By Mike Short
The most deadly poison of our times is indifference. – St. Maximilian Kolbe
Indifference. Passivity. Failure to engage. These are all terms which describe disordered masculine inclinations since the beginning. The other side of the same coin shows itself as aggression and domination.
The book of Genesis describes this age old masculine problem when Adam failed to protect his bride from falling for the lies of the Serpent. The situation is described in the NAB as Adam was present with Eve, and stood by to allow the Serpent to engage her instead of protecting her from harm and lies. When he fails at his masculine duty, the fall occurs.
We all tend to struggle with one end of the spectrum or the other, but rarely encounter what true sacrificial masculinity looks like, unless of course you spend time gazing upon a crucifix. I have battled with the inclination of passivity in relationships within my family and with others. I can easily bury myself in distractions like my phone or just want to be left alone after a long stressful day at work.
Over the past 10 years, fitness has helped me slowly reclaim proper masculine tendencies. When I joined the SWAT team my perspective on fitness changed and I found the desire to continually improve my level of physical preparedness because my teammates relied on me and I needed to give myself the best chance of coming home to my family after high stress operations.
Besides making improvements physically, this decision had an unexpected change in the underlying struggle with my tendency towards passivity. By making a decision and becoming intentional about my health, my will began to be reshaped.
I can remember when I began my wellness journey I would often do really intense workouts in my garage gym by myself. I would draw the attention of neighbors as I ran down the street with both arms extended overhead while holding a barbell, or would be seen doing sprints up and down the sidewalk only to be interrupted by a series of burpees.
I had to confront the decision and make an act of the will before I walked out to the garage and turned up the music to start a workout. As I continued to repeatedly make this decision to enter the battle in my garage it became easier to engage as a leader within other parts of my life.
Through a decision to get to the gym or throw on some sneakers for a run, we are helping to unite our will with our intellect. We know that taking care of our bodies is good, but conforming our will and acting on that knowledge is where the rubber hits the road. I was able to build a habit of fitness in my life which helped foster the ordered masculine traits of commitment, strength, and sacrifice.
The enhancement of these traits seeped into the relationships which needed that nourishment. I began to be able to avoid hiding in my phone and other distractions and encounter my family who are in desperate need of my strength and sacrificial leadership.
So, if you find yourself in the rut of indifference and passivity or aggression and domination, decide today to begin your wellness journey and see for yourself how physical strength can translate to true masculine strength.
A real man is one who rejects passivity, accepts responsibility, leads courageously, and expects the greater reward, God’s reward. – Dr. Robert Lewis