‘Becoming A King’ by Morgan Snyder
SEPTEMBER 5, 2020
In the masculine journey, our early years of manhood often begin as a season of exploration and discovery.
In youthful exuberance, we tend to view the world with ourselves at its epicenter. Passing through this in time, every man is faced with this profound, essential transition. While it may not be easy to name, the shift is felt deeply in the masculine soul.
I am not the center of the story.
A significant portion of my life is behind me.
And for better and worse, my decisions have deep consequences in the lives of others.
Sure, we are important and affect the lives of others at every stage of development. But at some point in young to mid- adulthood, we find our lives bound with others in inextricable ways. This shift is often initiated by marriage, having kids, and taking on a full- time job or major responsibilities.
When we stepped into marriage, both Cherie and I were intent on seeking God’s heart, filled with a sense of promise and possibility. While many rocks lay strewn on the path in our first years, I remember the joy of lingering conversation and sharing what we were learning and what questions were emerging as we explored life, each other, God, and the world.
And then we became parents. We were delighted by God’s good provision and felt the joy of being entrusted with these little ones. Yet as quickly as they came, so did all margin depart. I remember Joshua crying and being unable to comfort him, the sleepless nights, and the disorientation of being the first among our peers to become parents.
My dreams and desires became very simple: a few hours’ sleep, a cup of coffee, or — someday — maybe even ten minutes of stillness. As margin evaporated, the negative impact of my style of relationship with Cherie increased. I could see the check engine light on the dashboard of my soul illuminated, but our lives seemed to be functioning well enough, and as long as the car is still drivable, who has time or emotional space to check under the hood anyway? So we kept on driving our life and our marriage.
I started to notice certain things for the first time. Professional athletes were actually younger than I was. One day my head was strangely sore after a short adventure with some buddies under the hot summer sun. I soon realized how badly I sunburned my scalp. I had no idea I’d lost enough hair to warrant replacing styling gel with sunscreen from the kids’ swim bag.
With this shift into a new season of heightened responsibility, the pressure builds quickly and steadily, and most men reach for security with a determination to start building. The standard blueprint for this reactive building process often has three components:
- Making a name for ourselves. Whatever we can do, big or small, we establish ways to secure our identity by what we do so it isn’t rooted in who we are.
- Making a little money. We lock onto our own version of the modern dream. We take the bait of thinking that building a bank account will validate us as a man or give us more of the lasting rest or satisfaction that our heart seeks.
- Getting something going. Whatever it may be, we start building. We build resumes, social media networks, churches, businesses. We start hustling. Much of it is fueled by the desire to feel alive. To feel the thrill of accomplishment, success, and to have something of which we can be proud.
Look back at your life over the years. Notice how these motives have been expressed and how much of your time and energy has been invested in succeeding in these pursuits. If we slow down and observe our lives, we often will find that may of our activities are a reaction to mounting pressure and responsibility. In and of themselves, none of these things are inherently bad. It is the motives with which we pursue them that must be unearthed. Notice how often, even if we are physically present with the people and things we attest to care most about, we find ourselves not soulfully present and engaged. Rather than bringing to our families playfulness and affection, we bring fatigue and frustration. Why is it we spend our best energy at work and show up at home with mere scraps? We determine to achieve something to call our own, to start that company, to conquer that initiative. Yet why is it we find ourselves scrambling to prove to a boss, our spouse, or – even more – to our own souls that we have what it takes?
And the desire and vision we have for being powerful collides painfully with our inability to maintain integrity of soul under the weight of the demands. What if the desire deep within our souls, expressed in so many forms, to be powerful is whispering to us an ancient truth?
We are meant to be powerful.
And in order to become powerful, to become a wholehearted king, to become a man who can delight the heart of God through what he does with power bestowed, we must take a journey down a rarely traveled and adventurous path. We must risk believing that these desires placed within us are meant for good. They were set deep inside us by the Father heart of God. And in order to recover life, we must first venture far enough down this ancient path to recover the possibility and the promise of becoming a son.