Embracing the Adventure…With Caution

“A man is never more man than when he embraces an adventure beyond his control, or when he walks into a battle he isn’t sure of winning.” John Eldredge, author of Wild At Heart

This week it was Jeff and my pleasure to be interviewed on “The Common Good” AM1160 by Brian From and Ian Simkins. They’re both young dads and were struck by my vulnerability and willingness to talk about the serious mistakes I’d made in the past.

Part of my problem early in life was that I was too eager to “embrace adventures beyond my control.” There are times when being a real man requires restraint, or perhaps tenderness or even submission for the sake of one’s family or the greater good. It’s important for a dad to model for his son that “winning the battle” doesn’t always mean “slaying the dragon.” There are times when submission means you get to stay alive and live another day.

Ulysses, the Greek king had heard of the seductive singing of the Sirens songs, and was very curious to hear it for himself. He also had heard of how dangerous it might be, so he had his crewmen plug their ears with beeswax and then ordered them to tie him so tightly to the ship’s mast that he couldn’t get loose, even if he begged them to untie him. The legend says that if one could resist the tempting Sirens song that the Sirens would die.

As powerful as Ulysses was, he was also wise enough to know his limitations. His example is a powerful lesson that we should go to any lengths to avoid temptations that might overpower us. Like the Eldredge quote above, Ulysses was obviously aware that he was in for a battle that he wasn’t sure he could win. At the same time, he wasn’t a fool. He took the precautions he needed to avoid the temptation of the Sirens song.

Ulysses demonstrated that “manning up” has two parts to it: 1) embracing the adventure full throttle and 2) understanding your limitations or weaknesses, and then building a strong defense to protect one’s self.

Lust, greed, resentment, jealousy, gluttony can be like the Sirens song. There’s a common phrase in 12-step groups, “What you feed, grows and what you starve, dies. The long-term effects of behavior that might seem pleasure-filled and innocent at the time, may actually be destructive for you and others.

The Tender Lion is one who is one can be both tender and tough, soft and strong, caring and courageous…and knows when to use which trait. What is this message saying to you today?

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