Man Your Territory

How to care for what’s yours

It’s a problem men have been facing, or ignoring, for generations. Over time, though, it has become a battle against more than we could have imagined. How do we act like men? Of all the ventures, risks, responsibilities, dreams, and desires we have, which ones deserve our attention? What’s the right way to go about being a man?

Assuming we are engaged in the conflict of making our way in the world as a masculine soul, it can be a confusing enterprise. It can be overwhelming to say the least. Recently, a few of the Hangarmen have been taking the deep dive into this issue in order to, once and for all, create some anchor points for the masculine journey. Enter Steven Mansfield and his book Mansfield’s Book of Manly Men. In this concise and powerful book, Mansfield outlines a few of these anchors, these starting places for what we, at the Hangar, call reclaiming manhood.

So, what is Manning Your Territory?

Manning your territory starts with understanding that you have an area of responsibility. You have an area that is your charge. Men, it seems many of us have become numb to the idea that people and things are counting on us. I understand. There are a lot of things that call for our attention. Jobs. Maintenance. Sports. These things are deceptive. In all of these environments, we are replaceable. If you left your job today, in most cases, someone else would be sitting at your desk doing your job inside of a 30-day window.

You know the one place you aren’t so easily replaced? Your territory. See, in your territory you run into the hearts and minds that are depending on you, and only you, in the role you're in. Put simply, if you have a spouse you are the only one that can and should be a husband to your wife. Many of you know firsthand the pain of having another man sneak into your territory unbeknownst to you and start playing husband to your wife. How about this one. To our sons and daughters, we are the only one that can meet their need for a dad. I meet man after man whose father did not talk to them about their sexuality. This created the space for some punk in a locker room to play dad and teach them about sex. Hearts and minds living in an unmanned territory are vulnerable in a way God never intended. This vulnerability has led to the genocide of true manhood.

Here’s how Stephen Mansfield puts it:

Here is the big picture: it is the job of a man to know the definition of the field assigned to him. Who “belongs” to him? What is he responsible for? What boundaries is he guarding? What forces — physical, moral, emotional, spiritual, intellectual — must he guard against? What needs to be done? And, certainly, what does God require? Then, having answered these questions, it is the job of a man to cultivate that field — to guard its boundaries, assure its health, provide for it generously, and fill it with love so it thrives.
  • Guard its boundaries
  • Assure its health
  • Provide for it generously
  • Fill it with love so it thrives

When you read this list does it encourage you or challenge you? Does it fill you with pride over the job you’ve done? Or, does it cover you in shame for the job you haven’t? Listen, wake up calls are never easy to deliver, but it’s time more of us had the courage to ask difficult questions of each other. Here’s the big one for today:

Are you manning your territory?

Before you go…

Think on this verse. I believe it may help you gain the courage you need to get started. Then, listen to this week's podcast to start your journey of being who God has called you to be for the hearts and minds that are in your care.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. // Lamentations 3:22 — 23