Fully Man | Tou Mua: The Created Man


Tou Mua is currently attending Simpson University in Redding, California, and is in his last semester of his undergrad career. He will be graduating this May with  a Bachelor's Degree in Cross-Cultural Studies. He is originally from Chico, California, but currently resides in Redding with his wife, Jessica, and their two cats, Kiki and Mojo. I've known Tou for a couple of years and have seen the ways he carries a heart passionate for the lost and instills purpose and community into those he interacts with. His intentionality to serve, care for, and celebrate those around him offers inspiration, hope, and guidance. I am so incredibly thankful to know Tou and the following is his essay answering the question When was the moment you realized you were becoming a man.

Hello Friends, 

I am excited to be a part of this Fully Man Series and share with you all about the moments that helped me realize when I was becoming a man in a world where navigating through manhood and adulthood is a challenge that all men face. I hope that through my sharing with you all about my personal experiences and thoughts, it will encourage and provide you a perspective to shape your thoughts and views of manhood within your very own lens. Before I dive into sharing with everyone about my journey so far in becoming a man and what it has looked like for me, I would like to attempt to provide you all a framework of my views and thoughts of what it means to be a man with the hope that it will help you to best understand where I am coming from. 

When I ask myself, "When was the moment I realized that I was becoming a man?", it would be difficult to pinpoint any given time in my life where I crossed over from boyhood to manhood, and childhood to adulthood. We can define manhood by someone's age. but I am not speaking in terms that are defines by time. What I am wanting to share and focus on are the intangibles and what goes on internally that produces what is external. So my point is, I did not necessarily reach manhood and adulthood the moment I turned eighteen years old or when I got married. The process of life is not always as clear-cut and defined as the expectations of society. But society's expectations and assumptions can be used for good as something that pushes and encourages our growth and who we become. 

In our world, we all generally want to meet life's expectations. We want to graduate from high school; then graduate from college around twenty two years-of-age; have a career; get married and maybe have kids. What is good about this is that it gives us a timeline of events that should take place, telling us where we should be in our personal lives. There is a reason why this timeline of events exists; it works and provides results for the greater good of society and human wellness. Although it may appear good for society, is this process that we go through-- from the perspective of a man-- beneficial to out general view of manhood? Because what about the men who have not been very successful in achieving life goals, or have the worldly desires of masculinity?

One concern that has always been an issue for men is: what does it take to be a man and what is a man? Do you instantly become a man the moment you lose your virginity? Move out from your parent's home? Or when you get married? There are many questions, and loaded questions at that. But they are relative and valid questions that we have all faced at one time or another. I think that the most simple way to address these questions has to first be a matter of where you stand between God's image and view of man, and the world's view. When we are focused on the qualities of manhood in the eyes of society, I believe that we all come to discriminate against all men whether they are a "man" or not. Because not all men are equally intelligent, handsome, charming, or financially stable. To view and compare men with one another in the same light can be disabling. And what is even more detrimental is when men project the world's and society's expectations onto themselves. To say that to be a man, or more "manly", one has to be a certain height and have a certain amount of strength is not reality. Even if that were true, then do we transition out of manhood when we are too old to be able to care for ourselves?

When we focus on how God views and created men, I think that there is a personal revelation of what it takes to be the man that we were created to be. We all have our own journeys to make and adventures to experience, and I don't think that God made us unique just for the sake of being different from one another, but to also express diversity. The paths that we take and experience will be different. Society is a cookie-cutter producer of men. God's view of man produces those who pay attention to the needs of the things that are in front of them, to steward and cultivate something that has very little to something greater. When we experience this kind of understanding, we come to comprehend the process of manhood and how deep it really is to be a man.

For someone who has had a love-hate relationship with his earthly father, I struggled to understand what it means to be a man for the majority of my lifetime. I grew up having a strong dislike for my dad because of the manly qualities that were lacking in him from my own personal view. I was critical of him in every way of what a "man" was supposed to be. But the issues that I had with him were filtered through the lens of society and not the lens of God. I tried my best to separate myself outwardly from my dad as much as possible which caused me to ignore what was needed to internally take place in order to sustain the man I wanted to become. I was so concerned with the results and exterior side of manliness that I became ignorant of the substance that is needed in a man. It wasn't until I came to Christ that I came to truly understand one aspect of what it takes to be a man: responding to our life's purpose and leading with what we have.

