Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secrets of a Man's Heart was written by John Eldredge in 2001. I have had some reservations about reading this book for reasons, that were unfounded, which I will not mention. But I will begin this review by encouraging you to pick up a copy and give it a serious reading. This book will, most likely, open your eyes to a whole new world for you as a man in the Kingdom of God. I had no idea how it would speak to and resonate within my heart and soul. (I also encourage wives and fiances to read this along with their men. I believe it will help you understand the man you love and who God intends him to be.)
Eldredge's premise is basic and simple; God created you, man, for a "battle to fight, a beauty to rescue and an adventure to live." It seems simple enough, but before entering his thoughts on these three elements of the God intended life, he spends several chapters discussing what keeps us from living this "life of adventure," this God honoring life as men.
In his introduction he had my attention when he wrote that we don't need another book for men. He said, "We need something else. We need permission." My mind began to ponder that statement. Are we at a place in this world, am I at a place in my own life where I need permission to be a man, to be a man after God's own heart? Eldredge says the answer to that question is yes, an emphatic and overwhelming yes. But why?
The answer to that question seems to be that society in general and even the church today want men who are "tamed and controllable." Men need to be trained, sophisticated, and feminine. That is what the world seemingly wants from us men, but what our hearts long for is to be William Wallace of the famed movie "Braveheart." We want to be Maximus of "Gladiator." We want to fight the battles of "Saving Private Ryan." We were created by God to be warriors, to be lions, and the word wants us to be pussy cats.
What does this really mean? It means, to Eldredge, that men have, for whatever reason, lost the passion of their lives. And the scary part is that men don't know why! Why do we long for adventure and battles? Why do we long for a "beauty to rescue"? Why? Eldredge says because that is the way God made us. And we live the lives we live because we fail to live the life God intended.
There was one chapter in particular that spoke to my heart, the chapter titled "The Wound." In it Eldredge deals with the circumstances in our lives which help to hinder us from becoming who and what God intends: "the wound." This wound can come from many places, but the most dangerous wounds received by boys and men are the wounds they receive at home. He takes this idea and moves into a chapter which offers help and hope for those coming behind. He calls this chapter "The Battle for a Man's Heart."
The content of the book builds and builds, like the waves of the ocean, like the flames of the fire. They captivate your mind and grasp your heart, and you know that there is more to this life.
Read it for yourself. Let me know your thoughts. I know that I will read it again for the encouragement within to be a man of God, but also because I know there are things that I missed that I need to help me understand more of being this man.