Beyond the Banter: Nothing to hide; nothing to fear; nothing to prove




The idea of becoming men who have nothing to hide, nothing to fear and nothing to prove is a theme developed by Morgan Snyder, one of the Senior Leaders of John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart organisation, in his online podcast ‘Become Good Soil’. (Home – Become Good Soil) As I’ve thought about those three phrases, I find I can identify with each of them to some degree.

I’m sure many of us have done or thought about things that we’d rather not admit to, and we’ve kept it hidden from others. It’s understandable. We want others to think well of us; we want to preserve our reputation or perhaps we’re just not ready or willing to admit to some failure in the past. It feels safer to hide it or bury it and try to move on.

Nelson Mandela believed that everyone should be treated the same, whatever the colour of their skin. That belief resulted in him spending 27 years in prison, but he went from being a prisoner to a President and became an inspiration to people all over the world. He said: “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not the man who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers fear.”

Fear can manifest itself in many ways, but many men won’t admit to being afraid in a dangerous situation as it may look like they are weak. However, fear sometimes has a way of galvanising courage within us when in a tight spot or when lost or when facing overwhelming circumstances. So fear can be a good thing. It’s a natural survival response and it can get us out of danger or keep us out of trouble. Bear Grylls said that being brave is having fear but finding a way through it.

But fear can also immobilise us to the point where we are unable to figure out what to do in a difficult situation. What may come to the surface are times when we got wounded or treated badly, so we are understandably reluctant to make ourselves vulnerable and put ourselves in that kind of situation again.

It’s often fairly obvious to us when someone seems to have something to prove. There is something they are striving to live up to, some image they are trying to maintain, some impression they are trying to give. But it’s a false front and underneath there is a different person who is insecure and perhaps wounded by past events. Richard Rohr, an American Franciscan priest and writer on spirituality based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and a very popular writer and speaker on spirituality said, “There is nothing to prove and nothing to protect. I am who I am and it’s enough”.

Wanting to be a man who has nothing to hide, nothing to fear and nothing to prove gives me a route map for leaving the past behind, whether that be stuff I’ve done, or stuff that happened to me, and I can head into the future more secure in who I am becoming. I like that idea of becoming. It reminds me that, whatever age I am, I am unfinished; I am still work in progress.

Main Photo Credit: Eddie Kopp via Unsplash

Bob Fraser

Bob Fraser is a singer-songwriter, men’s group leader and Regional Director for CVM aiming to open up conversations about life and faith.

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