So to answer when were the moments that made me realize that I was becoming a man, the results are all that has taken place, such as when I moved out of my parents home and paid rent for the first time; buying my first car; and getting married, to serve as some examples. These results stem from the moments that I had decided to take responsibility in being able to care for my own life and ultimately caring for those that are around me. There has been good fruit in helping me realize how I have come as a man, but in life we are always learning and I do not think that we ever stop growing. Stepping out to learn and care for myself came with many struggles, but even in those struggles I probably leaned most of becoming a man by how I responded. We all have our own struggles on the daily, so how we respond to life is instrumental to who we become through those obstacles. 

To the brothers out there who struggle with and wonder whether they are man enough in this world, do not let any one or anything distract you from the fact that you are already a man. We are intrinsically already men-- know that. It is only a matter of how we respond to and lead our own lives in how we are gifted and blessed. When we hone in on what we have and what is in front of us, then we can make the most out of what has been gifted to us. Know what God has for you as a man and a child of His so that you can become who you were created to be.

You can reach out to Tou by following him on Facebook here.

Fully Man | Shane Geer: A Story on Seeking


Shane Geer is a fellow 2nd Year student at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BBSM). He is from Southern California, but considers Redding, California, home. I first met Shane while we were both students at Simpson University, where he graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science in 2019. I currently work with Shane and am in the same Revival Group for 2nd Year and it has been a marvel to see how God has been radically impacting, growing, and transforming  his life! To experience the covering Shane offers in safety, trust, and freedom is an honor to know and to see the ways he has gone after the face of Jesus has the power to break chains and renew minds. The following is Shane's take on When was the moment you realized you were becoming a man? 


Let me tell you a story. I was a wee lad tottering around getting into all sorts of messes. I would blunder around joyfully with not a care in the world despite the walls that were collapsing around me. These days of careless joy and unbridled imagination were quickly being suffocated by the turmoil I was surrounded by. The times that I would try and have fun and laugh were met with glaring eyes and pain staked faces. I quickly had to learn to grow up in order to no longer face the rejection from hurting people. People who knew nothing aside from survival, no matter the cost-- be it their heart or others being lost.

Growing up quickly wasn't that bad though, at least when I would compare it to the troubles others had. I had to learn not to smile in order to not get beat, while others had to figure out where they were going to eat. I had to learn that men don't cry, while others had to learn how to keep warm at night. I had to learn that families normally break up, while others had to learn dead family members don't wake up. You see son, I had a lot of blessings: food in my belly and a roof over my head to name a few, but, you see son, those things just won't do. I was starving for emotional connection and a place I could call home, because growing up I still felt empty and alone. 

Home. Such an interesting phrase, not something determined by a space, but rather something shared by those who love the sight of your face. I had for so long searched for meaning and identity through performance and ambition that I didn't know what it was like to be loved for the person I was made to be. Thankfully the LORD finally made me see His shining face and the love He had for me. As I slowly fell in love with the Man hung on a tree, I kept retuning to the poison my past had for me. I thought the key to life's glee was simply self-rejection and misery. You see I had heard so often, "work hard now, so you can play hard later" or "dreams don't come for free" that I forgot to live the life that was right in front of me. Thankfully the grace and mercy of my creator is enough for me and still fought for me despite my failings or lack of intimacy. 

Intimacy, into-me-you-see. The thing I lack because I don't want people to see into me. Being told I was too loud, too rambunctious, too obnoxious, too much. Too much, the opposite of not enough. Rather I must live a life that is tempered and tamed in order to be named, beloved. Beloved the name that the LORD has called me because Shane, is actually the same name as John just derived through the Irish rendition Sean. Beloved, a much loved person, whom God seemed to choose despite the imperfections. The imperfections that make up the perfection. The perfection declared by God because He spoke it into being. He spoke me into being. The being that is not too loud, rambunctious, obnoxious, or TOO MUCH. How can the infinite God be burdened by too much? He says that it is not enough to have a life that has been snuffed. He wants a life broken free from the chains of achieving and deceiving. Achievement marked by deception. Deception that one could find the fullness of perfection by striving. By working. By fighting.

