The Man I Want to Become (aka the Story of the King Who Smiles)

Happy New Year! Today has been more of a subdued start than what I’m used to for a new year, as my wife and I are both battling sickness (she has pneumonia, I have some sort of bug). But, in the midst of this quiet day, actually during our evening meal with my sister who is living with us, I received some profound and unsolicited encouragement.

You see, having become a dad nearly a year ago has caused me to be hypersensitive to how I model manhood to my son. In looking back through the years, I see clear progress that is from the Lord’s work in my life. Yet, I frequently ask myself, “Am I turning into the man the Lord wants me to be?”

Relationships with people often serve as a mirror, a reflection that shows the good, bad, and ugly in yourself. People you live life with on a day in, day out basis especially see what your character is like. Well, tonight at dinner (homemade chili and baked potatoes, if you must know), both my wife and my sister gave me compliments that were a blessing from God. They offered up observations of me that took me by surprise.

My wife has a deep connection with her family, especially looking back on her grandparents. Her dad’s dad had fought in WWII, was a hard worker, a great family provider, a loving husband, and a wonderful grandfather. Tonight we were all talking about the need for love and respect in marriage relationships, and she told me that I reminded her of her grandpa in terms of being gentle, kind, yet firm in my leadership.

I had never met Mr. Brown, but I’ve gotten to know him through the stories his granddaughter has passed on to me. I know she loved him very much, and he played an immensely important role in her life. For my wife to tell me that I reminded her of someone so valuable, who was such a solid leader in his home, I was taken aback. Very humbling.

Then, my oldest sister who lives with us continued the conversation about leadership. She  said that since she has lived under our roof for the last few months, she has observed how I lead at home. She said, “I definitely see you as the head of the household. But what I envision is this: I see a king, with his robe and crown, who takes his place at the head of the table within his castle. But he isn’t one who rules with an iron fist. He leads with firmness and kindness. He is the king who smiles.” To be seen as a king represents leadership that commands respect. To smile, though, represents compassion, love, contentment, and joy that puts people at ease.

Wow! What a picture of the man I want to be! I look back on my 20s, how I did not lead, how I did not act very regally, how I did not know how to be “gentle, kind, yet firm.” I was afraid to lead. I just didn’t know how.

I must pay homage to the King of KIngs at this moment, for patiently making me into the man He wants me to be. I know I have such a long ways to go, but I see how far I’ve come. And I’m grateful that there’s evidence in my home that I’m moving forward in this journey of godly manhood. Thanks, Lord!

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