Wild At Heart

81uRUuNT+tL._SL1500_

Written by: John Eldredge

There’s something about Wild At Heart that I cannot really put my finger on. Maybe later but certainly not now. And yes, let me start with my little confession. My first reaction towards this book was purely negative (no one knew until now). Wild At Heart? You seriously want your readers to be WILD AT HEART? Like learn how to win a street brawl or pick locks or try to grab a cobra by its tail? Mmm! You know, I thought I was going to be introduced to some pretty wild and dangerous tricks. The early chapters of the book make you think John is one of those die-hard supporters of machoism simply because the theme of aggressive manliness seems to spread across those pages but…there’s a reason we are told not to be quick to judge the content of things by how they appear because we may just be wrong. Yes, I judged the book wrongly and I’m so glad I didn’t walk away from it but read to the very end. John Eldredge’s Wild At Heart meets one of the most important demands of reality. It’s a book written to remind men of who they really are and who they are supposed to be. Grab a copy of this book for yourself, read it and you’ll soon realize that few men live because most of us (the men) are content with the kind of lives we live under the false image of our masculinity. This book isn’t just for males but for females as well so ladies please don’t walk away from here yet. Please sit back, relax and enjoy the ride even as I go ahead to share just three interesting thoughts with you.

 

Danger is our middle name

Do you realize how boys and men are naturally drawn like magnets to adventure? Forbidden places and daring acts tickle us so easily. They just poke our souls and whet our appetites into exploring and finding out ‘what the heaven’ makes them risky. We don’t like it when we are told not to ‘go there’ or ‘try this at home’. The moment you voice out those statements, you rather give us the green light to do the opposite. We want to know why we can’t cross certain lines in life. It’s part of our nature. Explain the likely consequence(s) with all your might, once we haven’t experienced it for ourselves, there’s a greater probability of failing to convince us—well, most of us (a few will back off and that’s not bad at all). Danger is more like our middle name and the character trait that comes with it forms a core part of who we are. That’s why it’s very important that a man does not lose this part of himself; his innate desire to be adventurous in life. I’m not saying get rowdy and be all over the place or something of that sort in order to be seen as a real man. What I’m trying to say is we must be very careful with how we handle the longings of the wild heart of a man. Don’t quench the fire within the bosom of a boy or man that moves him to seek adventure. Take that away from him and that boy/man loses his masculinity. Respect the fact that men are designed to be adventurous for a particular purpose and that, it is in that trip they get to discover what that purpose really is. One man’s adventure may be different from another man’s adventure. The underlying factor is the boldness that comes with moving from your comfort zone to a conflict zone to secure new grounds in life. Allow the adventurous spirit to bubble within you, dear men. Be encouraged. Be motivated to toughen yourself up by exploring other areas in your life but act wisely. Get a dependable mentor to guide you on this path, since nothing useful comes out of senseless undertakings.

Niceness isn’t all there is to being a man

Let me address the Christian brothers shortly. I think most of us in imitating the lifestyle of Christ are quick to picture Jesus as the meek and mild lamb. That’s not wrong at all. The Bible does refer to Him as the Lamb of God and lambs as we know are very gentle and love to stay away from trouble. Do you read in your bibles that this same Jesus is also known as the Lion of Judah? Please read Revelations if you think I’m making this up. Lions are fierce creatures ever ready to fight to protect the pride from hungry predators. Are you getting the picture now? Jesus wasn’t just an incarnation of Mercy, He’s like Braveheart who would step right into the middle of a situation and fight until everything is restored back to normal. How did he refer to the Pharisees whenever he wanted to expose their clandestine activities? Brood of vipers and all…meehn, that doesn’t look ‘gentlemanly’ at all. When His Father’s house was turned into a shopping mall, what did he do? He went straight to the Temple and threw out those who were buying and selling. Oh and for the record, Mr. Nice Jesus wasn’t really soft about the whole show. He kicked over the tables of loan sharks and the stalls of dove merchants, spilling coins left ‘n’ right. Gentle Jesus put together a whip out of strips and leather… Wait! Wait! Wait! Did He really make whip of cords? For what? Cheerleading performance? I leave you to reach your verdict for that. My mini-mission here is to remind you of the wild One whose image we bear. The God you and I serve (that is if you are a Christian like me) is a God of peace alright. Nevertheless, He is a Warrior; Yahweh is His name (refer to Exodus 15:3). Don’t say you are a man just because you are a gentleman or because you are exceedingly and abundantly nice to everyone you meet. If all there is to our identity is ‘niceness’, then I assure you we are ‘castrated’ men. Real men are aware of what’s going on in the world and there’s a part of them that longs to enter a battle and make things right. We must be careful not to distort the image God has bestowed upon us. He is a LAMB and a LION! Once again, I’m not advocating machoism over here; I just want to remind us of how the total nature of our masculinity looks like and how we’ve for so long focused on only one side of our make-up. We must embrace the other side of us too; the other side that desires to fight and rescue something precious to us.

