Confession time. I struggle with passivity as much as any other man. There is something inside of me that likes to check out. When I say check out I mean: back down, ignore, disengage and take the path of least resistance. Passivity is a compulsion or learned tendency to live at half-speed. This leaves men feeling their glass is half-empty, and as a result, they half-heartedly commit to projects, plans, and goals. Passive men are half in and half out of relationships. Passive men are more attached to not having what they think they want or desire, even though they protest loudly this is not so.
I suffer from passivity. And so do a lot of men. We often will settle for “fine” or “good enough’ in our marriages, parenting, friendships, finances, work, and overall outlook on life. If you are a man, passivity is written into you as a result of the fall of humankind. When Eve shared the apple with Adam, he was there. But he was passive. And he was complicit. And as a result, we are all paying the price.
How/where do men retreat today?
Because stats don’t lie: the average man retreats to their smartphones where they spend 3+ hours each day. Men ages 30-45 are the most significant consumers of pornography. 50% of men cheat on their wives. They spend only 3.4 minutes a day with their children and just 17 minutes a week talking with their wives. And according to a recent Nielsen survey, the average adult watches a staggering average of 5 hours of TV per day.
Passivity is easy to fall into. All you have to do is pick up your feet and crash onto the couch and let life happen all around you. It is important to note that passivity causes you to react rather than act, control rather than respond, manipulate rather than make, or self-destruct instead of create.
But we were never made to live a passive life. We were made to be Uncommen. It’s time we punch back at passivity. We were made to make decisions. We were made to cultivate life around us. We were made to tear out the weeds in our lives and plant good seeds to produce a return on what we have been given. It’s time to re-engage.
Uncommen Challenge: Write down an area or list of areas that you have become passive. Why have you let it slip? Fatigue? Loss? Or just plain old laziness? Make it a point this week to make a change and grab the reins once again to take control of that area of your life.
Bible Reference: “Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” ~Psalm 34:11-14
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