Before going to the men’s conference, I felt a huge lack of male friendship/camaraderie and a lack of a sense of enjoyment around a large group of other guys. I have had some negative experiences in the past that seemed to confirm my insecurities and the lie that it’s better off to not have any friendships that went deeper than surface level. Sure I could be transparent with some but I didn’t text people to talk throughout the week or hang out with anyone for fun. It was all about whether or not the relationship served a purpose instead of the relationship being the purpose in and of itself.
I often was a loaner loner and didn’t really feel like I fit in with groups. I didn’t share similar interests like watching sports or drinking beer like those around me and I lacked knowledge and confidence about how to build or fix things. So I did not feel like I would be seen as a real man who could be accepted into a group. I’ve always worked with, lived with and got along better with women throughout my life. I could relate better with them but also there was always a limit as a man with them that left me even more lonely.
While I was at the conference, I had several positive interactions and experiences with my brothers around me. I felt accepted and welcomed for who I am just as I am. I didn’t have to earn that or prove my right to it in any way. I found I could trust them to help me with whatever struggles I had and help me carry the burden by being strong for me and having my back. I found true and powerful healing through fully honest and forthcoming confession - holding nothing back. It was powerful and healing because even though the person I confessed to knew what I saw as the most evil and darkest part of me, they still loved and affirmed me with compassion and grace, while challenging me to be called up!
Before the conference, I felt like I had to fight on my own and be strong enough in order to be a real man, but now I realize my need for other brothers in Christ, and I value my relationships with them so much more. Ever since then I’ve been texting, calling and meeting with my brothers on a weekly and sometimes daily basis. I have deeper relationships! And they are only growing deeper deeply every day! Praise be to God! I see now the power of his command to love your brother and confess to one another!