DEPRESSION, SHAME, FEAR, FAILURE! We know these all too well.
“Seventy years are given to us! Some may even reach eighty. But even the best of the years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we are gone.” – Psalm 90:10 NLT
Six million men will be diagnosed with depression this year; many millions more will go undiagnosed, knowing they suffer but are unwilling to seek treatment. The suicide rate for men is higher than women, and that number is skyrocketing at alarming rates. But, since 1999, women suicide rates are also increasing.
I, Coach Ben, came close to being one of these statistics in 2008, and by God’s grace, He sparred me. I know this issue very well.
“God made man simple; man’s complex problems are of his devising.” Paraphrase of Ecclesiastes 7:29.
I, like many men, and maybe a lot of women, ask themselves this question so often, “what will others think of me? “What do they think of me as a man/woman? Do I measure up in their eyes as they see the choices I am making? What will they think of me if I fail? How do you rate what I do?”
Over time, we have come to believe that for us to show weakness in any area of our lives is shameful. Perhaps, the idea that to be “surviving of the fittest,” is a major cause of some of this shamefulness. We men don’t show or even know how to express our emotions because we are “weak” if we do so. Underlining all this is our TRUE SELF. And so, we do EVERYTHING we can to hide our fears and faults. If we believe we do not have what it takes to be a man–that we are not adequate and we do not measure up–it invalidates our sense of manhood.
SHAME is what destroys men's lives.
We all wear masks of some kind because we are immobilized by the question that ask should others discover our secret shame: What are others going to think of me?
Bill Thrall, in his book TrueFaced, states that eventually, all our masks will crack and inevitably our true selves will be exposed.
Look at the suicide rate that spike in 2008 after the real estate market crashed. The masks of men cracked and crumbled. The pain for many was unbearable.
Thrall, however, offers us a fascinating, more in-depth view of life’s difficulties. He suggests that the struggles we face could be the best things that could ever happen to us because if our masks succeed and help us to remain hidden and protected, who would ever really know us? We would be inauthentic, living only to perform for and impress others.
Most importantly, we might go through all our days missing out on the life God intended for us.
We are meant to BE KNOWN and to KNOW. It’s that simple. We are relational in every sense. This is how God made us. SIMPLE. We have devised complexity that ought not to be there.
Do you know Him? Are you KNOWN by others, truly known?
That day on the bridge when I wanted to take my life, God stepped in, removed my masks and shame, nailing it to the cross of His Son, Jesus Christ, and forgave me. I entered life a new creation and unashamed of who I am and now, who’s I am. I am known! I no longer need to hide in shame, fear, and failure. I am loved more than I will ever know and yet still more broken than I can ever imagine. But, the One who made me and this universe we reside in, knows EXACTLY who I am and what I am to be, His beloved child. (John 1:10-12) This is the good news of Jesus Christ! What is known as the true Gospel.
If you are dealing with depression, please consider getting help! Call us or email me at [email protected] We would love to offer you guidance in any way we can.
Be blessed! Be Fit!
True Measure of a Man by Richard Simmons III