Just read a great word from Eli Leedy one of our regular speakers and a small group leader on Monday night. You will like it too, here it is.
Everyone starts somewhere.
When I walked into the room for the first time I didn’t know what to expect. I guess I had been programed by prior “men’s groups” at the church to prepare myself for a bunch of fluff and talk about being a better “man of God” and reading my bible more and praying with my wife. As if somehow that’s all it would take to “fix” any problems I may have. If I were honest I expected to be judged… again… by “real men” in the church who haven’t ever “dealt with that…”
Instead I was accepted. I was loved. I was given a chance to share openly and no one batted an eye when I said the craziest crap that I had done.
That’s when I had to START. Everyone has to start. From wherever you are, at whatever level of emotional, spiritual, relational development you are, you have to start. This isn’t a sprint, it’s an endurance race. We ask for a 6 month commitment on Monday nights not because that’s how long it takes to get better, but because that is how long it takes to get your head out of dark places and really start working on freedom. That’s how much sobriety it takes to get to a place of strength where you can truly begin working on core issues that got you in the mess you are in.
When a new guy comes into group or I get a new full group of guys I have to stop and realize where they are at in the process. They just “walked through the door” for the first time. That is bold. That is brave. That is transformative in nature. It is humble. It is honest. “I have a problem I can’t solve on my own” is one of the absolute hardest things a man will EVER say in his life. We’re wired to be strong, to be capable, to protect, to have the answers. Humility does not come natural for us. So they need to start.
We give homework each week to work on during the week and come back with a report. First week in my group everyone gets the same homework – Come back next week in pain. I define pain, in this instance, as not escaping, running, numbing, distracting from the pain we are all in. You don’t have to go find pain in your life you just have to stop porning out, Facebooking out, vegging out, etc long enough for the pain to catch up with you. Come back next week feeling that pain that you have been trying to avoid. There is two parts to this, the pain part is obvious, but more importantly is COME BACK. Don’t run. You have already come this far (and trust me, walking through that door is a lot further than most of these men have EVER gone).
Second week of homework is also always the same – Call someone. This is where we exchange numbers and each agree that we will make at least one phone call during the week whether we need it or not. This is another big one for men. “I don’t want to be a bother.” “I don’t know if they’re busy or not.” “It was too late.” “I figured you were probably at work or something.” “I just don’t want to drag anyone down.” Are just a few of the excuses I hear for why this one doesn’t get done as often as it should. The truth is, as men, we don’t want to be “needy.” We don’t want to be the guy who is dependent on others in order to “be good.” This is a lie from the pit of hell. God has designed us to be dependent on others. We weren’t wired to do this on our own, so get over yourself and shoot the flare, so you can be rescued.
Wherever you are – START. It will get harder, but you’ll get a break every now and then to catch some air. You will want to quit and run away, but don’t. It’s like working outside in the Pacific Northwest, if you waited for the sun to come out you would never get any work done. Stand in it, work in it, face it, feel it, and let it hurt. It’s washing you, purifying you, and causing you to grow. It’s what you need, and deep down it’s what you want. If you don’t quit the sun will break out on you and you’ll be in the most beautiful place on earth.