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Resolved to Experiment

Resolved to Experiment
 

Happy New Year!

If you’re anything like most Americans (and me), right now you’re probably  gearing up for a New Year’s resolution… or stubbornly refusing to think about one, and chances are six months from now, we’ll all be back where we started feeling dejected and wistfully thinking, “next year…” Instead of even more exercise equipment gathering dust in the corner, self-help books sitting half read, or somber feelings of missing the bandwagon to a better you, let me propose an alternative.

What would it look like to live your life as an experiment?

You remember science class, right? Hypothesis, Experiment, Observation… What would it look like to go about a  new challenge with that mindset we had back in science class? How might it change your ministry, your leaders, or even yourself?  We all know that discipline is a good and a necessary part of life. It changes us, but when we take that newly found discipline and make it a once-a-year, all-or-nothing shot in the dark, we leave no room for the inevitable failure.

That’s why I like experiments; they give us permission to fail. They even anticipate failure. While searching for the perfect design for a light bulb, American inventor Thomas Edison famously said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” It’s the mindset of someone living an experiment.

The 30 Day Challenge

For me, this experimental living has taken the shape of 30 day challenges. 30 days of intentionally experimenting with something new. My inspiration came from a TED talk by Matt Cutts which led me to the book, The Guinea Pig Diaries by A.J. Jacobs.  Jacobs took an entire year to try a new experimental way of living every month.

Over the past four months, I’ve taken on four of these 30 day challenges – everything from counting /limiting my calories and running a quarter mile more every day; to reading a stack of books in 30 days and exploring carpentry as a way of becoming more creative.

Those experiments have been enlightening to say the least. Yes, I learned a few new skills, but what really surprised me was the clarity it brought to me about myself:

  • I am a crazy go-getter who works too hard, feels the need to keep busy and constantly fidgets.
  • I like food enough to eat too much of it.
  • I struggle with patience and empathy.
  • I am all about the final product and not the process.

What I didn’t realize was how these things were impacting my day to day. Four months into this life of experiments, I find myself rethinking who I am, who I want to be, and if I’ll end up being the man of God that He desires. These challenges have affected my time.  The days seem to slow down, as I become more aware of my actions and reactions.  Instead of days and weeks blurring together and flying by, they’ve become more robust and full of meaning with this new-found intentionality.

Coincidentally, Running is still tough, but I now feel a lot better with less food in my belly.  I’m a better leader, manager and vision-caster when I put energy into the process, but I also know I’m better at gutting a house than I am at building fine cabinetry.  When you take on a new experiment, some things will always come easier than others, but the results are always worthwhile.

What is your 30 day challenge going to be?

  • Write a handwritten thank-you card for your ministry leaders every day.
  • Go for a walk with a friend.
  • Cook dinner at home for your family every day.
  • Read 30 books of the Bible.
  • Write your kids a personalized story.

I challenge you to take the next 30 days and discover more about yourself, your ministry and those who serve with you.Leave a comment and share your 30 Day Challenge ideas.  Then, check back in to let us know how it is going.  We would love to hear from you.

Ben Myers
Camp Director at Arrowhead Bible Camp
Ben Myers has served as the Camp Director at Arrowhead Bible Camp in Brackney, PA for the past 13 years. Arrowhead is a ministry committed to discipleship through its programs for adults with developmental disabilities, missions opportunities for youth groups, and mentoring of High School and College students. Ben also teaches as an adjunct professor at Lancaster Bible College and holds degrees from Cairn University and Baptist Bible Seminary.
  1. Elaine01-06-12

    I can’t tell you how much this resonates with me! I have some of the same and/or similiar challenges on my list!

    I struggle with getting/maintaining organization, so an additional challenge on my list is the 15 min/day cleaning method. I take one small area, like a drawer, shelf or a corner and work on it until it is done.

    Blessings to You, Ben! I appreciate you and your family sooo much!