Typically, menâ€”and especially "leaders"â€”don’t share!
We don’t know how to express our feelings, or we’re busy competing.
The situation is changing somewhat as thousands of men are meeting in caring groups. Unfortunately, many men even pastors are afraid to get into a group. As a young pastor, I saw the strength of groups, I encouraged their development, and I even trained leadersâ€”but I was not in a group.
By the time I got to midlife, I was willing to admit that I needed other men who could understand meâ€”men I could trust, and with whom I could be vulnerable. I was finally willing to give up being the "Lone Ranger." In fact, the real Lone Ranger was not aloneâ€”he had Tonto.
Currently I’m in a group with several men who are all dealing with our dysfunctional past. I got into the group when one of the men recognized I was very angry with my dysfunctional parental family.
We simply share the pressure, tension, or fear, of our daily activities. We also share the past or current pain in our lives.
I told him I was too busy for a groupâ€”my heavy travel schedule, writing books, radio and television appearances, and our ministry office. But he kept pressing, "You and I both need a group."
He continued to nag me until I joined the group. We are very busy men, but in spite of that we meet every week. We have no homework or books to study. However, we frequently bring helpful materials to each other.
We meet at 7:30 pm, have only coffee, tea or cocoa while we talk, and we’re done by 9:00 pm. We have a simple format. We simply share the pressure, tension, or fear, of our daily activities. We also share the past or current pain in our lives. For example, some of us have fathers who had sexual addictions or were alcoholics, and many of us have troubled marriages. We are helping each other work through our various dysfunction’s.
Another group I was in was indispensable in helping me with the discovery that my daughter was sexually abused. The knowledge was devastating, but my group was confidential and supportive as I wrestled with unthinkable thoughts.
My group also walked with me as I faced Sally's death and struggled for years with the grief. They have also coached me when I became ready to date again.
They also helped me live with the struggle of my wife Sally’s breast cancer. She had an advanced caseâ€”so this was scary stuff. I’ve been able to talk with my trusted friends about fears regarding Sally’s cancer that would have been wrong to share with her.
My group also walked with me as I faced Sally’s death and struggled for years with the grief. They have also coached me when I became ready to date again. Plus they held me accountable not to get sexually involved before marriage.
So what will you lose if you join a small caring group? Well, you’ll lose your isolation and loneliness. You’ll lose the feeling that no one understands or cares. And you’ll lose some of your vulnerability to Satan’s attacks, because you’ll have a group of men who are allowing you to ventilateâ€”and who are praying for you day by day.
Just before our group breaks up, we stand and make a huddle. Then, in that connectedness, we ask God to heal us and help us become God’s expression of Himself to the world.
Take the risk! Get into an accountability groupâ€”you will grow and you’ll find a home with a group of people who care.
Conway / Farrel Articles ~ Reprint by permission only, ©2011
Midlife Dimensions ~ www.Midlife.com
The Conways and Farrels are international speakers and popular authors.
Midlife Dimensions is a ministry founded by the Conways and continued by the Farrels.