As I sit here getting ready to type out this article, I have a million thoughts and questions running through my head. So much so that I contemplated waiting until another time to write it or write enough to just get by. Questions like: “Who is going to read this?”, “Where should I begin on the topic?”, “How detailed should I be?”, or “How long should the article be?”, just to name a few. This process could be regarding any project that I might be working on to what is going on in a personal relationship, especially my marriage or my kids. Why am I always over-thinking things to the point that I don’t even begin? Where did this come from?
Am I the only guy that does this? I don’t think that is true, as a matter of fact, I know that it is not true. If you struggle like I do, don’t be alarmed as it is natural. Yes, we can get in trouble for not coming through for others, or feel trapped trying to reach for “something more”, but we don’t have to be stuck in it.
What we are talking about is passivity. Merriam-Webster defines passive as “tending not to take an action or dominant part.” My lack of action or being a dominant part is what had defined my life for so long. It was that one thing that had kept holding me back from becoming the man God wants me to be.
Once I knew what passivity was, I could see how pervasive it had become in certain areas of my life as well as what I saw in my friends’ and clients’ lives. I so wish that it was easy to see as black or white, but found out over the years that it is more of a variety of grays and different shades of gray. Not only was passivity infiltrated into all my areas of weakness, I had found that it was creeping like a virus into my areas of strength.
Passivity has been with mankind since Adam and Eve. Yet through Christ’s death for our sins — including our passivity — we’re able to be new men and can be set free. This allowed me some grace, something God gives us a ton but we never give any to ourselves. He knows what we are trying to accomplish and is willing to give us grace, but Satan also knows what we are trying to accomplish and will do everything in his power to stop us.
When we were children playing make-believe heroes, no one of us ever wanted to be cast the armor bearer who sits idly holding the reins or cleaning the knight’s weapons. We all wanted to be the knight who wins the battle and rescues the beautiful damsel in distress. This should be the same for our life, after all, other than God we are the major character in this epic tale and many of us are tired of casting ourselves as the armor bearer.
Except we can’t start out being the knight. In order to become a knight, we first had to become a page, then a squire, and then we become a knight. In order to become a page we had to be selected by an existing knight of noble birth, usually an uncle or relative, at a young age to train under him. Fortunately for us, Jesus has chosen us to be His pages. We are of noble birth and grafted into His Kingdom.
As a page, we learn to do the small things that are desired by our knight. Gradually as we get older and understand our responsibilities, we get ushered into the role of a squire. This graduation from page to squire means that we have a greater role and responsibilities. But we get to learn the art of combat from our knight.
The same metaphor applies as you learn to crawl towards engaging in the areas your passivity was residing before learning to walk. Once you have the crawling lesson down, you graduate to learning how to walk in that particular area of engaging and ridding yourself further of passivity in that area. With each step, you gain more and more confidence in your abilities until you could turn the walking strides into short sprints and ultimately on your way to running long distances.
Don’t expect to become a marathon runner in all areas where passivity had taken hold, but in certain areas you will make passivity a thing of the past. Unfortunately, rendering passivity completely obsolete will be a life-long battle. However, you will slowly remove the areas within your life where you’re belly surfing because passivity is still the dominant force but set a goal and work with God towards accomplishing it. Rendering passivity obsolete isn’t going to be an overnight success. There are other issues standing in the way — more mental than physical.
About the Author: Jim Snyder, MA, LPC
Jim received his Masters of Arts in Counseling from Colorado Christian University. Afterwards he relocated to North Carolina following God’s call to help.
Jim has a specialty in sexual integrity counseling, including helping men and women get free from sexual addiction, pornography and the problems associated with it.
Jim has written a book on overcoming masculine passivity entitled, Resurrection of Your Inner Hero: Rendering Passivity Obsolete. Jim also started a new blog on what it means for men to have sexual integrity at masculinesexualintegrity.org.
Send Jim a confidential email at Jim.Snyder@ExpeditionaryCounseling.com or give him a call at 704-200.9343