This past October, we once again had our Man-Up Retreat. During this event middle school-aged guys and their father figures, are invited to spend their weekend together having fun and studying biblical manhood. It’s always a blast and all usually leave exhausted! During this year’s main session, we looked at the story of Theodore Roosevelt traveling down the River of Doubt in South America. The purpose of digging into this perilous journey was to look into how a believer should approach and trek through challenges. Each of the students was asked about one of the most challenging things they’ve ever been through. The answers were what you would expect from guys that have only had 11-13 years of life experience. There were a few sincere answers—like a challenging season in school, and some silly ones—like making their bed. After these answers, we asked the men that were present. Then the answers were from a much more wise perspective and were able to set up the next question—What was it like to make it through those challenges? We talked about strength gained, lessons learned, and how relationships with God were shaped. As we sat around the fire we were all able to listen to these stories and experiences and gain for ourselves the wisdom that they earned. The Bible instructs us to lead, grow, and invest in others. Sharing our stories is an invaluable way of building up others around us and glorifying what God has done for us.
What is the most challenging thing you’ve ever been through?
Whatever it is, you made it through and you grew. The lessons we learn through life have been valuable to us, but there is a value that we may not have fully realized. We all have stories to share that can be a blessing, an encouragement, a warning, a moment of insight to others around us. You’ve seen God work in your life through many challenges, and we have many younger people in our church who could gain so much from what you can share.
I’d encourage you to think about how God has brought you to where you are today. Think about those around you who may be just approaching their most difficult seasons and think about how you can build them up.
A big part of “manning up” (or “womanning up” depending on who’s reading) is to be able to face a challenge—or a trial—and be able to “count it as joy.” With this, we can help bring others along.