The Traitor within the Castle

Olympus has fallen is an American thriller movie I will recommend for anyone to watch on any day. So many lessons to learn from that movie bruh! It portrays how a group of terrorists kidnaps the President of the United States and seizes The White House. A particular scene caught my attention the most and that is HOW The White House was overpowered. At first, I felt the mission was accomplished too easily considering the fact that The White House is no child’s play. It’s an impregnable fortress fortified with one of the world’s most special elite forces (Speaking as though I toured there last night). But after I watched that scene again, I realized the destruction of the White House wasn’t successful because the external forces mounted a well-calculated air and ground assault; the mission was a piece of cake because there was the presence of a FIFTH COLUMN. A what? Yes, FIFTH COLUMN! It’s a group of people within a larger group who form strong alliances with external forces to commit treasonous acts against one’s own leader or city or nation. It’s the highest form of betrayal of trust and confidence; a violation of allegiance to one’s sect; a breach of faith. All you have to do is gather few insiders to execute a powerful espionage within defense lines and then witness the fall of a great person, company, city or nation right before your very own eyes. Dear men, there’s a traitor within our castle too and we cannot allow it to have its way in our fortress—especially when we are driven by wild hearts. This traitor is no other thing than our flesh. What a troublesome and treacherous thing we have in our midst! It’s the impostor out there wandering the corridors day and night planning the perfect ambush for us. Every boy and man is at constant war with his flesh every day. If it’s not what he sees, then it’s what he hears. If it’s not what he hears, then perhaps what he smells, feels, or tastes. Men, we know what we war against everyday so I wouldn’t go deep into that. That’ll be another blogpost on its own (Find me a title so I start working on it ASAP!). How do we go up against an enemy who knows how to harm us badly by exploiting our weaknesses? Go find out and share with me if you can in the comments section.

Many of us want to battle and repossess our true masculine strength but how many of us are ready to bleed for it? We hesitate a lot. We prefer to stay hidden under our shells by accepting what we’ve become. That sounds like the description of a loser to me. If there’s anything I’ve come to learn in this life, it is that it’s always better to try and even fail than to fail to try. After all, ‘failures are fingerposts on the road to achievement’ as C.S Lewis puts it. We must allow our masculinity to send us on trips far away from our comfort zones. Get out. Wade through the waters. Go discover yourself and return only when you’ve found YOU. We must let the whole world feel the weight of WHO WE ARE on our arrival. We must prepare ourselves for this—to join the few real men that live on this earth.

Before I end, allow me to share some of the poignant quotes I came across in this book…

“The deepest search in life, it seemed to me, the thing that in one way or another was central to all living was man’s search to find a father, not merely the father of his flesh, not merely the father of his youth, but the image of a strength and wisdom external to his need and superior to his hunger, to which the belief and power of his own life could be united.” –Tom Wolfe

“It is so essential to hear from God about your true name, because in that name is the mission of your life.” — John E.

“The Big Lie in the church today is that you are nothing more than “a sinner saved by grace.” You are a lot more than that. You are a new creation in Christ. The New Testament calls you a saint, a holy one, a son of God. In the core of your being you are a good man. Yes, there is a war within us, but it is a civil war. The battle is not between us and God; no, there is a traitor within who wars against our true heart fighting alongside the Spirit of God in us…” — John E.

 “Our strength is wild and fierce, and we are more than unsettled by what may happen if we let it arrive. One thing we know: Nothing will ever be the same. One client said to me, “I’m afraid I’ll do something bad if I let all this show up.” No, the opposite is true. You’ll do something bad if you don’t. Remember—a man’s addictions are the result of his refusing his strength.” –John E.

“Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die. “He that will lose his life, the same shall save it,” is not a piece of mysticism for saints and heroes. It is a piece of everyday advice for sailors or mountaineers. It might be printed in an Alpine guide or a drill book. The paradox is the whole principle of courage; even of quite earthly or quite brutal courage. A man cut off by the sea may save his life if he will risk it on the precipice. He can only get away from death by continually stepping within an inch of it. A soldier surrounded by enemies, if he is to cut his way out, needs to combine a strong desire for living with a strange carelessness about dying. He must not merely cling to live, for then he will be a coward, and will not escape. He must not merely wait for death, for then he will be a suicide, and will not escape. He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it; he must desire life like water and yet drink death like wine.” –G.K Chesterton

 

We Needed a Strikeout To Remember That

strike-out

Linda was a voracious reader. She would bar all chances of retiring to bed if she felt unaccomplished with her ‘brain update’. You would probably think there was an intention to eradicate any feeling of hopelessness by how rigorous her studies was; on the contrary, her fame was at stake. If you needed one of the brightest and most confident students of JETS High school to make up a three-man squad for the Regional Science and Math Quiz Contest, you had reached her.

It was the Final of finals. Hundreds of people poured in to witness the keenly contested match between the participating schools. The competition had reached its last round, the last question for the day to be attempted. “Wrong? But I—But you asked—…wait, what?” She stuttered. Her team had managed to make it to the finals but she had her own agenda; she wanted to be that kid who won the big games and became the legend of the day, the crowd chanting her name wildly in the background. Except this time around, she squashed all chances of winning because she decided to go her way with the response. This time she had blown it!

But the rather odd proposition: she had been recalled into the team two weeks after her ‘heroic’ move had gone bad. The reaction was entirely different from what she anticipated. She had lost them the game and they had every right to put her on blast. It was not until a chat over pizza that she realized why none was upset. Apparently, there was something more to the contest than just winning the ultimate prize.

Failure comes in many flavors and this makes our story quite different from one another as we sit to recount them. Yours may have been a lapse of judgment, a failure to respond to an emergency or perhaps failure to conduct oneself in a decent manner—the list is endless as there is no shortage of ways to fail. Nevertheless, one thing is common: failure is like the taste of the bitterest root on earth. It carries with it some kind of embarrassment that literally envelopes you in thick fog. Like floodlights piercing the darkness, they etch painful marks against our memories constantly reminding us of how our shoulders would forever bear that shame.

The Bible records the greatest failure of all time, the story of how we plunged a dagger into our Father’s heart by committing the highest order of treason in the beautiful Garden of Eden. The guilt of wanting to be equal with The Most High would forever haunt us until we returned to the dust from whence we came. We say with the prodigal son, “I am no longer worthy to be called your son”. What a tragedy! The poison of Self-glory had warped our entire system. “Please, put us out of our misery!”, we ached to be wiped off the face of this earth.

Like Linda’s story, the response to our cry was different. Despite the grave consequence of our disobedience, the King descended from His dwelling place, fought tirelessly to regain what we carelessly flung out the window and then presented it to us again. While we desperately sought to be our own gods, He took on our very own nature, sucked every bit of the poison from us into Himself and neutralized death’s sting on the Cross of Calvary. This He did while we were totally excluded from the benefits of His Kingdom as we could only but gaze from afar as our King dirtied His robes just to redefine our original purpose.

Without evil, how may we have acknowledged the manifestation of good? Without sin, how may we have comprehended the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness? It is not to be misconstrued as advocating for bad things to happen before we realize the value of a person or thing. It is said that one truly appreciates what it means to have a ‘peace of mind’ when his neighbor (who mercilessly plays loud music) relocates to another vicinity. The cloak of silence drapes his home for the first time. In the same way, I feel we needed to fall flat on our face to remember that which we had so easily forgotten: That, the chief end of man is to bask in the glory of God’s righteousness, peace and joy rendering worship to Him forever. Just like the game of baseball: WE NEEDED A STRIKEOUT TO REMEMBER THAT.

Deep Longing

In-this-house-we-groanToday, my friend was telling me about an incident that occurred during her sophomore year in the university. Prior to her narration, I had asked this question, “Has there ever been a time you lent a helping hand to someone you didn’t know personally? Maybe a stranger who was lost or something…something you can remember?” She managed to salvage one she could describe properly after some minutes of digging through her ‘mental junkyard’.

