F3 Knoxville

The Monsters Men Fear

The Project
Workout Date: 15 Sep 2020
QIC: Kick-Flip

THE SCENE:  65 and clear.  Perfect for an IPC beatdown.

Warmup OYO while we talk through the workout.


IPC Week 3




Me and 6 of the best men I know


I have a routine that I follow when I leave the house in the morning.  I make a cup of coffee, pack my lunch, grab my stuff, and I’m out the door.  In one hand, I have my duffel bag with a change of clothes and my lunch – in the other hand I have my morning coffee.  I leave through the back door, walk across the deck and down the steps, turn the corner around the house, and get into my car which is sitting in the driveway. That’s my routine…and it almost never changes.

A few weeks ago – on a Tuesday before F3 – my routine did change just a bit.  For a reason now long forgotten, I didn’t make coffee that morning.  That meant that I had something I almost never have when I leave the house – a free hand.  And I used that hand to do what I almost never do – shine my phone’s flashlight to light the dark path through the backyard and around to my car.  I remember having a sense that morning – a sense that I wanted to see within the darkness – like something was there that I needed to be on a high-state of readiness for.  A skunk? A raccoon?

I used my flashlight to shine across the deck, down the steps, across the yard, to my car.  Nothing…my instinct was clearly misfiring.  I turned off the flashlight, put my bag in the backseat, got into the front seat, and turned the key in the ignition.  Then, in the bright glow of the headlights, I saw…A PERSON STANDING IN FRONT OF MY CAR AND STARING AT ME.  For a moment, my blood froze, and I was stiff with the shock.  It quickly thawed when I realized that the wild-eyed pajamaed person was my 7-year old son.  He’d heard me leaving the house and ran out to say “goodbye” and “have a good day”.  Sweet kid – but he startled me half to death at five in the morning.

Driving to meet you guys for the workout that morning, I was reminded of a couple of things.  The first was a bit of scripture that I am working with that 7-year old to help him memorize; “2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.”  The second thought came from a book that I read him each night for a few weeks earlier this year, Sails of Capri.  In the book, the characters fear sailing their small ship into a cove which is said to be cursed.  Local myth was that man-eating sea monsters lived in a cave within that cove.  The reluctant adventurers finally sail into the cove and into the mouth of the cave, where they discover a breathtaking blue grotto (the real Grotto Azzura in Capri).  One of the main characters reflects about their adventure with these words, Most of the monsters men fear are in their minds.  They would vanish like smoke if we would only let them”. 

Let’s talk about monsters that we fear.  No – not bats, or snakes, or spiders…  Here are the five most common fears that men have.  

  1. Failing.
  2. Being Incompetent.
  3. Being Weak (or Being Perceived as Weak).
  4. Being Irrelevant.
  5. Looking Foolish.

I can relate to each of those.  When I’m being honest with myself, I’ll admit that those fears manifest in a facade of coolness or disinterest.  Ultimately, what those fears cost me is deep intimacy in relationships.  Why wouldn’t I be silly with my kids or dance with my wife?  Fear of looking foolish.  Why wouldn’t I lean in and be a better mentor of that younger man at work?  Fear of being irrelevant.  Why the heck do I find it so hard to consistently lead my wife spiritually?  Fear of being incompetent.  If you are like me, the irrational fears that you harbor are keeping you from enjoying your relationships to their fullest potential. 

Yet… “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” – Joseph Campbell.  When I do allow myself to be unguarded with close relationships, I find that the fear was all in my mind and that my loved ones delight in the most unguarded version of me (bad dance moves and all).  The closeness that I crave was there all along – masked by insecurities which ended up being paper monsters.

When I saw that apparition in the dark a few weeks ago, I was afraid.  Then it turned out to be my son, and I realized that there is nothing more precious to me than that figure standing in front of me (which I first feared).  Likewise – when you courageously step through your fears and experience healthy relational intimacy (which you thought was a monster) – it may, in fact, lead to something that you cherish deeply.

Most of the monsters men fear are in their minds.  They would vanish like smoke if we would only let them”.

Here’s 2 Timothy 1:7 again, this time from The Living Bible translation, “For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them.”

Be willing to let down your guard with those closest to you and experience relational intimacy.



Do it again this Friday at JUCO – Wanderer is hosting IPC Week 3, his VQ!

Hardship Hill

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