This fear carried with it an inherent need to achieve, a need to find significance in asserting my power and authority to create success in whatever I was doing. Since I was not secure in my identity as a real man, I did my best to act like one, and most often fell short.
My unhealthy ways of relating to the opposite sex were marked by a constant feeling of abandonment from God. My earthly father in his absence and eventual death had left a void of manhood seemingly too big to be filled. I found myself calling out into the darkness and hoping to hear back a voice of affirmation, a voice that could secure my identity, but was met with silence.
My greatest fears of absence from God, not knowing how to be a man, and never being in healthy relationship with the opposite sex have all been met with redemption from Christ and the people he has put in my life.
In Christ I have learned that "I am fearfully and wonderfully made," (psalm 139:14) and "dead to sin (even generational sin) but alive in Christ" (Romans 6:11).
"For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace." (Romans 6:14 NIV)
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)
The reality is that far too often I have leaned into the past I earlier described, and not into the new creation I am in Christ and who He is making me to be.
My relationship with the love of my life, Megan, has taught me so much over the last six months about how to love Megan in her wholeness, how to be a man who not only loves but loves well, and how to be worthy of her respect and the respect of others.
I fail a lot, but the awesome part is when I am able to take hold of the promise of Jesus in Matthew that he will never leave or forsake me.
Author Andy Comiskey says "Real masculine authority arises out of reliance on God. Strength emerges from surrender. Only in losing our lives to the Father's greater purposes will our masculinity be restored."
And that is where I find myself today. In process of being healed, redeemed, restored. Being met with grace daily by Jesus and Megan (she is a major sign of Gods grace to me). Learning how to throw off guilt, shame, and the sin that so easily entangles (Hebrews 12), and to walk as a new man, upright and strong.
The battle moving forward is to remember that I am not defined by my achievements, but by my ability to lean into Jesus and who he is making me. Only then can I be a true man who loves well and gains the respect of all those around me. Surrender and submission to Gods good, pleasing, and perfect will is the way moving forward.