Unstuck, Unleashed, Unstoppable: Get Out Of Your Head And Into Your Life
Have you ever been really stuck? Like, I am talking cannot move, flat out nothing you can do to change your situation, you are stuck! I grew up on the Red River bottoms on the Texas & Arkansas border and the river bottoms and the sandbar was my playground. We camped, fished, hunted and rode four-wheeler’s every chance we could. One spring afternoon my buddy sunk his 500 Polaris Sportsman four-wheeler so deep in the mud and sand that it literally would not move. Mud was way up past the axles, the tires were buried, and the thing would not budge. We had been stuck before, but we always got out of it. Not this time! Six of us tried everything we could to get this four-wheeler out of this quick-sand type mud and dirt. The year was 1996 and cell phones were nothing like they are today. Our mommas had no clue where we were except that we were “on the farm” and we had no way of letting them know why we wouldn’t be home for supper. So what do we do? What were our options?
Sadly, in today’s world, the scene above is a metaphor for so many men who feel just as stuck as we were that afternoon.
Why are men so hard headed when it comes to opening up and saying, “Hey! My life is not going well! I need help! I’m stuck!?”
I believe three reasons keep men from asking for help:
- Men today believe the lie that they can change on their own.
- They honestly don’t know where to go to seek help.
- Fear overcomes them and they think, “Even though my greatest desire is to be fully known, my greatest fear is being rejected if someone really knows everything about me.”
So most men do nothing. Passivity wins. Like water, most men simply take the path of least resistance and continue to live a bored and mundane life in isolation.
But what if a man is willing to conquer his fear? What are his options? Where does that man even start?
I’ve been both of these men. I’ve been the man who sits miserably in isolation because the fear of rejection is so crippling that I cannot bear the thought of bringing all my junk to the surface. For four years, I knew I needed help, yet I chose to be passive. Then, in March of 2008, I had had enough. I wanted to be free. So I walked into a group of men who met on Monday nights at my church in Dallas. Actually, there were about 1,000 men attending a biblical based 12 step program known as ReGeneration.
I had no idea what to expect. I just finally realized that the pain of people actually knowing my whole story couldn’t be worse than struggling alone in isolation where no one really knew what was going on in my life.
It really is that simple. A man either continues to isolate himself or he bravely walks into a group and says guys, “I need help.” And if he chooses #1, his path is clear. He will keep getting what he’s got if he keeps doing what he’s doing. And if he chooses option #2…he doesn’t know what’s going to happen. He seriously has no idea what in the world people will think.
So, how do you move forward out of isolation if you have to be vulnerable and if you have to give up control? How does someone generate that much faith?
- Look for where other men are experiencing the change you want to see in yourself. Start there.
- Show up. Ask questions. Go slowly.
Build trust as trust is earned. Remember that all men have fallen short. Remember that these men really, on their own, they can’t fix you, heal you, or change you. But here’s what they can do. They can be the catalyst to your life changing. You want to know why? Because life change happens in community as somewhere along the road, you will hear them say something and your jaw will drop, and in your mind you will say, “holy sh**, they feel that way too?!” Or “seriously, that happened to you too??…I thought I was the only one!” And when that happens. When you can then say, “So he just put it out there and these guys didn’t judge or condemn him? They loved him?” Then you can start to think, “Maybe they will love me too.” And why do they? Why do these men love instead of reject? Because you told the truth. And the truth is always good enough. Perfect love casts out fear. And how can imperfect people provide the perfect love needed to allow you to ultimately heal? Because of the One who is the perfect healer. The One who created every man, came to Earth as a man, and has given His life for every man. His love poured out through other men in community is the secret.
And if you are wondering how in the world we got my buddy’s four wheeler out of the Red River quick sand…we followed my own advice. We walked out, drove into town and found an old man that had a good truck and a whole lot more experience with that river and those bottoms then we did. Where we were scared to take our trucks, he just drove his right down there. He knew the limits of the machine and the land. He showed us how and where to go to avoid the pitfalls
As he sipped his whiskey drink driving down the levy heading to save the day, he gave us some sage advice that is just now sinking in. He said boys, “two things: know your limits, and know who and when to call for help. Because as men you are always gonna push your limits.”
So let me ask you, are you stuck? Do you need help? Do you deeply want to change but are paralyzed for some reason? If so, and the reason is irrelevant to us, just come join us. I can promise you from my own personal experience that the School of Man is a place where you will find authentic community that can help you get unstuck.
–Stephen Eoff, SoM Class 003