Instead intimacy was bought for me by the Man who hung on a tree. In order to allow me to see the brokenness all throughout me. To surrender up the misery and striving. To find joy in the abiding. Joy and peace that allows me to be fully me. The fullness of identity found in the creation He made me to be. No tempered glee or barred off intimacy, but rather freedom to be loved and to love me. 

Son, do not forsake the depth you have, nor the experiences you have been handed. You are beautiful. Son do not allow others to define the characteristics the good LORD gave you. You are beautiful. Son do not allow yourself to throw away the pieces of your heart that seem to be unwanted. You are beautiful. Being a man is not about growing up, moving out, getting a job, or providing for a family. It is about recognizing the beauty the LORD has created in you and through you. It  is about providing a burnt offering and receiving the fullness of His glory. It is about being a man who's willing to hang on a tree to bring intimacy to those who have still not seen.

Yours Truly,
The Beloved

You can follow Shane on Instagram here

Fully Man | Derek Drake: Man Enough


Above: Derek, his wife, and their two little chickadees! I am so excited to introduce to you Derek Drake, who I have known to be a very talented, inspiring, and authentic friend and co-worker. It is a marvel to know him and the ways in which he makes space for people to be completely who God created them to be. Derek is originally from Arizona, but moved to Redding, California, in 2019. He graduated with his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Christian Studies, and is currently pursuing his Master's degree in Psychology. I am so grateful that I get to share Derek's story as he answers the question when was the moment you realized you were becoming a man.

I am excited to share a little bit about a process that will impact and change your life as you continue on in this journey called manhood. Being a father of two kids, I want to share a little bit of my personal journey and speak into your life. There is a need for fathers to truly speak real and true identity into their sons and daughters. As a father, I hope to share something that will resonate as truth to you.

So, manhood. I actually have hated this word for a long time because to me this word meant rejection, inadequacy, inferiority, and weakness. Those were the lenses in which I saw myself when it came to talking about manhood. By nature, I am a very creative and sensitive man and these character traits go against what the world says is "manly." So the first point, real manhood actually looks like embracing all the unique things about your personality, appearance, and character. The world and even other people will try to say you must look strong, deny emotions, work with your hands, play sports, remain hard-hearted, and dominate in social environments. This could not be further from the truth. There is a world that needs the real you to show up. There are sons and daughters actually looking for men who will make space for others to show up authentically and it starts with you. This truth has taken me several years to embrace, but having really great friends in my life who see and know me have helped me understand this, in addition to, the relationship I have cultivated with the best Father in the entire world: God. 

It does not matter whether you identify with being some rough, rugged, outdoorsy man, or a tender-hearted creative. What matters MOST is that you show up as you in every environment. For example, for me, it meant that I had to embrace the fact that I am not a sports guy, so I did not try to make myself become that, but I embraced the parts of me that allowed me to come alive. Secondly, real manhood looks like processing through trauma and pain to find healing and become a whole man in Christ. You are not exempt from experiencing pain and going through hard things. The reality is, you have probably already experienced some pain and trauma. The world and others will tell you to white-knuckle it, keep going, or ignore it, but this will actually cause an infection that will also infect many of the people around you, even those you really love. It does not matter what you have experienced or gone through, it does not change the fact that you are still beautifully and wonderfully made. 

I was sexually abused as a child and also grew up around physical and emotional abuse between my parents. This pain and trauma had spent years telling how unfit for manhood and life I was. Shame was my best friend. I kept all the pain inside and pretended it was not there, but watched it rot inside of me in plain sight. This pain and trauma caused so much anger, confusion, self-hatred, and a lack for zeal for life in general. The most manly thing I ever did was go though counseling, share my story, and let people love me through this pain. You can do it too! You are not a victim to your past, struggles, or trauma. You will be able to overcome it because there is a King, Friend, Son, Savior, and Love who overcame everything just to be with you. 

