Friday, April 30, 2010

Wild at Heart - A Book Review

I received the book Wild at Heart - Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul by John Eldredge, the new revised edition, from Book Sneeze.  The premise interests me, being married to a wonderful man now for 23 years and the mother of 2 boys, almost up and out of the house at 21 and 17.5.  

A sad truth for many men today - they live from the list of "should" and "ought to" rather than from their own heart.  Whether with their upbringing or by the message they feel they have gotten from society, many men today just don't feel the freedom to truly follow their true passions.  

"This is the man you ought to be", "This is what a good Christian/father/husband/churchgoer ought to do".   Many of these messages are good and well-intentioned, but they leave most men feeling empty.  Men need something else - why do they long for adventures and battle and beauty?  Because God made them that way!  But society doesn't agree.  

A favorite quote from the book by Howard Thurman: "Don't ask yourself what the world needs.  Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive".  

Do men have permission to be adventurous anymore?  The world has spent the last several decades trying to feminize men and it isn't working, as should be obvious.  Why do men today look in their hearts and instead of discovering something dangerous and valiant, they find anger, lust and fear?  Why don't men today engage?

What about this line from Braveheart  -  "All men die, few men ever really live" and 150 years ago, Thoreau wrote, "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation" and it seems nothing has changed.  And as John Eldridge says, "And so most women lead lives of quiet resignation, having given up on their hope for a true man".

Shouldn't there be more to life than this?  This is the point of Wild at Heart

As a mother, I learned a valuable lesson:  A woman can not bring a man into manhood.   For the man whose father abandoned him or simply didn't know how to BE a father, being around other men is so important.   A man need to know his name.  He needs to know he's got what it takes.  A man needs to find and embrace his inner strength!  But where to find it?  The church would like to think they are adequately initiating men into manhood.  But the truth is, men can only learn this through the journey they must take, the journey of surrender and to discovery.

What is a man to do if his father had not found his inner strength and therefore didn't role model it?  What about men who had no fathers at all?  Men are supposed to be strong, the supporter, the protector.  But all these boys today - growing up being told 'No, don't do that.  No, don't do this".  They learn to question every natural impulse.  Without a man around to show the way, many boys just do not connect with the very essence of being male - and finding their strength.  This isn't lost in the minds of men.  They feel their emptiness.   Therefore, almost every man will take that wound and bury it, never to take it out again.  

Men construct a False Self from their woundedness - from childhood, from early experiences, from life.  Until men find their inner strength, they find comfort hiding behind this false persona.  They decide they need to be a "nice guy", believing no one accepts them as they really are.  They create this new self that everyone will admire but no one will know.  Sound familiar thinking of the men in your life?

In Wild at Heart, John Eldridge encourages men to turn to God for this initiation, for God knows every man, knows his heart, knows his dreams.  This false self does not please God and often he must take it all away.  Sometimes losing everything a man holds as his worth (falsely) is what God will use to bring him around to being the man God had planned for him.  This is powerful!

This book had many passages where I was just struck with "a ha!" moments.  I love learning about human nature, about God's plans for our lives and striving to be the woman God would have me be, it only felt natural to learn how to better understand the heart of my man and my boys.  I encourage all women to read this book and frankly, acquire more "tools for their toolbox" in the life of living with men.  Enjoy!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255  : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Have a glorious day!!

P.S.  Something got ALL messed up with the fonts and I can't seem to fix it.  I hope it isn't too distracting!

I review for BookSneeze



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