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