As I sit reading the words of Genesis 1:3, I can’t help but think that Jesus was on God’s mind even on the first day of creation When God said, “Let there be light,” there was light: Brightness that illuminated the world each day. I look up at the light in the center of my ceiling fan, but it is just an artificial light that leaves my eyes dancing with black dots. As I blink back the effects of looking directly into this light, I think about how God saw that the light he created was good, and separated it from darkness. There was day and night, evening and morning, and while this all makes sense within the order of the universe that God created, it’s also another foreshadowing of the ultimate light that would come.
God again demonstrated that when He commands light, light appears, thousands of years later when He sent His only son to earth. His Son, Jesus, was good and completely separated from darkness as no sin was in Him. This God-man walked and breathed on this earth for 33 years as the sun rose in the morning and set in the evening. The light God created on the first day is only one aspect of our daily lives, but we can have the light of the world with us always, regardless of the amount of light or dark streaming in through our windows.
In Matthew 5, Jesus, the ultimate luminary, calls His followers the light of the world. He goes on to say that we must let our light shine before others around us. Our light that is a reflection of Him must be shared with the world so that they can see God more clearly and completely. We can think about it like this: When we are sitting outside with the sunshine pouring down on us, we get warmed whether that is our intention or not. When we sit in the presence of Jesus, the same thing happens. But, even better than sitting under a sun that just warms our skin (and sometimes leaves us with sunburns), the Son warms us deep within. And out of the overflow we can share the love of this light with those around us. So, let there be light. Not the artificial kind that comes from a light bulb. Not even the natural light that comes from the sun. But let there be light from the SON, Jesus, and let us be all be a reflection of Him.Read More
One came because his child had been murdered.
Another came because his best friend was killed right in front of his eyes.
Someone else came due to the excessive guilt he felt.
They came because they were depressed. They came because they experienced trauma. They came because of marital problems and work problems. These brave men came to see me for therapy for all sorts of reasons.
And you know what?
They all cried.
As babies become toddlers and toddlers become children, the males among them start to receive the message that they need to stop crying. This is all a part of the process of growing up and, in fact, “manning up.” At least, that’s what they’re told.
The reality is, the bullies who call the boys “crybabies” are wrong. It is not babyish to cry. At least, not all of the time. Sure, we need to help children learn to manage or tolerate their negative emotions so that everything isn’t a huge deal to them (i.e. it’s really not a big deal if you get a red cup when you wanted a blue one). Children need to learn that whining will not get them what they want, and neither will begging (so, please, don’t give in).
But that’s not what I’m talking about here. Instead, I’m talking about the message that these same males receive that tells them that they need to stop crying. Period. This directive to keep their feelings inside so that it never shows. This idea that keeping it all stuffed deep down means you are tough and strong.
Listen, boys. Men. It really is okay to cry when a situation warrants it. And situations are subjective, so no one can really tell you when it is or isn’t appropriate. Unless the crying is excessive or you think you’re crying for “no reason”, your tears are probably justified. And you know what? It really is okay to express your emotions in this way. Three quick reasons why are below:
1. Crying is Cathartic. In other words, you are able to purge your feelings through expressing them. You really will feel emotionally better as a result of crying!
2. Crying is Biblical. David cried. Job Cried. JESUS cried. When I say “cry”, I mean weeping and wailing. All of these men, and more, had serious reasons to cry. Listen, Jesus is God and HE cried! That is all the permission you need.
3. Crying is Acceptable. Even guys that are accepting of other men when they cry are often not very embracing of themselves. We all tend to be harder on ourselves than we are on others, but crying really is acceptable. Try accepting it for yourself.
Gentlemen, here’s the bottom line: Crying is not only ok, it’s also healthy. You know those examples I gave at the start of this post? They were all combat veterans. They came for therapy because they recognized the problems that triggered tears were beyond their own ability to manage. However, even if the reason for your own tears doesn’t warrant a visit to a mental health professional, the crying can still be helpful. In fact, many of these former service members shared with me that this was an important part of their healing…and, yet, they only felt safe enough to cry in the confines of my office. We need to encourage a culture of safety in our society, not so that men are crying over their team losing or a bad haircut, but so that men are allowed to express serious emotional pain in this way. To my male friends, you don’t always have to be the strong one. During times of need, allow others to take on that role. Of course, the strongest man, Jesus, is also God. So, yeah, His shoulders are wide enough to carry all of our stuff. And about those combat veterans? If the crying is okay for them, it’s okay for you too. I mean, are you gonna be the one to tell a combat vet they aren’t acting like a man because they shed some tears? Yeah, me either.Read More
I used to compete in pageants. Because…pretty gowns, flashy jewelry, and hairspray. In my very first pageant for married ladies (yes, that is a thing), one of the contestants was asked if she believed in soul mates. Her answer won her the pageant (that and the fact that she was 8 feet tall, a buck nothing, and blond). But, seriously, her answer was spot on as she shared what the expression “soul mate” meant to her.
When you hear the term “soul mate”, what do you think of? The one person God has created just for you? (PSA, that’s not in the Bible.) But, most people think of just that…another human being must be their soul mate. Listen, my husband is the best friend I’ve ever had. He is loving and devoted. I completely trust him and know we will be married as long as we both shall live. But. He’s not my soul mate.
Psalm 84:2 says, “My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.”
You see, having a soul mate is a real thing. But, our soul mate is Jesus. He is the one my soul desires. He is the one my soul longs for. He is the one my soul waits for. To be in His presence, knowing that He is the only perfect One. The only one who will never disappoint and always love without condition. The only one who will always be there for me, no matter what.
When we try to place another human being in the role as our soul mate, we set that person up for failure and we sell our relationship with the Lord short. We should never place another human being in a status position about the living God, regardless of how much we love each other. It’s not right or fair or just. Jesus is superior to everything and everyone we will encounter, and is worth our soul commitment.
Oh, you know that beauty who won the pageant I was telling you about? Yeah, she totally told the audience and judges that Jesus is her soul mate. She rocked the stage that day, and deserved that crown….as much as I hate to admit it.Read More