We seem to be relentlessly in pursuit of increased efficiency and efficacy in all areas of life and work. We hire personal coaches to help us exercise, scour blogs for better ways to solve problems and hire consultants who claim to offer surefire fixes to complex problems. We love book summaries that help us accelerate our way to knowledge and are bombarded advertisements promising shortcuts to health through weight loss pills and get-fit-quick infomercials.
Our obsession with cheap schemes to solve the great challenges of life, rather than committing to hard work, offers merely a facade of strength and solution. Instead, these tendencies are slowly weakening our ability to be truly strong.
Recently, I reread a great book by E.M. Bounds called “Power Through Prayer.” In the opening paragraph of this classic, written over 100 years ago, Bounds describes a cultural reality in the churches of the early 1900’s that by today’s standards is hauntingly prescient.
We are constantly on a stretch, if not a strain, to devise new methods, new plans new organizations to advance the gospel. This trend of the day has a tendency to lose sight of the man or sink the man in the plan or organization. God’s plan is to make much of the man, far more of him than of anything else. Men are God’s method. The Church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men.” ~ E.M. Bounds
Human nature it seems does not change all that much. These words could have been written today and be no less accurate. Across the generations, we have looked for countless ways to avoid doing the hard work of becoming stronger; or as E.M. Bounds puts it, “better” men or women. Instead we often seek the latest gimmick or organizational trick to gain the results we desire. Becoming stronger is really hard, and often we don’t want to do the work required.
Think about the last time you met someone who worked really hard to become a stronger. There is no denying the strength these people carry. Here are a few examples of people I know who have diligently done the work to become stronger:
- Becoming an Effective Manager: One friend spent 3 years reading books and listening to every podcast he could find on organizational management. In so doing, he developed true strength in his management skills.
- Becoming a Healthy Person: Another friend was nearly a hundred pounds overweight, started a fitness program, restricted her diet and is reaping the benefits of a healthy life, at healthier weight.
- Becoming Closer with with God: Another friend committed to getting up two hours before his kids in order to spend time with God each morning. He is reaping the rewards of a strong relationship with God.
- Becoming a Better Spouse: Another friend cut back on hours at work to invest time in her marriage. With in a few months, their love was reignited in an incredible way.
Each of these people, through grit and determination, have chosen do the work required to become “better.” Their careers, health, families and spiritual lives have been transformed. They have become tremendously strong.
Do you need to get stronger in an area of life? The solution is not to find a better method or organization, but to become a “better man (or woman).” The world needs better people to tackle the challenges of our society.
What are the things that come to mind when you think about becoming a better person? I would love to hear your thoughts… Leave a comment below.