNOW you have the capacity to change, then you better do it – quickly! There is strength in the grace of God!

MISCONCEPTION #3 –  MEN HAVE TO “MAN UP”

Lads, you have emotions. You are not called to be lead by them or be controlled by them, but your emotions are indicators of how you are feeling on the inside. It is normal to have and display emotion.

John 11: 35 – Jesus wept.

(The shortest verse in the bible; very memorable and very significant in relation to authentic masculinity.)

Us men, whenever we tend to feel overwhelmed by life, we tend to express our emotions with the one who loves us dearly, our women. It makes sense, to be open and transparent about your frustrations. However, because of our failed relationships, we are afraid to share our emotions or behave like we don’t have any, just to be seen in control from the female’s perspective and to provide ourselves inner comfort to be seen as protecting the relationship.

Of course, that is how we men rationalise it. However, the truth is, you don’t want to share your emotions with your woman because you are afraid of how she may perceive you afterwards. 

Men’s number 1 fear: Being seen as weak in front of their woman and having to deal with the reality that she can choose “stronger” guys out there. 

Then comes the dreaded statement we men have heard, acted upon and discovered that it had caused more harm than good.

“You need to man up!”

We need to recognise that when this sentence is being said, either from men or women, it is usually said out of frustration at the lack of manliness that is almost expected to be displayed.

However, let us be clear on this: anyone who makes you feel less than is probably because they have been led away by general or by their own misconceptions of masculinity themselves.This is where I feel compelled to share statements to both women and to men:

Ladies: Your femininity awakens masculinity. That’s why men become so excited and want to do “manly things” for you. Yes, they make mistakes but don’t make sharp statements out of your frustrations. Trust me on this, but the self-esteem of the man will crumble to a point where they will respond by doing things they think they need to do, just for the sake of doing it, but not from a place of where they actually want to.

Conclusion: The self-esteem of the man is needed to be preserved so that he can be self-confident in responding to the call of man. Attack the self-esteem and you will crumble him to be reactive, not proactive.

Men: True, authentic masculinity is bestowed. Yes, the woman can enable your fire of masculinity to burn within you, but ladies cannot bestow masculinity because they are women. Men bestow masculinity to men (That is why it is important to have a male mentor, a father figure or a good relationship with your earthly fathers). Follow the Way of the Lord, surround yourselves with like-minded men and work so can be ready to answer the call of man. How can you be a man for others when you cannot be a man for yourself

Conclusion: Masculinity comes from within, not from what you do externally. Operate from a place of knowing and focus on being, not doing.

Have you come across any misconceptions that made you think or feel “surely, this can’t be right?” Please feel free to discuss them in the comment section below.

Thank you for reading my brothers, and remember; God created you males because He wants you to become a man through Jesus Christ.

Tunde T. Amao

The Path of Man

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Many speakers have said it, pastors have preached it, the women are fed up with it and you’ve probably seen it, heard it and probably experiencing it right now.

There is a crisis in masculinity.

The young guys today are struggling to become who they are meant to become; Men.

Perhaps it’s the lengthy time spent in boyhood. You’re doing what you can, in a panic, to compensate for lost time. Maybe you’ve found yourself in situations where real life hit you hard and now you’ve woken up and have seen the world in a brand new light. You’ve probably seen other guys, maybe younger than yourselves, getting into places and now you feel like you’ve been left behind.

Or you’ve had your masculinity challenged by the women in your life or they left due to the lack of leadership, direction and maybe the self-confidence to be able to hold a relationship together. You notice a recurring pattern and you don’t know why. They always leave for someone you perceived as “better”.

Or maybe you’ve fallen into the hole of the world’s misconception of men. “Men are supposed to have this, men are supposed to be that, men are supposed to have achieved this by now” is the rhetoric that is spinning in the minds of males. You are now frustrated at the process of “getting to where you need to get to” because of how slow it is.

Or maybe you have that burning question that remains unanswered because you had a poor example of what a real Man looks like.

My brothers, you will never find it in material things, you will never find it in the wrong crowd and trust me, you will never ever find manhood within womanhood.

In the precious name of Jesus Christ, who created you for His pleasure and His glorious purpose, and because He loves you so dearly if you are still looking or you’re not too sure what your purpose in life is, please take this fundamental truth away:

If you are born male, it is your destiny, purpose and life-long goal to become a  strong, confident and capable Man. You did not choose to be born male, God did. That’s His way of showing you that He wants you to become a Man.

And the Ultimate Man, the Perfect Man to follow is Jesus Christ. Your masculinity is rooted in Him.

There are many examples of how you can develop your masculinity in Jesus. Here are a few of many scriptures about what God says about Men and the path He has called them to take:

Genesis 2: 7 (NIV): Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Micah 6: 8 (NKJV): He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

Psalm 1: 1 – 3 (NKJV): Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth it’s fruit in its season, who’s leaf also shall not wither; and whatver he does shall prosper.

1 Corinthians 13: 11 (NIV): When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.

I also commissioned a short pole on my Twitter page. The results are below:

Speaking from the male perspective, men are aware that they have to be focused on something, but often find themselves easily distracted on things that are not necessarily bad but not conducive to their personal progression as wholesome Men or are just simply focused on the wrong things.

The ladies acknowledge that manhood (or the lack of) is an issue and after fruitful discussions, I believe the common conclusion is that women would like the special men in their life to band together and seek guidance from other godly Men.

The knowledge gained from such networks would help them become wholesome Men themselves and in turn, will enable them to be effective in their relationships.

Guys, you are not focused because you don’t have guidance. Once you receive guidance, you’ll become focused.

So, to answer the question, how does one walk the Path of Man?

1. Believe in and follow the Greatest Man who lived, died and rose again; Jesus Christ.

2. Read the Word of God to discover, learn and apply God’s manhood principles in every area of your lives.

3. Seek guidance from (older) godly men.

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Guys, becoming a Man is a lifelong pursuit, and it is not to be rushed. Our physique bares the image of Christ and when we walk in His ways we will surely become Men. It is equally important to walk with others on the same path towards manhood. Why? Scripture gives the answer:

Proverbs 3: 6 (NIV): In all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 11: 14 (NLT): Without wise leadership, a nation falls; there is safety in having many advisors.

Genesis 2: 18 (NIV): The Lord God said, “it is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.

Proverbs 13: 20 (NKJV): He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.

We cannot become Men by ourselves.

Peace and love my brothers.

Tunde T. Amao