I think we all want to be better at whatever we are, or want to be. I’ve never met anybody that woke up, looked in the mirror and stated, “I am so glad that I am mediocre.” I tend to wake up each morning and immediately start cranking out thoughts about how to lead a better church, serve a better way, strengthen my bank of wisdom, discernment, and mercy. I love attempting to INSTIGATE BETTER!
A better me seems to be the more challenging task. I serve beside some incredible leaders and even better people. In short, I am passionate about trying to be better. I’ve found dozens of ways to improve, but here are my four favorites that are fail-proof ways to be a better whatever you are.
- Read More! Dr. James Merritt challenged me to become a reader back in the 80’s and I’ve been reading daily since that time. He said it to me and someone probably said it to him – “Leaders are Readers!” I know that is a true statement. Did you know that the total percentage of U.S. high school graduates who will never read a book after high school is 33%? That might have been me, but I consume books, periodicals and more to sharpen my brain, better my understanding of the world and at times, just to enjoy a good read! I have learned that reading at any level has huge benefits, even with the occasional novel or military history book. If you want to grow into all you were designed to be, START READING! If you read 15 minutes each day, you will consume more than 1 million words or about 20 books in a year.
- Start a Gratitude Journal! If you have never done this, you’ll most likely think this is a silly waste of time. I didn’t believe this would truly help build a better me, but it has been life-altering. I use the “Daily AHA” from the Sugar HIll Church APP, but you might also enjoy the “5 Minute Journal” either in hardback or in the APP. The only thing that has had a greater impact on my quest for better, other than a Gratitude Journal has been meditation (see number 4).
- Choose and stick to a Daily Affirmation. Once I’ve completed my Gratitude Journal, I move to a Daily Declaration. Think of it as a statement or affirmation of the person you want to be that day. I would never tell you to be something your not, but most of us have some insecurities and blind spots that we can identify and we can specifically declare that we will rise above them on that day. Today, my Daily Declaration was, “I will seek and see the good in others without judgment or indifference.” Yesterday, my Declaration was, “I will keep my attitude on the high road, with a passionate desire to make a difference in my day’s journey.” You get it, right?
- Meditate on What Matters Most! A lot of folks see the word meditation and rush to the mental image of crossed legs, incense, barefoot yogis, and far eastern rituals. Meditation – to me – is this simple: I set aside 5-10 minutes, find a place of quietude and solitude. I start by taking a few deep breaths that set my soul at peace. I then read a piece of scripture from either the Sugar Hill Church APP and/or the He Reads Truth APP. I then read the short commentary that accompanies the text. I enter into a time of prayer in this order 1) Telling the Divine how grateful I am 2) Ask the Divine to do a work in me that only He can do 3) Ask God to step into someone else’s life to do what only He can do. All of that prayer is out loud, which really had a profound impact on my walk with Christ. I then sing. I firmly believe that when we meditate on what matters, we are consistently growing toward better!
I know these aren’t earth-shattering, but each of these has created in me – a better me. I’ve still got a million miles to trek on my journey to better, but I know that you will get on your path toward better when you put them to work in your life, as well!