There are things that we keep to ourselves and don’t always say out loud. Here are some of my confessions of an average guy.
I think all of us to love to explore our issues through the lives of other people. Look at reality TV and talk shows. Two books I really enjoy are Confessions of a Pastor by Craig Groeschel, and Confessions of a Good Christian Guy by Tom Davis and Tammy Maltby. The authors are super upfront about their struggles and what they’ve faced in their life, and their honesty is freeing. I know I’ve found comfort in knowing there are people, even people of influence, who are open with their struggles and challenges, and I’ve found great lessons in their openness.
I like to write about a lot of things on this site, but this time I thought I’d write some of my own confessions.
And I hope you’ll read these not in a judgmental way, but hopefully as a way to explore some of the honest feelings you have in your life also.
I’m an IT professional and a Christian male in my mid-20s, but I won’t be writing necessarily about things that are unique to men. Some might be, but I think all of us have similar thoughts at some point.
And I must admit – my life is pretty great right now. I really can’t complain about a whole lot. I’m seeing a lot of new things happening in my life. But these confessions will be considered from the past few years, and not necessarily ranting about how awesome things are for me at the moment. Be prepared for some surprises.
So I’ve put it off long enough. It’s confession time. Here are some confessions of an average guy.
I wish more people said what they really meant
One thing that really gets under my skin is when people don’t say what they mean. Looking back on my life, I’ve had a few key moments of confusion in my life because someone or a group of people have said one thing, but done another. I guess as a more logical and fact-finding type person (classic INFJ traits), I spend time gathering facts and then make my decisions based on them.
But what do you do when the information you are fed isn’t correct?
I know for me, my logical brain goes crazy. I’ve had some counselling before on a few issues (really recommend it by the way) and the great man I had running me through things really helped me understand the times in my emotions and decisions where I get the most frustrated. And they’re the times where the logic doesn’t add up. Admittedly this has been mainly in corporate settings, but I guess the frustration would apply across other areas as well.
I wonder if you can relate. I wonder if you share the same frustration.
But what’s interesting about this one is it causes me to turn inwards and look at my own life, and question whether or not I always say what I mean. Probably not. And perhaps that has been a source of frustration or confusion for others.
Jesus said to let your yes be yes and your no be no. We have so many variants on yes and no. Yes can mean yes, or no, or not yet, or maybe. No can mean the same things. When faced with the question of what we truly want, a lot of us don’t really know what to say.
Maybe the better way is to just be honest about what we’re actually thinking. In business, in relationships, especially in our families and those closest to us – maybe “I’m not sure” or “here is the true state of things” are okay statements to make. Maybe you can just say yes when you know you are for something, and no when you don’t think it’s the right thing to do.
I get tired of emotional games
In a similar vein, something that wears me out real fast is when we play emotional games on each other. You know what I’m talking about. Get offended at something so we give each other the silent treatment. Utilize the first confession and give people incorrect information. Hinting at and dancing around things that we never actually say.
Why do we do this to each other?
I’m just as guilty as anyone else, to be honest. As you get older, sometimes you get better at justifying or masking what you’re doing. But you and I both know when we’re doing something we shouldn’t. When we’re putting a spin on someone. When we’re taking advantage of an emotional trigger or sensitive issue with another person.
Let’s agree to stop knowingly doing this to each other. Straight up honesty and respect for others always wins the day.
Sometimes I wish men got more respect
I said these wouldn’t all be male-specific, but I have to be honest on this one. I really don’t like the way that we treat the men in our world a lot of the time.
Okay sure, a lot of men have been the perpetrators of heinous events. A lot of men and women have been hurt by the decisions of men. I know we don’t always act very smart or sensitive and can sometimes be awkward.
But did you know that 80% of incarcerations are men? Did you know that in the United States in 2011, the stats show men committed suicide at a rate 4 times higher than women?
We are literally killing our men.
And some of these bigger issues are quite complicated to try to digest. At a more immediate level, I sometimes get frustrated with how we talk about the men in our lives.
We sometimes fail to see men as individuals who are in need of respect and someone to believe in them to get through life successfully. When a little boy has their mum or their dad tell them they did a good job, they get a big S on their chest like Superman. The same thing happens to a husband and a father who has the trust and encouragement of his wife and kids. The same thing happens to our male friends and acquaintances and leaders when someone intentionally invests in them.
You and I can be the change.
And of course, the same argument could be made about the way we treat women. I’m a big advocate of that myself – my last post was addressing the accusation that women are too emotional (and spoilers, a main point was that they should be understood). But so often we use that line as a cop out for actually deciding to be intentional with the men we know.
Sometimes I wish people asked more about me
Still with me? This one is definitely a bit more close to home.
If I were to be real with you, I didn’t have the best end to 2013 or the best start to 2014. I had a lot of things in my life kind of thrown into disarray, and I was really going through a lot of major challenges.
And I remember times in the first half of the year where I would have people come up to me and dump their issues on me. Their breakups, their struggles with work, their issues. And sometimes I didn’t always get the opportunity to share my side. Sometimes people would just assume that Matt has it all together, and would initiate and end conversations around that perception.
Now fortunately for me I did have quite a number of people in my life who would regularly check in. I am super grateful for them. I’ll never forget the days and nights where I would receive encouraging messages, people who would go out to dinner with me, and sometimes people who would just listen to be rant on and on about how I was feeling. It wasn’t the only season in my life where such friends have been there for me, and it probably won’t be the last.
But isn’t it amazing how much you can do with people, without knowing how they’re really going? We do so much side-by-side activity – going to movies, going through the motions in big groups, sitting next to people in church, working on projects with others – and so often, we have a deficit of face-to-face and heart-to-heart.
How about you?
I’m sure that you, dear friend, also have had times in your life where you have hoped the same thing. All of us have.
Why not take that desire and do something wonderful with it? Let’s you and me make sure we are always jumping past the small talk and being fully real with people. Now that’s not to say we shouldn’t have fun with each other and that every single conversation has to turn into emotional heart surgery. But I think it’s really important that we actually *know* the people we do life with, and not just do things next to each other.
Sometimes I get tired of trying to be the strong one
I guess an extension of the last one is that sometimes I get tired of looking out for others. I mean, I love to invest in others. It’s a calling in my life and on all our lives really. I love seeing people find the reason why they’re alive. I love listening to people and helping them work out what to do next with where they’re at.
But there are days where I just don’t feel like doing it. And there are times I have wished that people were doing that for me.
I think something that is super important here is building deep relationships. Your relationship with God and your relationship with friends is super important, especially for when life starts to get a bit dark as it does at different periods. We all need people in our lives who are there who we know just want us for us, and not just for what we do. Not saying it’s bad to have people in your life who are there just because of what you do. But they can’t be the only people.
Who are the people you can call on at any time of the day or night? If you sent them a message, that they would swiftly provide a helpful response. That you can just cry with or sit there and stare while you’re working things out.
What’s awesome to keep in mind is that these seasons don’t last forever, and I’m happy to say in my life that in the same way that often all the bad things happen at once, that all the good things happen at once too. That winter gives way to spring. That weeping may remain for a night, but joy comes with the morning.
So there are some of my confessions. Thanks for reading and letting me be honest. I hope that some of these things you find helpful in working through whatever season you’re at in your journey too.