Lastly, real manhood looks like loving people well and letting others love you. Typically amongst men, love seems to be a mystery and some facet of life that is confused with merely sexual encounters and multiple relationships. Ultimately, this type of living will continue to leave you empty. This is not God's design for your life for cultivating relationships, no matter how many people encourage or affirm your sexual experiences. You will one day find a spouse whom you will treasure far beyond their physical beauty and this aspect of intimacy will continue on in your marriage until death. 

Real friendship in your life will be marked by the way in which you are known by others and seek to know them. The conversations you have with your community of friends will need to extend beyond the surface level of sports talk, the weather, or all of your personal accomplishments (although those are important and should be celebrated). Real manhood will invite you to be courageous, vulnerable, and transparent in your conversations with others. This will mean that the walls and barriers will have to come down. This means that your heart will be on display. Scary? I know right! But, you will find that being known and knowing others is one of the most liberating feelings you will experience. 

Now, I know that this sounds like a lot. This may even sound impossible or extremely foreign to you, but let me encourage you. One of my greatest joys of being a father has always been watching my kids learn something new. I think about them taking their first step, learning to feed themselves, learning to use the potty, saying their first word, or simply tying their shoes. They did not automatically know how to do these things, they had to try everyday and they relied heavily on my love and support to guide them. They did not give up because they saw how confident and affirming I was of them throughout the process. They DID get frustrated and cry or get angry in the process, which even then, I acknowledged. But, when they finally got the hang of it, the excitement and confidence it gave them was a feeling that outweighed how difficult it was in the beginning. It meant they were growing and, as a father, I was so proud to see and be with them throughout the process. 

Our Father feels this exact way about us x10000000000000000. He is calling us to be the men that He created us to be everyday. He sticks around for the process and celebrates every little and big victory. Take heart, God's got this and you are man enough! 

Love you!

Derek currently does not have any social media, but you can find him on LinkedIn. He also is a vocal coach of his very own business called DrakeVoice, which you can check out here. Derek also self-published a devotional for sale on Amazon called Rooted: Growing in God's Word Through Hardship, which you can buy here. If you'd like to send Derek an encouraging word, please comment on this post or send him a private message on his LinkedIn account.

My Favorite part of being 25


A year ago during my 25th birthday party, one of my friends asked me if I had a favorite moment during my 24th year of life. After a few minutes of going through that past year, I was able to remember that I had one moment in particular that happened during 1st Year of BSSM. Eric Johnson, one of the lead pastors at Bethel, had come to speak to the 1st Year class in the Civic Auditorium in Redding, California, and he shared how 2018 had been the worst year of his life. Throughout his sermon, I could feel and understand the turmoil and introspection he went through. It was pain and his journey healing from it. I remember earlier that exact day thinking our minds are powerful. We give ourselves so much power. This thought describes 2018, for me. 

After Eric had finished speaking, he did an alter call for repentance and stepping into learning how to let go and, because it was 1st Year, everyone went up-- including me. SO many people had gotten up that there wasn't enough room to go any further than standing in the aisles. I knew that I couldn't stay long because I had an Advanced Ministry Track (AMT), which was the last class session of the trimester and I really did not want to miss it, but my heart was heavy. Since there was so much of us that had stood up, Eric told us to sit where we were standing and he led us into an encounter to do one thing: to let go. I processed 2018 with the Holy Spirit and he revealed things that I had pushed aside and covered up. 

While sitting there on the floor letting Jesus do what He was doing inside of me. (SIDE NOTE: As I'm sitting her writing this, I feel the weightiness of His glory and the intentionality of His heart.) After a good amount of time, some people were being ministered to, others were leaving because the session had gone past the class time. I didn't know what time it was, so I decided to make my way to class. I arrived to the classroom, which was in the same building and I found a free seat and waited for class to start, but I couldn't stop thinking about what God was doing inside my heart. After a few minutes, one of my friends from my RG came in. I heard my name and I looked up and the moment my friend saw my face, he walked straight to me and hugged me. I started crying and he asked me what was wrong and I said, "This is the last session and I don't want to miss out. but what Eric was talking about today really hit me hard." To which he responded, "If God wants to be with you right now, I don't think you're missing out." I nodded realizing that I had to leave class in order to press into what God wanted me to face. 

