Have you ever got yourself into a bad situation without realizing how? This has happened to me many times in my life but one time in particular stands out. During my Junior year in high school I transferred to a new high school mid-year. I only knew a couple people at this new school and at first it was difficult to make friends. One fateful day during study hall I did exactly the opposite of making friends . . . I made an enemy.
During the study hall period, everyone in the class was required to put their names on the hall pass list if they needed to go to the bathroom and the pass was distributed in the order of the list. Well, this particular day I really had to go to the bathroom. As I limped into the classroom bent over in pain from my ever-expanding bladder, I went up to the teacher’s desk only to realize that there were 9 boys in front of me on the list!
This was unacceptable to me so I did what anybody would have done in that situation . . . I took my pencil and erased the first name on the list and put my name on there.
When the teacher called my name first I jumped up and grabbed the pass and headed for the restroom as quickly as possible. Unbeknownst to me, the guy’s name I removed from the list was a senior who didn’t like me from the moment I walked through the doors on my first day. As I came out of the bathroom with an overwhelming sense of relief it was quickly replaced with a sense of dread. This guy got ahold of the second hall pass and wasn’t too happy.
After exchanging a few choice words, I could see that I wasn’t getting out of this situation without throwing a few punches. He quickly dealt the first blow to the side of my head. It was followed by a swift uppercut that narrowly missed my jaw. As with most high school fights we began to wrestle in the middle of the high school hallway, throwing punches whenever we could. Even though the fight lasted only about 20 seconds it felt like a lifetime. With each punch to the head, I just wanted to stop fighting and move on with my day. However, he was having none of that. I knew if I stopped fighting I would get knocked out cold. Sometimes life is like a fight with a bully in the high school hallway. We want to quit. We want to check out. But that isn’t an option. If we check out we just get beaten down more.
Even though life can feel like a fight sometimes, the most important thing we can do as men is stay in the fight. It all boils down to presence. Being present means that we put ourselves in every situation and never look for the easy way out. God is calling us as men to fight for our families, fight for our friends and fight for our integrity. Passivity quietly kills our credibility as men and plants a seed of doubt in the minds of the people in our lives.
How do we fight passivity and make sure that it doesn’t rear its ugly head in our lives? It starts with recognizing the things that passive men do and fighting to overcome them. I’ve put together a list of things passive men do and how we can take measures to stay in the fight no matter what.
Passive men look for an escape from reality?
One of the most passive things we can do as men is not face the reality of our own lives and our own decisions. This can take on many different forms but some of the most destructive escapes we as men take is through lust and pornography. Pornography use takes men to a fantasy world that is so much different than their own. With millions of options, we can simply choose the fantasy that we want to escape to, and hit “play”. The problem with escaping reality is that we isolate ourselves from friends and family leaving ourselves to fight alone. The battle is too big to fight on our own.
Passive men don’t take a stand for what they believe in
Are you passionate about a social issue? Do you get worked up when you see injustice in the world? Do you find yourself getting sad over the way things are? Passive men may have all of these emotions, however it stops there. Those feeling and concerns don’t go any further than their thoughts. If you don’t want to be looked at as passive, you must stand up for the things you believe in. This looks different for everybody, but it boils down to communicating your thoughts concerns, and feelings to the people who need to hear it regardless of the uncomfortable outcome.
Passive men are happy with the status quo?
The status quo is a dangerous thing to accept in our lives. I used to just accept things for what they were because I didn’t want to put the effort into changing them. I didn’t want to step outside of my comfort zone and go against the norm. I was content to nestle into my nice little rut. Unfortunately all that got me was further and further away from my wife and closer to sin and shame.
Passive men buy into other people’s criticism?
Can criticism sometimes be too much to handle? A lot of times when we can’t handle other people’s judgments we passively surrender to what is being said. When you buy into other’s judgments and criticisms you are simply giving yourself a pass. You say things like, “I don’t need to work on this because everybody already thinks I suck at it.” Criticism should challenge us to be better. If it’s coming from a place of love, then we should embrace it and do what we can to make ourselves better and if it’s coming from a bad place, we should discern whether it’s legit and make the necessary changes.
Passive men struggle to take ownership?
A lack of ownership can be directly connected to a lot society’s issues these days. We’re so used other people picking up the slack and fixing our mistakes. What would happen if men would take ownership of the way their kids turned out? What would happen if men took ownership for the of their wives’ happiness and security? If we realize that the buck stops here, maybe we’ll put a little more thought into the way we react in certain situations or how much love and attention we give our families. It’s time to take ownership of our lives and stop expecting others to pick up the ball when we drop it.
Passive men rely on their wife for validation?
When Jesus walked the earth he didn’t need validation from his disciples. They were looking to him to lead them and guide them and provide safety and security. As men, we are to be the representative of Christ in our homes. Therefore we must put God first and seek Him for the validation we need. I am speaking from experience. For the first 10 years of my marriage, I looked to my wife to fulfill all my needs. My emotions were pretty much ruled by the way she thought and felt. The result of that was my wife feeling way too much pressure to live up to a responsibility that she wasn’t meant to have.
Passive men avoid conflict?
Conflict is a part of life. Situations that need resolved often involve someone who doesn’t realize they’re doing anything wrong. Therefore, conflict is often a result of us stepping up to make a situation better. For those of us that hate conflict, this can be a very challenging thing. However, choosing to do nothing because you’re afraid of upsetting someone is a very passive approach and you’re only aiding and abetting bad behavior.
Passive men have a hard time making decisions?
I’m not talking about deciding where to eat or which movie to see. If so, then I’m as passive as they come. No, I’m talking about the important decisions of life that impact our families. They look to us to be decisive and confident in the decisions we make. It’s our responsibilities to assess each situation, look over the facts, and come to a clear decision that is in the best interest of everybody involved. One thing I used to do a lot was look to my wife to validate my decision. I had a hard time being confident in my decisions because I didn’t want to shoulder the burden of getting it wrong. The fact is that I was just putting more pressure on her and actually shaking her confidence in me because I wasn’t showing that I could lead her through those situations.
If you’re interested in learning more about men’s issues and how you can begin living your life the way God intended, please contact me here or comment below. I love connecting with men who have a desire to live a life of integrity.