Are You a Man, or a Man-Child?

In today’s world, it seems like there are fewer and fewer true men and more and more man-children.

What do I mean by a man-child?

A man-child is someone who is an adult by age, but not in maturity.  He could be 25, 30, or even 40 years old.  He could be married, have children, and a career.  None of this means he is a man.

He constantly complains about his status in life but does nothing to improve it.  He blames everyone else for all his problems and takes zero responsibility for his actions.  He’s much more likely to watch porn and play video games than read a book or create something new.  He whines and complains whenever something doesn’t go his way.

His wife “wears the pants”.  He needs her to plan his schedule.  She picks out his clothes and he always has to “check with the boss” before planning anything with his friends.  He complains she never has sex with him but he’s let himself go and gained 40 pounds.  He can’t go up a flight of stairs without breathing heavily.  He’s not the man of the household, he’s another child for her to take care of. 

He’s not a leader.   His wife doesn’t respect him.  His words mean nothing to his children because he doesn’t live them out himself.  The only version his children ever see of him is when he’s “tired” or needs to “relax”.  Instead of spending quality time with them on the weekends, he bounces around craft breweries while talking to all his buddies about his fantasy football team.  

He’s in a job he hates.  He constantly complains about his boss and blames him for the situation he’s in.  He’s thousands in credit card debt from trying to live a lifestyle he can’t afford so he can present a picture of himself to the world that makes him feel like he’s accomplished something. Whenever he does something any normal grown-up would do, he posts a picture of it on social media with the caption, “adulting”.

He is depressed, anxious, and lashes out at his family for no reason.  He jerks off to porn daily just to escape from the overwhelming pressure of a life he hates.  He tips girls on OnlyFans to make himself feel like someone actually wants him.  

Does this sound like a man?

No.  He’s a man-child.

Might this man describe you? 

It sure used to describe me.  I was fat, lazy, depressed, addicted to porn, and certainly was not a leader.  

Unfortunately, this describes far too many men today.  You can blame society, feminism, or a whole number of things for it, but that just continues the problem.   

Ultimately the responsibility to grow from a man-child to a man lies with you.  

In order to turn my life around, defeat addiction, and become the man I should be, I had to be honest with myself.   I needed to stop blaming everyone else for the situation I was in and accept personal responsibility.  The consequences of my actions were mine to bear.  My life was in shambles and it was MY fault.  No one else’s.

Blame for your failures rests solely on you, but so does the power to fix it. 

Once you take responsibility for your lot in life, you realize you also have the ability to change your life.  

This is when you grow into a man instead of a man-child.

A man doesn’t complain because if something is not right in his life, it’s his fault and his responsibility to fix it.  He takes ownership of his failures and accepts the consequences of poor decisions.  He is regularly trying to learn from his past and create a better life.  Learning new skills and creating better habits have become a normal part of his life.  He reads books instead of wasting time on Netflix and social media.   He keeps fit and eats healthy and expects his family to do so as well.

He is the leader of his family.  He is the pastor of his family.  His wife and children follow his lead because he lives out the same values he expects of them.  His wife doesn’t nitpick him or baby him because she respects him.  She humbly submits to him and his plan because she trusts in him.  She can’t keep her hands off of him because he allows her to embrace her femininity instead of having to lead the family for him.

His children respect and obey him.  He doesn’t expect anything of them that he wouldn’t expect of himself.  He spends quality time with them, teaching them his values instead of letting the internet teach them.  

He’s financially secure.  He lives below his means and avoids debt.  He’s building a life and career that is not beholden to a corporate entity.  Money is used to make more money and buy freedom and security, not to buy more stuff.  

He got help for his emotional issues.  Instead of running from the pain in his life he embraced it and overcame it.  He broke the bonds of sexual addiction by recognizing and treating the wounds it was covering up instead of self-medicating them with porn.

This man is living the Biblical disciplines of a Godly man.  As the Apostle Paul instructed the Corinthian men to be in 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, he is on guard, firm in his faith, strong, courageous, and loving.  He acts like a MAN.

This is what the world needs men to be.  Far too many men are stuck in perpetual childhood and never grow up. 

We need leaders, not followers.  We need men to take responsibility, not deflect blame.  We need men who keep their minds and bodies strong, not destroy them with simple pleasures.  We need fathers and husbands, not another kid in a man’s body.  We need teachers, fighters, protectors, pastors, and creators.  We need MEN.

So I challenge you brothers, as I challenge myself, be a man, not a man-child.

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Published by Timothy Reigle

I’m Timothy Reigle, the founder of Into The Wilderness Ministries. After overcoming a fifteen year addiction to porn and sex, I have made it my life’s mission to help other men break free from the bonds of addiction. As an author, coach, and chaplain, I work with men to transform their lives by renewing their faith, re-energizing their families, and restoring their masculinity.

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