So I took my friends advice and decided to leave. I walked out of the Civic and noticed that there were still people in the main auditorium. I made my way to my car, and sat there. I cried and cried and I realized that I had to forgive myself. I had to go through moments with the Holy Spirit that He wanted me to acknowledge in order to submit my heart, mind, and soul to, but it was painful. To admit that I had control over myself and allowed MYSELF to think and live a certain way wasn't easy. I had convinced myself of the thoughts and lies that I had assumed was right about who I was. I HATED, H-A-T-E-D, HATED myself. I wanted to throw everything I was out the window. I was scared, disappointment, hurt, and broken. And that's when His love came in-- or the realization that He was there the entire time. I sat in my car letting Christ redeem and fill all of me that needed to be repaired. That day was one of the most hardest moment of my life. To have compassion and grace for myself...

That was my favorite moment being 24-- I forgave myself. I decided to let Jesus define who I am and repent for thinking otherwise. He calls me daughter and beloved. 

Now being 26(!!!) on February 4th, I ask myself what was my favorite moment being 25?

It took me awhile because 2020 seemed to be a liftetime, but my favorite moment being 25 were the moments I spent with Jesus. Very often I would think and dream of going to a secluded cabin in the mountains or along the coast just to be alone with Him. His presence is and always will be my favorite parts. Please know the importance of spending time communing with Him in our day-to-day tasks is important-- in the mundane, such as making dinner, brushing my teeth, driving, cooking-- making room and spending time with Him is where I long to be, but setting those specific moments dedicated to looking at His face and praising Him is so necessary!! TO KNOW HIM!

A few days come to mind. I think of the day I decided to redo 2nd Year, how I picked up my passion for reading again, learning what it means to be human, or going after things that make me come alive. But one day in particular was the first day that 2nd Year BSSM got to worship together under the tents for the first time in 2021. Last year, when most of everything was closed, I started to miss corporate worship. I felt that each voice in the room was a single drop of water that when put together, it becomes a waterfall-- roaring and shaking the air. That is what happened when we came together (with masks and maintaining 6-feet-apart, of course). Hearing and being in the room with others who are hungry for the Lord made me think This is what we're made for. We are made for community and communion with our King Jesus. He is holy and worthy. There is a fire in my heart for more of our King and He is faithful to answer the cry of our hearts! 

A lot has happened this past year and, with every year I grow older, my greatest wish is that I grow tethered and deeply more in love with my love, best friend, and Heavenly Father. I hope it's filled with more connection with other sons and daughters, new experiences, a living and fresh breath of God, and deeper revelation of a renewed mind, love, peace, and power! There is still so much more that I'm learning and I am so excited for what this additional year on my life will hold. Often times, when I let the reality of being 26 sink into my mind and heart, all that stirs is hope and excitement, which is kinda scary, but I just hope that I take and step into those risks! In other words, pray for me! Here's to 26 and thank you for reading!

With All That I Am,


Fully Man | Anonymous: Truth Through the Ragged Machismo


I am so excited to share the 2nd essay to the Fully Man Series. This man is a dear friend, who has ask to remain anonymous, but I will say that he has impacted my life and continues to inspire me to dream and dream bigger. He understands the journey of creativity and the value of simplicity, realness, as well as moving forward no matter what life throws. I am grateful to see the ways he fights for people and the reality of Jesus. I am so honored to introduce to you his essay answering the question, When was the moment you realized you were becoming a man?

Dear Nephew,

It's about time we talk about healthy manhood. Of course, I don't have it all figured out. I know with each new chapter in life, I will be evolving and reestablishing my core ideals to my daily life. Yet one thing is to be certain; I will continue to be a man for Christ. Bear in mind with everything I'll say, volumes have been unpacked about these subjects. But I wrote this letter to begin a dialogue that I hope will continue throughout the years. 

Our immediate family has influenced us both. We've also been influenced by television and social media. Yet, society nor our family's presentation and expectations have always been the healthiest about manhood. In this letter, I'll be sharing about emotions, machismo, and my growth through my position as a Social Worker.