According to her, she had bumped into this woman and her son as she descended the staircase to go retrieve some items dad had sent from home. “You could simply tell,” she said, “they were in a fix and needed someone to talk to, just anyone who would readily help”. She didn’t know them personally but she still made time for them, realized what they both needed and immediately responded and brought help to them. In the process of thanking her for her assistance, the little boy suddenly goes on his knees to narrate how he had unfortunately dropped out of school due to his father’s unwillingness to pay his tuition fees. This part really intrigued me: my lady friend reached out to help this lad with the little money she had despite the fact that she didn’t have enough for herself in the first place. What interests me the most is that she didn’t even pause for a moment to verify the credibility of the message she had received from the little boy. Were they confident tricksters? She had no obvious connection with them but all of a sudden she desired to show love and care.

Is there a need to hope for beauty, justice, peace or anything “good” if nothing exists beyond mere survival? Is it in vain to live at all if death marks the closing chapter of life’s tale? Are we blips of light that last but for a brief moment? Is it worthwhile to seek meaning for the deep longing within us? Does it matter at all?

We yearn to know the answers to the big questions in life. Many may conclude by saying that the meaning to these questions are far too profound to know and possibly understand. In response to that, they try to suppress those strong feelings of asking the “WHY” questions, possibly lock them up in chains far beneath the depth of their hearts and minds with the seemingly comforting thought that meaning needn’t be attributed to it. What we fail to realize is truth is not a smoldering wick that can be snuffed out so easily. It is not a malleable product that can be beaten into different shapes as we so desire; it is firm and absolute; unchangeable and unhidden. Try to submerge it in deep waters and it will resurface with some strong upward thrust.

We want to (more like we ought to) see things done in the right manner—the Real Right manner. It’s as though we measure up our thoughts and actions against a certain objective, independent standard rule. If you tell me my shirt is dirty, you probably have an idea of what it means to be clean. In the same manner, I can use the word “sweet” if I understand the word “bitter”. Though there may be modifiers to describe the level of intensity of the word in question, the underlying fact is they both submit to a standard rule, which imparts meaning and usefulness into their very wordings.

Whenever we are faced with a ‘to help or not to help’ situation, there always lie these options: 1) Do something about it. 2) Just don’t interfere. 3) You have to do something about it. Don’t confuse the first with the third option. The first one describes a wish to offer help and this is different from the third option, which says it is a must to offer help even if it is against your personal desires. As human as we are, we are highly susceptible to selfishness however you will quickly agree with me that society (as diverse as it could be) frowns on it. We are encouraged to think on selflessness, the need to put others first before self. We may call it “cruel” or “heartless” when a youngster refuses to give up his seat for the elderly woman in a public bus. We go on demonstration brandishing placards with the slogan ‘WE WANT PEACE’ in warring nations. We pass indignant remarks when the headlines read “13YEAR OLD GIRL RAPED AND MURDERED IN COLD BLOOD”. We expect a certain kind of behavior from people around us. We don’t need special tutorials to discern properly, that which is right from wrong, good from evil, beautiful from ugly, at least when you are still sane up there *pointing to the small/big head*. And yes, it may seem like an unfinished work but the bits and pieces of our actions and speech when put together point to the evidence of the kind of life expected to be lived by the human race.

The writer of Genesis lays down a very notable pattern of repetitive language in his description of creation. Then GOD said…and GOD saw that it was good” appears seven times (I smell the scent of “completeness and perfection” here) in the first Chapter of the book of Genesis to emphasize strongly the perfect suitability and pleasantness of God’s work for the would-be inhabitants. Attempt to picture this reality. You will surely miss a lot of details and fine tunings. If all your life, the only colors you were accustomed to were black and white, it would be virtually impossible to imagine colors like red, yellow, blue, orange and any other colors you could possibly think of. That is what I meant about missing a lot of details and find tunings; our mental view about the perfect suitability and pleasantness of God’s work is just purely sympathetic. Our minds lack the capacity to envision the kind of good that was designed in the beginning. We don’t see things clearly yet, as we were made to behold. We’re still squinting in a fog, peering through a mist in this fractured creation (1 Corinthians 13:12 MSG).

This good, the original, unadulterated good we long to see will cease to be a figment of our imaginations very soon. Pain will become history. Evil will be tossed away into the flames never to be remembered. Jesus Himself has promised that whosoever puts their trust in Him will live forever not to only catch a glimpse of the magnificence that awaits him; he actually becomes a partaker of that divine sweetness that will forever hold him spellbound in the heavenly realms, where God Himself resides. When we behold His glory, all knees shall humbly press to the heavenly grounds and out of every mouth shall exclaim, “Oh Lord of the heavens, you who stand in unfathomable beauty, be blessing and glory and honor and power, forever!” I tell you, it’s just a matter of time. You will see.