biggest challenge

Overcoming Man’s Biggest Challenge

Having grown in up in one of toughest inner-city ghettos of Miami, Florida, a media reporter asked me what was the biggest challenge I had to overcome as a man.  My answer surprised her.

You have to understand, I was product of a teenage mother; six of my friends had lost their lives before I was 16 years old; most of my childhood friends were incarcerated; I was a survivor of sexual abuse, and my father abandoned us (my sister and me) when I was only 2 years old.

But I told the reporter, “The biggest challenge I had to overcome was my pride. My inability to ask for the help and support I needed to deal with the struggles I had endured as a child.”

If you ask the average man what he considers to be his biggest challenge as a man, you’re likely to hear any of the following:

  • Marriage
  • Lust/pornography
  • Finances
  • Job stress
  • Raising teenagers
  • Communication
  • Time management
  • Procrastination
  • Anger management
  • Lack of confidence, etc.

But the biggest challenge a man faces is the one he’s least likely to admit, and that’s his struggle with PRIDE. [Tweet This]  A friend once told me that the word “PRIDE” stands for “Please Remember, I Destroy Everything.” 

If you don’t believe that pride is man’s biggest challenge, honestly answer the following questions about yourself:

  • Are you judgmental toward those who make different lifestyle choices?
  • Do you frequently correct or criticize those closest to you?
  • Are you a perfectionist, and do you get easily annoyed or impatient with others?
  • Do you think your way is the right way, the only way, or the best way most of the time?
  • Is it hard for people to measure up to your expectations?
  • Do you avoid participating in certain things for fear of being embarrassed or looking foolish?
  • Are you afraid to ask for help or admit when you’re struggling with something?
  • Do you have a hard time reaching out and building relationships with men you don’t know?
  • Are you sitting there reading this thinking that none of these things apply to you?

The reason why pride is such a great challenge for men is because it’s usually the root cause of all the other issues listed above.  A struggling marriage, emotionally disengaged teenagers, addiction to alcohol or pornography, poor communication, intimacy issues, job overwhelm, anger, financial struggles, and the lack of true friendships are only the fruit of a deeper problem rooted in our inability to admit we’re struggling in these areas.

Personally, I was too afraid, ashamed, or embarrassed to admit I didn’t know what to do when I felt like a failure or needed help.  I didn’t want to admit I needed to seek counsel, join a support group, or confess my struggles to my family.

So how do you overcome pride?  You simply do three things:

  1. Surrender: Admit to others you need help and you can’t solve your problem on your own.
  2. Pray – Pray for the strength, the resources, and the support you need from others to deal with your struggle.
  3. Act – Faithfully apply the wisdom you receive from the wise counsel of others in dealing with your struggle.

All three of these steps are easy to do, and because of pride, they’re also easy not to do. So (P)lease (R)emember, (I) (D)estroy (E)verything.

Sound Off

What do you think your biggest challenge is?

Dr. Joe Martin

Dr. Joe Martin is a certified Man Builder, creator and founder of RealMenConnect.com, and an award-winning educator. He’s also a husband and father of a blended family of two.

  • CJ

    Thank you for the great article. I struggle with some of the points you make. What frustrates me even more is that, even though I cry out to God and pray about my areas of pride, shortcomings and weakness, I have sought the counsel of other men, tried to find men’s groups/Bible studies to get involved with and reached out to friends, but I continually find myself getting stonewalled.

    After a while, you just start giving up on finding male friendships and/or groups and realize that life is about isolation and being a lone ranger (which I know isn’t right or Biblical, but in my life it is just facts). So I am at the point of my life (in my mid 40s), where I just deal with marital struggles, job struggles/current unemployment and life struggles alone. It’s just the way it is and I have to come to terms with just being me and God and that has to be enough.

    • Jeffrey Shills

      I pray CJ, that you don’t just accept it as “the way it is” and “that has to be enough.” James 1: 5-6 – Do not DOUBT that God has your best in mind wherever you are. Keep pursuing, keep loving, keep discipling, keep building relationships, keep smiling, keep saying hello, KEEP PRAYING. Do what you know to do. DO NOT DOUBT.

      This article has my face written all over and the worse part is I have known and have been praying for change, but why am I still having the issues. Honestly, I have doubted that I can actually change. I have doubted that our God is big enough to change me or care enough, but I know that this is not true. Jeremiah 29:11.

      Love you brother, God is Good.

      • Joe Martin

        Great encouragement Warrior Shills. I love your spirit.

      • CJ

        Thank you, Jeffrey!

    • Joe Martin

      Thanks Warrior CJ for your honesty brother. And I’m thankful for Jeffrey’s response to you. I’ve been in the same boat you’re in right now. For the first three decades of my life, the support in my life (especially men) either abused, abandoned, rejected, lied to, or betrayed me. And like you, I was ready to throw in the towel, not only with men, but relying on people (and family) period.

      But by the grace of God, I finally met a man (who eventually became my spiritual father/mentor), and my relationship with him changed my life. He proved to me that I may not be able to trust everybody, but each of us is going to have to eventually trust SOMEBODY. Like Jeffrey said, you can’t accept defeat in this area, because isolation and solitude will destroy you emotionally over time.

      Do I still get mistreated, betrayed, or lied to by men? Yes, but less often than I used to, because now I learned to NOT trust any man, but to learn to look for and trust the God IN the man, if that makes sense? I found that makes ALL the difference. If I don’t see God in the man, then I don’t allow that man into my life.

      Now I’ve gone from being abused and abandoned by men (and actually hating them) to now working in full-time men’s ministry helping men be the kind of men I’ve always wanted and needed in my life. Please keep in contact with me so I can connect you to a group of men who will restore your faith in men. Just visit our site at http://www.realmenconnect.com and email me. Stay in His grip!

      • CJ

        Thank you for the encouragement. Just went to your website and will sign up. I appreciate the advice in this time of my life where I am pursuing God and pursuing Godly men for friends!

        • Joe Martin

          Looking forward to getting you connected. Talk to you soon.

          • Jeffrey Shills

            Great site and organization Dr. Joe. I will certainly share with some men in my life. Love the encouragement and back and forth. Praying that God will continue to grow us and use us as leaders to Glorify His Kingdom!

          • Joe Martin

            Thanks Jeffrey.

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