The Field Guide: What’s Your Why?

Why have you come to this spiritual exercise? Nearly all men who come to an Exodus spiritual exercise are seeking a new level of freedom. They realize that they are not free to love and serve their families and God

Why have you come to this spiritual exercise? Nearly all men who come to an Exodus spiritual exercise are seeking a new level of freedom. They realize that they are not free to love and serve their families and God as they ought. But let’s be more specific. In what ways are men unfree?

We men are enslaved in many different ways by our dependencies and attachments: to sports, email, mobile devices, work, television, videos, video games, food, alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, smoking, money, stock trading, news, homework, public appearance, power, control, hobbies, gambling, materialism, laziness, activism, and narcissism. Most prominently in our day, men have become enslaved to pornography and masturbation.

Take time to look over this list. It is by no means exhaustive. Rather, it is meant to help you reflect on—and specifically name—your dependencies and attachments. Be honest about what you need to be freed from. Be honest with yourself, with your brothers, and with the Lord. This honesty is a vital step toward freedom.

Naming the specific dependencies or attachments from which you desire freedom is enough to get you started on this spiritual exercise, but it won’t be enough to get you all the way to the end. For that, you will need to acknowledge something more, and someone more. Specifically, you’ll need to name someone you love for whom you are willing to do whatever it takes to be free. Love is powerful. Love can motivate a man beyond his usual limits—even to the point of death. Look to the cross; the cross says it all.

Let’s get practical.

Writing Your Why

You will be prompted to refer back to your written “why” throughout the forty days of this exercise and beyond, so it’s important to take this writing project seriously.

Your written why should follow these four parameters:

  1. Name a dependency or attachment that you hope to be free from.
  2. Name a person(s) you love that you want to be free for.
  3. Explain how your freedom will be at the service of those you have named.
  4. State how the freedom you desire will aid you in living out God’s plan for your life.

Here are two examples of a written why:

Example 1

“I want to be free so that I can be more present to people.”

Example 2

“I want to break my attachment to my mobile device for my wife, daughter, and new child on the way so that I can be lovingly present to them as the Lord has called me to be in my role as husband and father.”

The first example fails to meet the first three requirements of a written why and only vaguely meets the fourth. The second example, on the other hand, is a solid and specific why that a man can fight for.

When you set about determining your dependency or attachment, it is likely that many things will come to mind. This is the reality for most men today. Do your best to narrow your choice down to just one or two. This will help you to stay focused on what’s most important for your freedom and keep you from getting overwhelmed. In making your selection, it is almost always best to name the biggest and most consistent obstacle to your freedom. If there is a habitual sin that could be considered grave, this should be what you write down in your why.

In writing your why, consider the words of Christ:

“He who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God” (John 3:21).

Be courageous and come into the light. All the way into the light. Write your why with honesty toward self and with love for others.

Review the four criteria above and take your time to write your why now or during your time of prayer today. Remember: God wants your freedom even more than you do. Listen to him as he guides you in an honest writing of your why. A well thought-out why will pay dividends for you in the wilderness.

Once you have your written why, save it in the app in the section entitled, “My Why,” or in a place that is accessible to you daily.

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