In John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart, he talks about what he coins as the question that haunts every man. It’s a question that many men, including myself, are afraid of, and even more afraid of what the answer could be. It’s a question that irks at a man’s side, and he’ll often to do anything else to distract him from it. Video games, YouTube videos, TV, pornography, even watching sports ---something that will keep his mind off of it. It’s a question that paralyzes men from even wanting to try, paralyzes us from action. And in result, prevents us from being who we’re meant to be and meant to do.
That question: Do I have what it takes?
No man wants to find out that their very best may not still be enough. In school, if we know a subject is something we’re not interested in, why try? We’re not going to be our best at it. The man who gets promoted at work, after the celebration he may have that secret dread, “Shoot, can I handle the extra responsibility?” The man who decides he’s going to propose to his girlfriend, he may ask (and I know I did) “Do I have what it takes to be man she needs me to be? Strong enough? Loyal enough? Responsible enough?” A boy at tryouts, wondering if he’s good enough to make the team. I recently just heard the saddest story of a kid who loved basketball and was the star point guard of his middle school team. But when he moved to another state to another high school, he looked into the gym before tryouts at all the older, bigger guys, filled himself with doubt, and never stepped on the court to tryout, giving up organized basketball all together.
I write about this because I’m facing this question now, and it haunts me. Over and over and over again this past couple years, God has been telling me in different moments, in different places, in different ways that I need to write. I need to strive for what little Matthew Aujero dreamed of becoming one day---an author. Finally receiving recent clarity, I have realized (with the help and push of my Mimi) that I can no longer neglect this calling. This means that at least for next year, I will be setting myself up to do all the writing that I have always wanted the time for. Deep breath. And it scares me.
It scares me because of that question that haunts every man: do I have what it takes? What if I take all this time and I still somehow don’t get a book off? What if I write and publish this book and it isn’t any good, or worse, it’s actually bad. What if I give everything I have, my blood and my sweat and my tears, and it’s not enough and I wasn’t satisfied? What would it all be for? Would it all be a waste?
The voices in my head whisper, “Well, don’t try then”, “It’s not worth your time”, “You’re being irresponsible”, “You’re being selfish”, “It will never sell”, “No one will want to read it”, “It’s going to be bad”, “You’ll never finish it”, “Don’t try”, “It’s not going to be good”, …”Don’t try.”
And I’m back to facing the question that haunts every man: Do I have what it takes?
When I have a clear head, I do believe in myself , I do believe in my writing, and I do believe in what I’m writing about most of all. What helps this time is that I have Mimi by my side, and she has been so encouraging, so helpful, and so adamant that I pursue this passion.
Because I’ll always wonder if I don’t try. I’ll always wonder, What if? and that’s a question I don’t want to be asking the rest of my life.
And also, for some reason I return to my childhood. One time in elementary school I stared at a poster. It was a photo of an empty basketball gym from the point of view from the free throw line. The basketball was on the floor with no one else in the room. The caption read: “You always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
The question still haunts me. But I have to take that shot.