Chapter one of TLAM begins with a treatment of what drives men. What is it that fuels men? What makes them go? How are men wired when it comes to achievements and goals? A few quotes from the opening pages:
“…find out here, in these pages who men really are.” || TLAM (Location 119)
“Men are driven by who they are, what they do, and how much they make…These three things make up the basic DNA of manhood–the three accomplishments every man must achieve before he feels like he’s truly fulfilled his destiny as a man.” || TLAM (Location 139)
In all honestly, I used to think like this. So there is some truth to this statement. But to take a principle and universally apply it to all men is problematic and potentially catastrophic. Let me tell you what transformed my thinking and share with you what now drives me.
Simple, yet life changing words from Jesus in calling his disciples. And He’s made that same call to millions since. So there are men out there who aren’t driven by who they are, but by whose they are. There are men who aren’t driven by what they do, but what God has done for them. There are men who aren’t driven by how much they make, but subversively live below their means to do meaningful work for God’s Kingdom.
Harvey doesn’t call women to think like these men. Granted these men are rare. But imagine taking that three-fold mindset into a relationship with a man who doesn’t think the way Harvey lays it out. You may eventually do more harm than good. There may be unmet expectations that stymie your relationship. Can you imagine women coming into a relationship with salary expectations? With expectations of what “success” looks like? Imagine the male missionary who lives in Ghana. Or that pastor of a small parsonage in a small town making a small salary. What about that professional who decides to work with a non-profit for one-third the salary he could make in corporate America? Harvey doesn’t challenge women to think like those men. There’s something different about these men’s DNA and their definition of manhood. The truth is:
Impossible to Focus?
Harvey goes on to talk about a man’s emotional unavailability, positing that men hold back until they have reached a certain level of success. He supports this idea with the fact that men are often unengaged in conversation with their significant other. He says,
“His eye will be on the prize and that prize may not necessarily be you if he isn’t up where he wants to be in life. It’s impossible for us to focus on the two…” || TLAM (Location 208)
That leads down a slippery slope. One where some may assume it’s impossible for men to focus on career and the woman in his life. News flash: Men will never be “up where they want to be in life”. There’s always more. There’s always better. Contentment isn’t an option. Why do you think CEO’s continue to work crazy hours, neglecting their families even though they are very comfortable? Because enough is never enough! If you wait on him to obtain the prize his eye is on, then you’ll be waiting for…NEVER! For most men it will never happen. But a transformed man is already up where he wants to be in life. Jesus has lifted him to sit in “heavenly places“, so worldly success is just an extra perk. A perk that he can take or leave at the drop of a dime. Titles mean very little to him. Success isn’t his goal. Like Paul, he counts all that stuff to be animal feces (yes, Paul said that) in comparison to knowing and being known by Christ. Because these words continue to resonate with this kind of man: “Follow Me.” Here’s my point:
Transformed men invite women into their lives when they haven’t achieved success. Why wait? They invite women into their lives to share the journey. Hardships and all. And no difficulty, hardship, or trial dealing with job, career, or finances will be able to derail him from caring for, listening to, and actively engaging with his significant other (and his family). Something (or Someone) drives all men. But it’s not always the same thing.
Some men ask Jesus to take the wheel, but won’t even let him in the car. Real transformed men invite him in the car. Not only that, they hop in the back seat and follow him. And if we’re being honest, these men are passengers with very little direction. Just hanging onto two words: “Follow me.” But given the speaker’s track record, that’s all the direction they need.