We are on a journey of self-discovery to explore and address underlying issues and embrace our authentic masculinity. The core of this journey we call “M.A.N.S. Work.”
Surrender is an integral part of every aspect of M.A.N.S. Work. For example:
- Masculinity. In order to develop our masculine identity and our connection with the world of men, we have to surrender our fear of heterosexual men and our prejudices and defenses against men and masculinity.
- Authenticity. In order to live authentically, we need to surrender shame, secrecy, lies, isolation, passivity, unhealthy defenses and coping mechanisms, and portraying a false version of ourselves in order to get others to like and accept us.
- Needs Fulfillment. In order to meet our core needs authentically, we have to surrender self-destructive or counter-productive means of coping with unmet needs. We have to give up the safety of our comfort zone.
And even with all this, there is still more to surrender.
No matter how much healing and personal-growth work we do, the fact remains that we cannot rewrite history. We can’t change reality. Some things we just have to let go. Accept. Surrender. Release. Forgive. And move on.
Our happiness depends on it. Without it, we can never find real peace.
While our individual circumstances vary, many of us in the Brothers Road community experience these commonalities in living the principle of surrender.
Surrendering Resistance to Change
This inner journey can be hard work. It’s common to want the positive results of this healing work while at the same time being resistant — consciously or unconsciously — to actually doing the hard work. So:
- We first become aware of any internal resistance to living our lives differently or thinking differently or moving outside our comfort zone. We learn what the resistance is trying to protect us from. We consciously work to explore and more through any blocks that could be keeping us stuck.
- We accept the journey as it is, and let go of what we wish it would be. No, we can’t live two different, conflicting lives with conflicting values at the same time. No, we can’t hold onto old beliefs and habits and somehow get different results. No, this work is not easy. And we can’t do it in secret.
- We stop living in the “shoulds” of what should be, or should have been, or what people should do, or should have done. We learn to accept the world as it is, and let go of arguing with reality.
- We reject the lie that we can ever find peace and wholeness by denying and suppressing, rather than exploring and addressing, our inner conflicts and underlying pain.
Yielding Our Will to God’s
- We finally accept the reality that “our way” inevitably leads to heartache when it goes up against God’s way.
- We give up relying on white-knuckled willpower, or begging God to change our sexuality for us, or making false promises that “this time we really mean it.”
- Instead, we become willing to “turn our will and our lives over to the care of God” (as the Twelve Steps put it). We become willing to submit our desires to his and to become more like the men we feel God is calling us to be. (When we can’t do that authentically, we take a step back and ask God to make us willing to become willing to yield our will to his.)
- Rather than asking God to give us more strength to resist our desires, we ask God to change the desires of our hearts so that we want what he wants. (Over time, the heart will always win out over the will!)
Releasing Harmful Thoughts, Behaviors, and More
- We begin the difficult work of releasing our attachments to any harmful or unhealthy thoughts, beliefs, judgments, feelings, impulses, behaviors, habits, and relationships. (Moving away from these things begins with releasing our attachments to them — meaning our dependence on them, or our identifying with them, or our reluctance to let them go.)
- In particular, we release same-sex lust, which includes our attachment to “the right” to lust, with all its justifications. No amount of inner healing or personal growth can bring real peace if we continue to act on same-sex lust of other sexual behaviors that conflict with our spirituality, faith, values or morals, marital commitments or self-respect.
- We release our attachments to anything negative or harmful about our sexuality (lusts, obsessions, addictions, acting from our wounds, etc.), while embracing all that is positive, healthy and uplifting (brotherly love, male community, sensitivity, creativity, etc.).
- We release resentments and blame. We become ready to accept and forgive — ourselves as well as others.
Embracing Meaning and Mission
Eventually, all of our work — especially yielding our will to God’s will and asking him to change the desires of our hearts — will lead directly to our discovering and embracing a core life mission, higher purpose, or a cause greater than ourselves.
We discover at the far end of our journey (“the journey beyond,” we call it) something we never would have guessed at the outset: This work, ultimately, hasn’t been about us, after all. Our struggles have prepared us to better serve and lift others. Our path has become a survival guide for the next man or woman or child. Our journey can serve as an inspiration to others.
As we shift our inward focus outward, toward serving and giving to others, we no longer ask, “How can God serve me?” but instead “How can I serve God?”
The answer will reveal the great meaning of our journey. Maybe even the meaning of our lives.
Staying closely integrated with my Church community has been the biggest help in my surrender work. Through this connection, I am consistently encouraged to let go of the harmful beliefs and behaviors that are inconsistent with my values and am reassured that, when I surrender something to God, He is there loving me.
Byron Katie’s book, Loving What Is, was tremendously helpful in helping me accept the present situation for what it is and surrendering to it. I practiced not giving up but accepting what is, right now, as God’s will, and trying to grow from there rather than fight reality.
The biggest help with surrender has been cooperating with all God has shown me that he wanted to do in my life. The specifics have varied from counseling to in-person programs to reading to worship.
I realized I needed to surrender my hostility toward the masculine world and my desire to lust after other men.
The biggest tool that has helped me with surrender is to become sexually sober as defined by not having sex with self or others and surrendering my need to view pornography.
I needed to rebuild trust with God, and in so doing to recognize he is the ultimate source of masculinity and will help me become the man I need to be.
Surrendering my anger toward him and allowing him in my life continues to be a daily task.
In submitting my lustful desires to God’s greater power, the urgency and control they held over me lessened enough that I could make a phone call to a mentor or friend and ask for support and accountability. I would immediately then make plans to meet my authentic needs for companionship and connection in a non-sexual, fulfilling way.
I had to surrender the belief that I am bad just because I have SSA. Instead, I came to understand the meaning of my SSA, i.e., the underpinning needs. I was able to finally have peace with SSA feelings while I pursue continued healing.