by Steven Price, MA, LPCA
We often see clients struggling with anger, sadness, stress at work or at home and even with violent outbursts toward others. There is a common thread shared among so many of them, especially when the clients are men. Many, many times, men say, “I feel lost” or “Something is missing” or “I just don’t know who I am.” This lostness or lack of identity is a very real concern, and with more men growing up without positive male role models in their lives, it is no wonder they struggle to identify who they are, who they need to be, and especially who they are meant to be.
As Christian counselors, we believe we KNOW who we are, and we know who these men are, too. Scripture tells us that we as men are all Beloved sons of Almighty God, and women are all Beloved daughters. This is true of ALL men, believers or not. The trouble is, many men do not know, or perhaps they do not believe, that this is true. Even Christian men struggle with this.
There are Christian men who believe that their identity lies in God, that they are beloved Sons, and this is critical. What we believe matters and it matters very much, but if men have never experienced the love of a good father, never experienced belovedness, they may struggle with their identity and with expressing themselves in loving ways.
As counselors who walk alongside men who are struggling with their identities and therefore struggling in their lives as sons, brothers, friends, husbands, and fathers, we want to first address the current behaviors by helping men deal with their anger, sadness, stress, or outbursts. But most important, we want men to know who they are and to begin to experience who they are so that they can then become who they are meant to be—wholehearted men, beloved sons, loving husbands, and amazing fathers, free from their previous struggles. This can be a wonderful journey, and the destination is definitely worth the effort.