The definition of manplaining is synonymous with complaining. Might as well make it more personal, replacing the ‘com’ with the one who creates the words of complaining and creating the word manplaining. What does this entail exactly? Let’s look at a passage of scripture as an example found in the fifth chapter of John.
The place was called Bethesda, an aquatic area where at times it was known to be a place where people could be healed of various ailments; all except one, who was always there waiting to be placed in the water but never was.
- Point #1: if you want something done, you may have to do it yourself, unless you like having a reason to manplain. This appears to be the case here, as the crippled man was by the water for some thirty-eight years! Imagine that for a moment, but don’t come down hard on this man, take a look at yourself. How many times have you been in a situation that frustrates you, but instead of implementing some sort of change you manplain? Why do we do that? Maybe, like the man in the biblical story, there may be some fear associated with the unknown atmosphere of change, vs. being set in the territory of frustration, pain and the like. You may not like being in this territory, but at least you know what to expect from it. Could this be what is going on with the man in the bible? Could this be you? Jesus comes on the scene, asking the man if he wants to be made whole. Here is the moment! It has finally arrived! After three and a half decades of trying to get healed, the man is being presented with an opportunity! Instead of his answering the question with “Yes, I do” with excited anticipation, instead he manplains. He tells Jesus he has tried to get in the water, but no one helps him in get in the water. Herein is point #2:
- He depends on others to get his blessing. He may depend on others to do things for him, but has he tried new things himself? Here is a new thing about to unfold, yet he stays in the familiar realm of the usual instead of embracing the amazing frontier of being whole. Question: When the new is presented that can solve your dilemma, how do you react?
There is a happy ending to the man of Bethesda. He is no longer an invalid, but he is valid in the eyes of Jesus. The now healed man was able to walk, showing everyone who is used to seeing him one way, now carrying his mat instead of sitting on it. The man, now made whole was asked by the Jews who healed him, but the man did not know. Later, Jesus found the man went to the temple, and told him to sin no more, lest something worse will come upon him. The healed man left and found the Jews, telling them who healed him.
- Point #3: Follow directions, even if those directions are not according to the usual way of doing things. Jesus healed the man on the Sabbath and the man once healed followed directions of carrying his bed and walking. The Jews complained that he should not be carrying anything because it was the Sabbath, and Jesus should not have healed the man on the Sabbath. Question: Is it normal for everyone (including you) to manplain about this and that? What would happen if you did something different, like say ‘this is the day that the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it?’ What a change that would be! A mindset shift to rejoice and not manplain. What a concept! Think you can refrain from the world of mainplain?
So take a week asking God for help from the concept of manplaining to being glad in the process of life. Keep a log of how you felt, and if you will continue on this journey. It will take some time to make the change, but this could be a blessing, particularly being a caregiver of someone who frequently complains and attempts to pull you into that realm. Drop me a line and let me know how it went.