I recently had the pleasure of reading ‘Wild at Heart -- Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul’ by John Eldredge of Ransomed Heart Ministries and author of ‘The Sacred Romance.’ I’m still in the process of reading ‘Captivating -- Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul’ which Eldredge’s wife, Stasi co-authored.
Eldredge transports us back to the scene in the garden of Eden and the “fall”. I have always thought of that moment as resulting in mankind’s beginning to a future of being born into sin and thus, our need for The Sacrificial Lamb of God, our Savior.
However, there is much more to that story than meets the eye. As with any small portion of the Word of God and the Word of God in its whole, there are unfathomable, uncountable mysteries available for the unveiling. God wishes to share those mysteries with us, His companions, His Bride. Even with that statement is revelation through the Holy Spirit. I believe the unveiling of the Word of God to us has much the same significance as a man unveiling the face of his bride. God reveals Himself to us through the unveiling of His Word. And we are, thereby, also able to better see who we are through His eyes and who we are in His image.
Adam did not ask God for a wife. There was no woman for which he could compare his sense of lack, so he could not have known that woman was that which he desired. God had created so much beauty for Adam in the artistic scenery of the earth and the sky, the ocean and the animals of every kind. I am sure that the garden of Eden must have been exquisite. And nothing could excel in reflecting the beauty of God as did woman. I have no doubt Adam was instantly and utterly swept away by the beauty God revealed to him in Eve. Thus he called her “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.”
God recognized Adam’s need for a helpmeet and the fact that she was a reflection of God’s beautiful nature was but a gift to Adam, God’s friend. He fully understood man’s need for companionship. Of course He did; that was the reason he created Adam in the first place. He knew all about a deep desire for companionship. He desires companionship and to be in covenant relationship with us still. To be a helpmeet is often confused for being a subservient woman whose only job is to “help” a man. That is simply something a woman does out of love for a man. But to be a helpmeet in its truer definition is to be a man’s companion in adventure. Adam was born for adventure. He was born “wild at heart” with the desire for a battle to fight, a Beauty to rescue, a mountain peak to conquer.
Adam possessed the strong and protective, adventurous image of the heart of Father God. Eve, on the other hand, was made in an image of God that more closely resembles the nurturing, beautiful and gracious part of God’s heart, the motherly image of God, if I may say such a thing without rattling a few “religious chains.” God is neither male nor female, but Spirit. And we are all, men and women alike, created in His image.
Eldredge explains why it is that the fall of Adam left so many men up to this very day and age irresponsible, lazy, or unfaithful. In many cases, men fall under all of those descriptions. And society does not help matters by convincing men and women alike that a “good” man is not adventuresome. Thus many simply provide for their families and sit in a recliner with a remote control in their hands. All the while, their souls crave adventure. Yet, at the heart of every man is a NEED for adventure and a DESIRE for a partner to partake of his joy in those adventures.
Women, on the other hand, have been searching from birth for confirmation of their worth and their beauty and they long for a hero in man. Consider the multitudes of fairytales like ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Cinderella’ and other such stories of ladies and their knights, queens and their kings, princesses and their heroic princes. Those very stories were born of the desires of men to be heroes and women to be beauties. And yet, they remain simply fairytales, unreachable, unobtainable fiction to most everyone. Seldom does one’s life reflect any of those stories. And the root of our failures to live out the seemingly impossible goes back to the moment Adam failed to rescue his Beauty in the garden.
This also answers the questions men often ask about why women are so often more attracted to “bad boys” than they are to kind natured and “gentle” gentlemen. Gentlemen, I do not mean to be harsh, but women find you to be boring. Where is your adventurism? Where is your desire for a battle to fight and a mountain to conquer and a Beauty to rescue? Get up out of your easy chairs and be the men God created you to be. Who cares what society deems “good”? You can be a good, godly man with a good heart and still be adventurous. Go jump off of a forty foot cliff into the deep waters below if you wish to do so. What is stopping you? Who said you could not climb Mt Everest? Ladies, quit turning your men into wimps and bums and girly forms of men. Let your little boys be little boys. And men, give your little girls confidence in their possession of beauty by acknowledging your daughters as princesses, your daughters, who are also the daughters of The King of Kings, made in the very image of beauty in its fullest measure. Beauty is not in the face, but at the very core of a woman’s heart.
Eldredge points out that Adam was not gone off into the wilderness to hunt or fish for their dinner, nor was he preoccupied with tilling the land or taking a swim in some oasis ten miles away. The Word tells us that he was right there. He witnessed the temptation of Eve with his very own eyes and ears. God did not request that they not eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. He directly and specifically forbid them to do so. It was Adam’s responsibility to rescue her at that point. Not only did he disobey a direct commandment, but he allowed his Beauty to be tempted into doing so. He should have been both obedient to God and a hero to Eve.
As a result of Adam’s failure, or “fall”, there are, to this day, Eves all over the world in search of their Heroes and Adams in search of their Beauties. Yet, marriages and relationships fail more often than not and the numbers continue to increase dramatically over time. Even among Christian marriages today, the divorce rate is incredibly, astoundingly, shockingly high.
