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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Wild at Heart {Recommended Reading}

I don't claim to be an avid reader by any stretch. Actually, that's not true. I'm not an avid book reader. Blog posts? Love 'em. Magazine articles less than 6 pages? Sign me up. Anything photography related with a couple diagrams thrown in? I'm your guy. But when it comes to books, my attitude has generally remained the same since 4th grade... the fewer the pages and the bigger the pictures, the better the odds are I'll actually finish it. And those kinda books have gotten me to where I'm at so far. Those that know me are probably thinking, 'Hmmm... yah, that explains a lot.' Well, I finally agree.

I've seen patterns in my life lately that are difficult for me to wrap my head around, and these are opportunities for growth. We all have things we struggle with, and for me personally those things have hindered where I want to go and what I want to do with my life, and I'm trying to address those things and grow beyond them. Through the grace of God, I'll get there one day.

I don't want the blog to become a soapbox or a platform for me to preach, but every once in a while I experience or see things that I think can really help people, and I want to share those things. Enter Wild at Heart by John Eldridge. This book was given to me by someone special quite a while ago, someone who knew better than I did that this book could help me. I picked it up at one time or another on several occasions but never really committed myself to reading it, always putting it off telling myself "I'll get to it some day'. We all know what happens to 'some day', and so it sat on the night stand collecting dust. A series of circumstances over the last week and a half have caused me to take a 2nd look. All I can say is I wish I'd read this book years ago. I'm only half way through it, but it's enough to know I'd recommend it to others.

Wild at Heart deals with every man's struggle to live a life that's real and meaningful and in the image that God created him to be. We as men are taught at an early age by society and even in most churches that we should strive to be "really nice guys". If you think about it, almost every image you have ever seen of Jesus (maybe with the exception of the movie The Passion of the Christ) is one of a perfectly pleasant looking man with a mild and accepting demeanor. In reality, while Christ may have been this way, he was also very much a warrior and a protector demonstrating strength and passion. This is the image of God that most men - myself included - don't live up to. In fact, we're more afraid of what we're not and we will do almost anything to protect those insecurities. Ultimately in being molded into nice guys, we become bored and boring to others. Here's just a few lines form the book that really hit home with me.

"They may be misplaced, forgotten or misdirected, but in the heart of every man is a desperate desire for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue."

"We are hiding, every last one of us. Well aware that we, too, are not what we were meant to be, desperately afraid of exposure, terrified of being seen for what we are and are not, we have run into the bushes. We hide in our office, in the gym, behind the newspaper or computer, behind our personality. Most of what you encounter when you meet a man is a facade... an elaborate fig leaf, a brilliant disguise."

"The truth is, [we] feel like [we're] just bluffing our way through life and someday soon [we'll] be exposed as an impostor. ...Truth be told, most of us are faking our way through life. We pick only those battles we are sure to win, only those adventures we are sure to handle, only those beauties we are sure to rescue."

"Until a man knows he's a man he will forever be trying to prove he is one, while at the same time shrink from anything that might reveal he is not. Most men live their lives haunted by the question, or crippled by the answer they've been given."

"[As a result of their unhealed emotional wounds,] so many men feel stuck – either paralyzed and unable to move, or unable to stop moving."

"Are we willing to live the level of risk God invites us to? Something inside us hesitates."

These are just a few of so many statements that I have read and felt like this guy knew me. This book deals with discovering the essence of a man's soul and what it looks like to truly live as God intended us to live. If your not a spiritual person, I'm confident you'll still find this book intriguing and inspiring and helpful.

Finally, this quote from Albert Schweitzer is so simple and powerful to me - "The tragedy of life is what dies inside a man while he lives".

I encourage you to pick up a copy today and see if you don't learn something about yourself, or ladies in your case, something about your man.

And now, back to regular scheduled programming.


mize15 said...

since you're on a roll, when you finish, it's also rec'd to read the girly version, "Captivating" by who other than John's wife Stasi, (and for the girls to read W@H). It's supposed to "complete the picture"... still not thru W@H so can't tell you if it works or not! And yes, I do believe in you!

Snapshot said...

My husband and I have had this conversation many times, and now we are having it with our almost 17 year old son....
There is nothing more appealing to a woman than a confident, passionate, convicted man of God. Finding God's beauty in your life is sometimes a difficult struggle, but well worth the effort and time.
I don't know the struggles you are having, but I'm praying God grant you with peace and wisdom as your life moves forward.
Thanks for sharing.

melissa said...

I love your photography and now I love your genuiuneness and willingness to be open!!! My husband read this book and love it also. From what I have heard it's definitely a MUST READ! We will only find out who we are (or can be) if we search ourselves and our heart. Thanks for sharing!

Schrode said...

Bro - I, too, have this book....somewhere.....collecting dust a gift from my prayer-warrior mother. I will need to dig it out now :)

We need to talk bro.... I will be calling you tonight!

- Schrode

Patrick said...


Just what I needed right now. I guess I'm off to the book store very soon.

Thank you

Paige said...

YES, "captivating" is an amazing book! I read it, and hubby read "wild at heart" and it changed him as well. Thanks for getting on your soapbox and sharing.

april said...

I've been looking for something for my DH and I to read. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I read this book so I could have a better understanding of my husband and what he faces daily. I have also read "Captivating" and it was life changing.

Stephanie L

Rita said...

The quote by Albert Schweiter is so powerful, Its so true. I have captivating, I need to read it. like you I have few books I want to read right now. need more time...Im reading a heart ablaze by John Bevere right now, I just started but it had me in tears the first chapter, i know it will be life changing. Ill keep you posted.

Melissa Jill :) said...

Great post...any chance you're single? :)