Looking for manhood…in all the wrong places

What is a real man?  It is the question my Men in the Bible class at school spend a whole semester answering.  It is the question behind so much of my own sadness and confusion. For I have looked in all the wrong places for an answer.

I have looked to sports.  Maybe if I excelled at a sport, it would make me feel like a man.  So much of the energy behind my running has been because of this.

I have looked to different activities.  Maybe if I learned to hunt or fly-fish or run a marathon, that would make me feel like a man.   But my attempts at these things never answered the question.

I have looked to physical strength.  Maybe if I lifted weights or got a ripped physique or did hard workouts, maybe all of these would make me feel like a man. How many times have I looked at myself in the mirror bare-chested wondering if I had it?

I have looked to outward appearance.  Maybe if I got a certain haircut or wore certain type clothes, it would make me feel like a man.  Maybe if I grew a beard or a goatee.  But trying all of these never got me any closer.

I have also looked to success.   So much of the pressure I felt as a pastor, a teacher, and a coach came out of this.  Even after I got really successful, I remember feeling that this wasn’t it either.  In fact being a success only made things worse.  Now that I had hit a home run, I felt pressured to do it every time I got up to bat.

What had developed was a deep fault line in my heart, a crack in the very foundation.  And I could never get the crack to close.  It just got wider and wider, opening up an abyss of darkness.  I compulsively kept searching for some way to close it, but nothing helped.

So I did what I have come to believe all men do.  I learned to fake it.  I hid my deepest questions and fears, terrified that at any moment that I could be discovered as a fraud.  But at age 35, with a wife and two children, my long-term struggle with depression began to shut me down.  I knew something had to change.  The 12 year-old boy in me had to find a way out.  My marriage, my family, my future was at stake.

How did I find my way to manhood?  Read my next blog on Monday.

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About Coach D

I have been a teacher and a coach for many years. My real name is Bill Delvaux, but my students call me Coach D, hence the user name. This blog is about the journey into the unknown I am walking and the landmarks I am navigating along the way. The destination: becoming who I really am as a man. I invite you to join me by reading along every Monday and Thursday.
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2 Responses to Looking for manhood…in all the wrong places

  1. Nice blog Bill. That really is an interesting point – do all men fake it? Before 2007, everyone pointed to Bernie Madoff as being the real deal. He was rich beyond imagination, but when the financial tide receded, he was found to have no pants. Does a Sir Richard Branson, or a Shaq Oneil or a Neal Armstrong, fake it? It would certainly be disappointing to hear that they do/did. But that may very well be the case.

    • Coach D says:

      Every man I have ever met so far struggles with this, Vince. Part of becoming a real man is admitting how lost we are over this and how much we need to quit faking. The truth of this is hard at first, but it is ultimately so liberating. The man Jesus loves is not the fake one, but the real one hidden under all the shame and guilt. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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