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.


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