You will experience sorrows in life, as we all do, and you, too, will make poor choices and struggle with guilt, shame, and insecurities. To have breakthrough, you will have to confront the darkest parts of yourself, the parts that feel unlovable. You'll have to become brave and choose to love yourself and forgive yourself. To allow people near your heart, to esteem you and give council. And it's ok if sorrowful feelings continue to resurface throughout your life. That won't make you less of man. It's natural that your body and mind recall past pains. You have permission to go through your process and to confide in others. 

We both have heard countless times the expressions of; "stop being a bitch." "you gay as fuck," and "man up." Don't belittle your emotions or allow others to, because they are ok and normal to have. I stress this because I was so used to desensitizing myself. Emotions are your body's indicators of how you feel about something. For emotions are also tied to our underlying belief system. Obviously, we get upset or happy because of how something vibes with us. 

As well, remember the difference between guilt and shame. Knowing the distinction between the two will increase your emotional intelligence. Guilt is feeling comprised for what we did. Shame is feeling comprised for what we have become. Shame stings more, having that inward focus emphasizing what is wrong with ourselves. If you ever get stuck with lingering negative feelings, I charge you with the reality that you are loved. I hope you will remember that your chapters in life eventually end and start anew. Soon enough, you will have a new chapter of life. If you choose to learn from your past, then it doesn't have to define you or dictate your future. 

In our Hispanic culture, you have experienced the unachievable and straining "machismo," which is aggressive masculine pride. From my experience, I believe machismo is an overcompensation towards the anxiety and strife in life. It also doesn't help that we both grew up in a community hurting from gangs. As a child, attempting to understand what manhood is and how I will be leading myself, I naturally took to the Mexican gang mentality.

Our Hispanic community tells us that males are headstrong and that we are to safeguard public opinion: that no one disrespects us. As we both saw, that can get out of hand pretty quick. Machismo is a one dimensional way of thinking. The machismo mentality solely focuses on not looking weak. I was trying to contain myself into a one-dimensional persona that strived to look strong.

Yeah, you could unwind after gaining a reputation and some hood stripes. But, I'm better off and stronger as a multi-dimensional person (educated, culturally aware, traveler, etc.) Thankfully, I was able to mature from this distorted way of thinking by asking the fundamental questions of my identity and purpose. Believe me, after being on probation twice, house arrest for three months, along with all the court mandated classes and community service, that headstrong mentality was not the way to go about things.

Looking back, I observe that I filled into the maturity of manhood when I began working as a Social Worker for Adult Social Services in my local county. In this position, I walked to the darkest parts of society, and I was tasked to be a light, to be an uplifting hand. I met with people who were financially exploited, physically abused, mentally impaired, and so on. In that realm of work, I had to be an advocate. There was a saying, God makes all things work together for good. It's interesting how God made us of my old headstrong mentally, evolving it with to serve in this field. But I grappled to keep it in check.  

I almost got into fights with suspects several times, in which I had to do a de-escalation class. This position was pivotal because I had to work on my emotional health again because of stress. Not only that, I went through compassion fatigue from countless cases. I even dealt with getting emotionally jaded by becoming aware of the awful abuses that happened in my county. With everything I took part in, I love when justice is served.

You will have to forge yourself to be resilient so that you can enjoy the beauties in life. There is hope and masculinity outside of the narrow-minded view we were raised in. Machismo is not the answer to our identity; Jesus is. I leave you with a final resolve, to not fear suffering, but to find the wisdom you can gain from it. Every trial will mold you, so it's best to try to control your development during the shaping. I have become someone who contends, to be honest with myself and to communicate well with others. I'll continue to pursue wholesomeness. My goal is to live out integrity. My beloved nephew, consider regular reflection and self-discipline. For doing so, your emotions will make you a wiser and stronger man, leading you to make better choices. 

