Self Discovery: I fell in love with the created and denied the Creator
So I’ve been reading this book “Wild At Heart” by John Elderedge (one I recommend EVERY man read) and the main theme of the book is “wounds”. These active abrasions, contusions, and deep gashes we as man carry around and never deal with. The wound, according to Elderedge is made manifest through a variety of ways, but is most evident in a man’s sense of masculinity. He goes on to say that we as men have lost our willingness and call to fight, be that a fight for love, a fight for understanding, or most importantly a fight for God.
So here I am, 23 years young reading a book intended for the minister to middle aged men who have held on to wounds for years, thinking to myself “what’s my wound?”. How can I either 1) prevent or 2) catch this wound early on and live a much fuller life in my 20s? So I sat in the dark, praying (although God and I were sorta on strained terms) and I begged Him to take me to my wound. I implored him to show me that place in my life so rife with insecurity and facade that it would be undeniable. I could of course think of a few things that would qualify, especially the things I’ve point out in this blog. From my incessant irritation, to my pride, to my various insecurities I could see places that could fit this “wound” description. Where God would take me caused my stomach to drop.
Women. My wound has been made manifest through my interaction with women. Truth be told aesthetics, romance, and beauty have meant more to me in my young life than God ever has. I’ve picked women I knew didn’t believe in God the way I was hoping I did, but due to my lack of full faith I went anyway. I lost my virginity wondering what I was to tell God. I long for the presence of beautiful women. They are my Muse. They are 50% of the reason I want money. Sometimes I’m legitimately ashamed of my obsession with the feminine form. It started out as adolescent dating, then quickly morphed into a constant craving for validation. My beautiful girlfriend means something to me. Means something about me.
Well why did this occur in the first place? Any true believe will tell you God is beauty. The very salvation story is one of immense love and beauty. The Son offering to be covered in the sin of the ages then become the Redeemer of men. My picture of God has been anything but. Before I was 10 I was a Christian because my parents. I vaguely understood what it meant, but I truly didn’t know. The decade between 10 and 20 shaped my view of God. He was cold. He was arbitrary. He was so fair, so equitable, I saw him as unfair. When we were living on the other side of the city we reside in now, my father had a great job. But California was substantially different than Oklahoma. We quickly tumbled down the slopes of socioeconomics. I faced facts that we were poor. My stomach rumbled, my clothes were washed in sinks, my mind longing for the suburbs of rural Oklahoma, I could not fathom a God who cared. To add insult to injury, I disliked our church. The clique mentality was thick. It wasn’t a house of God, it was a house of Image.
By the time of our first eviction, my adherence to God was pure ego. As the child of a preacher I knew a lot about God and that was influence over others. I still thought I was a Christian, but I was quickly losing hope. High school came and went, along with another eviction and I shut off. I don’t remember much from those years outside of school.
College I was faced with a diverse environment. Various religious, ethics, and philosophies. I stuck to my guns about God because once again He was all I knew. And I was good. I could lead a prayer group or teach a bunch of teenagers. But I still didn’t know Him. Or like Him. He was still a cold, distant politician. I did not trust Him.
It wasn’t until this time last year, after the tumultuous breakup which inspired the inception of this blog, that I began to trust. Key word: began. I have a LOOOONG way to go before I can say I outright trust Him. I have seen enough in my life to make me a raving empirical pessimist for decades. This world is so fucked that I could honesty plead Deism and simply say “I don’t know who He is, but He clearly isn’t involved in our affairs”. But, something deep within me has continued to hold on to the fact that God cares and He is beauty.
Jesus is a behemoth of an image. Respected by virtually every world culture, prophesied by even obscure peoples, laden with knowledge, love, and compassion. He is the person you want to follow. 100% divinity, 100 percent man. 1000% awesome. It has been His gentle interaction, His earthmoving interventions which tether me to God.
Okay all that background aside.
After I ceased seeing God as beautiful I subconsciously placed women to be the meridian of beauty. Women are, bar none, the most beautiful thing created. Period. Don’t argue. As a great writer once wrote (and I paraphrase): “men cannot even fathom the immensity of a woman’s naked figure.” Literally. Its too much to even grasp for a man. So we objectify them. We misuse your tenderness and comfort. We drive even the most compassionate woman to the limits of callousness and distrust.
But I digress.
As I placed all my hope into womankind, I immediately took away all credence from God. I saw woman as that which I needed to be complete and God would kinda come in and build us together. When in reality, God must complete me as a component, then join me to a woman and then we embark on a journey together. I can’t be trying to get myself together and expect a woman to slide in and tether me. I do admit that the women I allow myself to be vulnerable with will be the one I fall in love with and I do admit she will complement me, but that’s all after I find myself in God.
I’m no raving, bible thumping Christian, I’m simply someone deeply devoted to that which heals me. This revelation knocked me off my proverbial feet. Even now, I’m still reeling at the sheer depth of it. I’m going to have to, as Jeremiah put it, “seek God with all my heart”. I’m not even sure what that means. But I know I’ve been pursuing love for 10 years with all my heart, crying and broken after every bout. So if I take that same fervor, those same unrelenting tactics, I will meet God. This investment in that which is larger than myself will pay dividends. Its a safe investment. Like what the United States used to be.
But my wound is an aggregation of sores, cutes, aberrations, and lacerations revolving around me never seeing beauty in God, then turning around and worshiping His creation. Its beautiful because for the first time in my life, I don’t want to be with someone, I feel no draw to anyone and I’m prepared to get as close to Him as possible. I know in His presence I’ll get everything I want and need… Happiness, peace, a wife…
Hell He’s even helped me see the career I truly want already.
I implore everyone, men and women alike, to look deep within yourself and point out that unifying wound. If you don’t know what it is, look at your failures. Look at how you felt when you failed. Now trace that to your childhood. Elderedge believes that for men, their wound is attached to their father. Mine certainly is. Although I have an incredible Dad watching him fail in my teens sullied my image of God. Perhaps you crave sex, drugs, or some other external stimulus. Perhaps you’re insecure and you hide that through foolish pride or bitchiness. Perhaps you blame your mother or father for something and you’ve completely closed off a part of yourself to that. Whatever it is it must be dealt with. This wound festers and becomes infected with time like its fleshly namesake. What happens if you get a deep cut and don’t treat it? It becomes infected and hurts even more.
Unattended wounds cause more pain, damage, and harm the longer they are allowed to exist without intervention. Even if you don’t believe in God the way I do, identify your pains, I guarantee it’ll put more of your mind at ease.