Changes, departures, leavings, and endings can be hard. For years, I was not only a faithful attender at a local church, I was on the leadership team, aspired to be a paid pastor there, and became close with the other team members. Then, after a good deal of inner wrestling and tender conversations, I knew in my spirit it was time to leave the church. While I loved the people, the situation was no longer a good fit for using my gifts to awaken and increase Love.
The thing is, in the nearly two years since I “left”, not once have these friends tried to get together, asked how I was doing, or even texted to say “hi”. When Lisa and I had our big wedding in September 2017 we invited said friends … yet none came! On the rare occasion when I think about this my blood starts to boil, and it’s super easy for me to spiral into a mental blame, shame, and anger storm. Now, please don’t get my wrong. I’m not sharing this to bash the church or the people, because I love and think highly of both. Truthfully, when my thoughts start to get twisted on this subject, my True Self will interrupt the cycle with the reminder there’s nothing wrong with friendships having seasons, life is busy, we only have a limited amount of time and energy, and they’re great people.
I unpack my heart like this to note how shoving my feelings down and going to anger and blame, when sadness is more applicable, as I’ve been doing, are very “masculine” things to do. While I get there are some genetic differences between men and women when it comes to our dispositions, it seems to me much of “masculinity” and “femininity” are cultural creations that actually hinder us from living the amazing life we’re created for. There’s a reason why “toxic masculinity” is a thing these days and I imagine there’s something akin to that for femininity. It seems to me the path to health, wholeness, and fullness for me, and possibly many others as well, is for men to be more feminine and women more masculine.
What I’m getting at is brilliantly captured by a phrase I recently read from a fellow blogger (thanks Becca!): “Fierce Softness” (you can check her blog out here: https://beccaellis.wordpress.com/2019/02/06/showing-up-in-the-world-in-a-softer-way/). Jesus, my hero, role model, and more, embodied fierce softness. It’s a harmonious balance of drive and chill, yin and yang, challenge and surrender, strength and sweetness, fire and water, energy and ease, equanimity and emotionality, the larger than life quality of a hero dad and the safe and comforting embrace of a mom, and so on. This balance is love, and the more we can lean into ALL aspects of our being, the kinder, healthier, and more alive we’ll become … and the world along with us.
When I think about my friends not reaching out to me (I should add that I barely have either), my guttural frustration (fierceness) is totally normal and to be felt without judgment. The key, though, is for me to pair this with sorrow and tears over the end of our season together, alongside an understanding that life and relationships are chalk full of changes, beginnings, and endings.
I’m going to make a bold statement because it’s what I really believe, but please fell free to take it, leave it, or somewhere in between. Our relationships, families, circles, communities, countries, and world need more women who courageously speak their minds with loving hearts like a momma bear, and more men who open their ears to others and hearts to themselves to deeply feel from a place of confidence and security. This is what fierce softness means to me.
When you think of the problems and troubles in our world, what comes to mind? For me it’s wars, shootings, racism, sexism, poverty, oppression, lack of healthcare, the environment, and perhaps more than anything division, distrust, and violence between political parties, religions, nations, races, genders, and so on. Honestly, it seems to me the world is still a very male dominated place, and division, distrust, and violence are “masculine” ways of being according to culture. So, with that in mind let me conclude by saying I think to become a more peaceful, harmonious, and unified the world, on all levels, we need men to better display their softness and women to fiercely bring their momma tenderness into the public forum. What do you think?
Grace and peace,