There are chapters in any gentlemen’s life that can be looked back on as seasons of growth. Circumstances and situations that all seem to culminate together to form rich lessons that inevitably become the “stuff” that our world views are made out of.
As many of you know all too well, those seasons are often accompanied with, or even initiated by, difficulty and strife. We can all identify at least a few specific periods of our lives that were filled with grief, anxiety, loss, or heartache. Albeit to varying degrees, no doubt. Though just as soon as you recall those memories, I’m sure many of you are also reminded of what you learned as a result of walking through them. Indeed it’s true…fire truly does refine.
Though where I find myself far too often, isn’t struggling to find the lessons in my past experiences, but rather having enough perspective in those seasons to recognize them as they are being taught to me. I’m far too busy worrying about the outcome, feeling like I should be doing more, or pitying myself for my shortcomings to resolve it. Regrettably, when I find stress or anxiety creeping in, I simply put my head down and bulldoze my way through the problem until it’s resolved. This can be helpful in getting me to the other side of the issue at hand, but it does a dreadful job of caring well for those around me.
My wife and I are walking through a difficult season in our lives. There is a lot of change, a lot of uncertainty, and a lot of anxiety built up around several different situations we are juggling. As I’ve been thinking about how to be faithful in this season to love my wife well, and to not succumb to my selfish tendencies of blindly grinding through to a resolution, something has been continually brought to mind…
As modern day gentlemen, we must be conscious not only of the lessons we are learning, but of how we are learning them. How we are carrying ourselves through our trials. This is something we would all be very wise to consider, no matter the circumstances that are the catalysts for our specific seasons of growth.
We all have people around us that have invested in us, and count on our continual investment in them. Such is the burden, and great privilege, of a true gentleman.
We must not take this responsibility lightly. And we cannot abuse that privilege by acting out of self-interest or self-preservation. If we do this, we break the trust of those who most need us to be trustworthy. We hurt those who have most readily protected us from harm. We push away those who have most often drawn near to us.
Gentlemen…hear these words…we are to be in every way diligent to protect against these selfish tendencies that cause such irrevocable harm.
We must measure our “success” in our hardships not by how quickly we get through them, but by the quality of the lessons we learn from them, and, more importantly, how intentionally we care for those around us while in the midst of them.
I don’t have some big call-to-action to offer, or challenge to issue you all. This is just something that has been on my heart during this season of my life. I sincerely hope that it provided a fresh perspective, and that it encourages you to reconsider how you carry yourself when trials present themselves in your journey.
Be kind, be patient, and be slow to speak. This too will pass, but the loved ones around you will remain. Ensure you are investing your effort in the part of this season that does not fade when your circumstances change.