Much Love,
Your Uncle

Fully Man | Seth Moerkerke: To Be a Son


Seth is currently a 1st Year student at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM). Seth was born and raised in Montana, but calls North Dakota home, where he graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication with a minor in Leadership at Dickinson State University. I met Seth in City Service: Neighborhood Impact, which is a ministry program run by BSSM. I am so grateful to have met him and I am so excited for the ways God has and is using his life. Seth carries a mantel of peace and creativity and knows the depths of God's love for His children and the urgency as Heaven awaits for Sons and Daughters to know who they are! The Following is Seth's own words answering the question, "When did you realize you were becoming a man?"

Dear Seth,

I'm writing from the future because I want to help you answer a question that you will think about many times over in the next few years of your life. Due to the environments you will be in, and your own personal wrestling, you might feel lost in this process. And that's okay. This feels strange to be writing to you at such a young age, but I think you need to hear what I'm about to tell you. Though it might not seem like that big of a deal to you at 13, it's going to affect you, and I need you to have the peace and the strength to endure the journey ahead. 

The question I'm going to help you answer is: "What does it mean to be a man?"

I know you have a lot of ideas or images that pop in to your head when I ask you that question, and we'll work through those, but for now I just want to offer you the confidence that it's not as dangerous to become a man as you might think. Though the world around you might try to attack who you are, let me make it clear: becoming a man is who you are. Despite the magnitude of what you are feeling, this great adventure into your identity is not supposed to be as scary to step into as you feel. Though it's a dangerous road to walk, you were built for this dangerous road. Rest assured, you will become who God is leading you to be, you don't have to question that. 

Right now, in your head, being a man looks like a lot of different things: Mostly strong athletes known for their success in their chosen field, which is totally okay, and the men around you including your dad, your friends' dads and the teachers and coaches who've directed your steps thus far. Although these men share common characteristics (some good and some bad), none of them really look or act exactly the same, and I want you to remember that. It's okay to feel different at times. This phrase has been so water-down in your lifetime that you might just roll your eyes at another person making this statement, but I want you to actually believe it. Let the reality of those words wash over you: It's okay to feel different from the world around you. To be different is oftentimes scary. To be different means you will stand out. To be different means that you are an easy target. But it also means you are unlike any other person on earth-- a true wonder of the world! To be different means that God created you with specific dreams in His heart for you to fulfill. To be different means you can be confident in yourself. In fact, that's one of the marks of stepping into manhood: living in the satisfaction and security that you have been created uniquely and wonderfully by the Creator of the world, and that He has designed a specific purpose for you. At times you won't always believe this, and sometimes you won't even realize the authority that you carry in your day-to-day life, but to be secure in your identity as God's Son, and aware of your influence, is the call of you life. It's the only way things will function properly. It's the only way you will be who you truly are.

Also keep in mind that the characteristics of manhood presented to you by the world around you are oftentimes not aligned with who you truly are, and that's okay too. It will be hard at times to resist becoming the prototype that you see, or the man that others think you should be, but that's all part of the long walk to and through manhood. The difference between the men you admire and the men you should resist becoming is one thing: love. Self-love, at that. What you see produced in the world around you is a selfish type of "love." It's not really love at all, but a self-seeking type of maneuvering through the world. Often times, these men are hurting from their own wounds and they don't know how to heal. Someday you'll help them heal. But before that can happen you have to learn to live aligned with love. 

Most often times these poor characteristics will try to get you to question your whole identity. They will attack your sexuality, and try to get you to weaponize it, while at the same time shame you for questioning. This is not the Father's Way. He has spoken over your identity the word "Sonship." This means you don't have to have a certain sexual charisma or even sexual leaning in order to belong, for you already belong to the Father, and His words and thoughts are eternal. 

Your sexuality, and how you carry it, is not your identity.

Because of the nature of sexuality, and the attacks upon your internal confidence, shame is going to be one of the greatest hinderances to your ability to believe in the Father's love. I'm asking you, right now, to cut ties with the relationship you have with shame. Shame is a deceptive fellow. He always comes disguised in holiness and purity, but he's never been a friend, no matter how "comforting" or "protective" he's pretended to be over the years. He's an outright liar who works under the table, but hand-in-hand with the enemy, and he is trying to rot you from the inside.

