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Managing “Man”esia

September 19th, 2008

Focus Text: Proverbs 4: 4-5 (NLT)

4 My father taught me,
   “Take my words to heart.
      Follow my commands, and you will live.
 5 Get wisdom; develop good judgment.
      Don’t forget my words or turn away from them.


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

There are many facets of life that leave men mystified.  The complexities of the female psyche.  The idea that one can cease to be hungry.  The seemingly incredulous concept that fuel efficiency is more important than speed.  The popularity of television shows like “Project Runway.”  These are just a few of the universal mysteries that plague the male gender.

Because of our perpetual confusion and the incessant search to understand the nature of a world that we can’t seem wrap our minds around, I theorize that men suffer from a very serious medical condition that I have simply dubbed “Manesia.”  In essence, manesia is the gender-wide loss of memory that men of all ages experience on a daily basis.  

Manesia is no respecter of persons.  It cripples all males, young and old, alike.  It manifests its symptoms every time a seven-year old boy forgets to brush his teeth.  It’s devastating effects are felt (or smelt) when a group of eleven or twelve-year old boys forget to wear deodorant.  Teenage guys suffer daily from manesia, helplessly devoid of understanding each time they forget a laundry list of things ranging from homework to . . . well . . . laundry.  Even grown men constantly walk through life in a memory stupor, forgetting the very basic parts of everyday life.  It’s tragic, really.

But God did not leave us alone in our debilitating condition.  He offered hope in the form of the opposite gender, or at least that’s what He did for me.  (If you tense up from my stereotypes, it may be time to take a vacation or at least consider decaf.)  In my life, relief and the road to recovery came in the form of my incredible wife.  From the inception of our relationship over a decade ago, she has worked tirelessly to cure me of my infirmity.  Though I’ll always be a “manesiolic”, through her assistance I have learned to live a semi-normal life.

No other simple task reveals the tragedy of manesia than a trip to the grocery store.  If Laura were to simply tell me what to pick up, the odds of my quick return with every requested item in hand are miniscule at best.  Hence, Laura has helped me tackle such a task with a simple, yet essential tool: the list.

The list allows all victims of manesia the opportunity to overcome their condition.  When I forget, I just look down at the list and like magic, I remember!  The feeling of elation is absolutely liberating!

This verse, written to a man (although obviously applicable to both genders) is like a spiritual grocery list.  It’s like God knows that we are prone to forget what’s important.  Forget?  No way!  I would never zone out and forg . . . . ooooh, look– a birdie!  Yeah, I know you feel the effects of this disease too.

It hits you when you get home from church, completely confident of what direction God is leading you.  Ten minutes later, you find yourself questioning your worth and your call.  In one moment, you are certain that the person you are dating is completely wrong for you in every way imaginable . . . even your dog doesn’t like them.  One phone call later, you’re “baby-talking” them like an idiot. Manesia strikes again!  

So, consider this your grocery list.  “Get wisdom.”  Oh yeah, I almost forgot.  I think I got distracted by the Goo-Goos on aisle eleven.  In other words, don’t fill your cart with worthless things; in all situations we must pursue God’s wisdom first.  Not second.  Not after our lives are already filled with the junk of our own shopping decisions.  Negative . . . dude, look at the list.  Get wisdom.

Next on the list, run by the Photo Lab and “develop” some “good judgment.”  Nice!  Good judgment isn’t just purchased; it develops over time.  Yeah, sorry guys, but this particular shopping trip is going to be a long one.  Grab the wisdom and then take the time to develop good judgment.  The wise ones in my life have taught me that most things worthwhile don’t happen instantaneously; they take time.  If you ever feel that you must act right now . . . LIKE RIGHT NOW . . . there’s a good chance that good judgment may be close to passing you by.  Hey, if it’s right, give it time to develop.

And finally, don’t lose the list!  (Don’t forget my words or turn away from them.)  Now that’s an embarrassing phone call.  

Uh, honey?”

“Did you forget to get something?”

“Uh, sort of.”

“What did you forget?”

“Well . . . everything?  I sort of lost the list.”

Long, awkward silence.


Listen, in order to manage this infernal condition, we must hold to “the list” at all times.  That means constantly reviewing and reminding ourselves of what God has said.  Yeah, that’s the daily connection to God through prayer and through His Word.  Hey, don’t trust yourself . . . you’re just thirty seconds from forgetting that you’re reading this right now!

By clinging to the gracious words that God has written for us, we can live a life that is anything but normal.  Hey, who wants to be normal anyway?

Ask your doctor (or mom, wife, sister, etc.) if manesia is something you need help for.  You’ll be glad you did.




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