As for the few “fortunate” marriages that do survive, how many of them come anywhere close to resembling the fairytales that have little girls twirling on coffee tables, crying out for confirmation, “Daddy! Daddy! Look at me! Do I look pretty in my princess dress?” and boys with towels tied around their necks, jumping off tables and out windows, screaming “Jeronimo!” or flashing their plastic swords at supposed dragons, or yelling out to the exotic and treasure-filled promised lands that flow with milk and honey, “Land ho!”? And yet, these are the very images of God in which we were created to live. You, Adam’s sons, your Beauties have real dragons on their heels and they need you to fight the good fight for them and with them. And you, Eve’s daughters, your heroes are in need of adventure.
Eldredge helps to guide us into the knowledge of our continued battle with failure and what happens to us in our lives that keep us in that vicious circle of unfulfilled desires. People do not want to search their souls and find the healing that they need in order to overcome their failures for what they are afraid they will find at the root of their failures. But God tells us that He has reserved for the over-comers a white stone with a new name written upon it. I do not believe that name is “A Failure.” Perhaps it is closer to A True-to-Life Fairytale Come to Life.
People do not want a “fairytale” per say in their lives. They want something real, a true to life Beauty to rescue and a sincere Hero with which to join in adventure. True to life Beauties are recognized by their Heroes as having a priceless value that is far above that of rubies. And yet, the sons of Adam often fail to recognize her as the utterly beautiful reflection of our Father that she is and the daughters of Eve so often quench the adventurous spirits of their would-be Heroes.
I was very touched by a statement a newly acquired friend made to me a few days ago. I don’t know if he read or heard that somewhere or if it was a statement of his own. But whoever did come up with such a statement deserves a medal of honor, an award of heroism. “A man should be more concerned with the preservation of a woman’s soul than he is with having a relationship with her.” Adam failed to be more concerned with preserving Eve’s soul than he was with having a relationship with her. And in so doing, he failed to be her hero. If men today were truly more concerned with the preservation of women’s souls, women would no longer be in need of heroes. We would be surrounded with them and by them. But God said, after the fall of Adam, that woman would surround man. And thus, it became so.
Adam’s desire for woman exceeded his desire to preserve her soul. The sons of Adam today are still tripping up in the same failure, not to mention the common nature of all mankind to struggle with overcoming disobedience. It is to a man’s peace to seek out the nature of his own soul and to bring it into alignment with the nature of God. It is one of his mountains to climb and his dragons to conquer. And only is so doing will he find that he is fulfilling for his own self his boyhood desire to be a real hero. For it is in discovering the nature of his own soul that he is forced to acknowledge his part and his responsibility in the preservation of the souls of many, especially that of his Beauty.
Eldredge almost pleads with us to reach into the very depths of our souls and find the root causes of our failures so that we might overcome them through Christ. They are our raging rivers to cross and our greatest mountains to climb. I learned so much from ‘Wild at Heart’ about the nature of men and the secrets of their souls. And I know that I will also learn as much, if not more, about myself and other women as I continue on with the God-ordained pages of ‘Captivating.’ I am eager to complete the reading and more eager to experience a deeper, clearer revelation of what means to be created in the captivatingly beautiful image of my God.
‘Wild at Heart’ and ‘Captivating’ are both must reads for men and women alike, single or married, as they help us to better understand ourselves and one another at a soul level. Kudos to my friend, Brett, and to all men like him, for his bold statement and the determination to be truly heroic. And kudos to John and Stasi Eldredge for sharing such a gift of knowledge and revelation with us. They present us with a vivid and upbeat blessing from God to the healing and deliverance of his sons’ and daughters’ souls and to our wills to persevere in the battles we must endure in order to walk in His heroic and beautiful image.
A quote from ‘Wild at Heart’: “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~ Gil Bailie
Paraphrases mine: Genesis 2:8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed (in His own image). 15 And the LORD God took the man, and put (established) him into the garden of Eden to dress (nourish) it and to keep (preserve) it. 22And the rib, (that part of Adam which was closest to his heart) which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman (in His own image), and brought her (gave her) unto the man. (Like all that He gave unto Adam, it was to Adam’s responsibility to establish, to nourish, and to preserve.) Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. (Therefore, be ye wise as serpents and gentle as doves.) 8And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: (where He once walked with them in companionship and covenant) and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. (He desires to walk with us still, to be our Constant and Unfailing Companion. He desires, still, to be in close communion and covenant with us, if we will but stop hiding our selves from Him.)
May our Beauties walk forward with their chins raised high in the captivatingly beautiful image of our Creative God. May our Heroes charge wildly forward in the adventuresome image of our protective and heroic Lion of Judah. Selah
It is my prayer that God will restore our greatest hopes and truest integrity, that He will grant us the wisdom and the will to overcome the shame of failures that keep us hiding from a God in whose image we have so much trouble believing we were truly created. And I pray that He will give our Adams back their heroism and Eves back their heroes when we chase after the heart of God in our gardens today, and run as ones who will receive the prize, and fight the good fight of faith.
Oh, This statement is PURE WISDOM: “A man should be more concerned with the preservation of a woman’s soul than he is with having a relationship with her.” I'd like to add that we should be more concerned about the preservations of ALL OUR LOVED ONES' souls than our relationships with them - our friends, families, coworkers, etc. What a wonderful creed to live out! WELCOME BACK...We all love you! Peggy