This is the battle of your life: to actually believe that your Father loves you, through-and-through, in every situation, even the failures. This is something I'm learning right now, Seth, so don't feel bad if you struggle believing it for awhile! But promise me you will wake up everyday and clothe yourself in the Father's love and grace, trusting that there can never be a separation between Him and you. You are His beloved. Now be brave and believe it. 

These characteristics you look around and see in the world are also going to try to get you to question your power. They will make you feel like you are lacking because you don't have a certain look or proximity to the world's power. The world's characteristics will also whisper lies into your true power (the authority of God) to try to get you to dishonor and manipulate the world and the people around you for your own gain. This is not the Father's Way. He has spoken over your identity the word "Sonship" and this means it is already embedded into your nature to use your authority (power) to triumphantly war against evil and to also protect the world around you. It is in the core of who you are to protect and defend, don't ever let anyone make you feel ashamed for that. 

Your authority, and how you choose to wield it, is not your identity.

No matter how "big" they feel, sexuality and power are only parts of who you are-- they are not who you are. Both of them are influenced and shaped by your true identity. Neither of them can operate apart from your identity. Both of them are only functioning properly when they sit underneath and exist out of who you really are: a Son. 

I have to tell you the truth. It can be hard to stand up for things that you know are right, especially when you know the opposite is what provides the more comforting life. But you were not made for an easy life. You are a Son of the Most High God, and that is your everlasting identity. It's what He is always speaking and claiming over you. No one and no thing can take His words away, so it's your job to believe Him. 

Sonship looks different than the world's standards and prototypes of manhood. Sonship models its life after Jesus, the Anointed One, and relies solely on His Spirit, that is the Holy Spirit, for sustenance. Because of this daily devotion to the true King, a life bent towards Sonship will inevitable start to look like His life. Kindness, self-control, joy, peace, gentleness, love, patience, goodness, and confidently surrendered power are the fruits produced in the life of a Son.  These are the fruit that are being produced from your life. Don't worry if they don't always look like much. They are creating Life in the world, and Life cannot be falsely mimicked. It has to start as a seed, and it has to grow through the hard seasons of life. But in the end, Life is the only thing worth protecting.

To be honest, Seth, Sonship is a relatively new concept for us, as of this writing. Well, relatively new to 26 years of living, but new, nonetheless. But that doesn't stop the call for you right now! This is where your whole world needs to revolve around. I say "where" because living as a Son means living from a place in our heart and living as a Son affects every area of our life. Our heart is a protected city that we reside with our Father, placed within the depth of our being, and from this safe-city we move through the great adventure of life. This safe-city is the central focus of all the enemy's attacks upon your life. He's bent upon stealing your identity, and in the process destroying your soul and murdering your heart. Our enemy does not play fair, and he knows the authority that Sons have, so he will do everything he can do to infect you, disempower you, and shame you. But remember! What he says is never true, and to believe him is to invest your life into a lie rather than enfolding your life into your Father's loving hands. You must protect your identity at all cost! This is the highest charge I can give you, and the most noble thing you can do. It will impact your relationship with God, your relationship with people, your sense of purpose, the way you give and receive love, your ability to walk through failure securely, and your hope for each new day, despite the present circumstances. Never lose your identity.

You are a Son of God.

To be a Son is to stand in direct opposition of the demonic, the divisive, and the wicked masquerades brought on by the enemy and his friends.

To be a Son is to be a man. More importantly, to be a man is to be a Son.

To be a Son is who you are.

Let that wash over you, forever.

With all my love,
Seth Robert

P.S. Always remember; Sons Don't Struggle. This most certainly doesn't mean there will not be struggles and hardships along the journey, but true Sons know they have an Everlasting Father who is in charge of the world and in charge of their life. Sons rest securely in each new day, trusting that their Father knows what He is doing, and that they can come to Him with anything at any time. They don't run away or hide, because Kings don't run, and Kings are who we are. But we'll talk more about that soon.

You can follow Seth on instagram at @sethmoerkerke as well as @artsbyseth, where he shares creative pieces such as artwork and poetry. He also has his own blog called The Serpent and the Dove, which you can check out here. Seth mentioned that he is doing a social media fast, but he sends his reassurance that he will respond to any messages soon!

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