There are different types of strength. There’s physical strength: working out to build muscles that will help your body move or lift objects. There’s emotional strength: some people are strong enough to deal with death and still be able to give a eulogy at a funeral. —I tend to cry watching an episode of The Waltons. There’s spiritual strength: a deep resolve in your heart of a higher being who has called you to a certain purpose. And there’s strength of character: building up character traits in your life so that you can stand for what you believe in, even in times of difficulty.
Today, I’m talking about building our strength of character. In order to build physical strength, you have to exercise your muscles. It takes repetitive movement and lifting weights to build muscle. The same is true with strength of character. You want to practice and be repetitive in using the character traits you want to build.
So let’s start by practicing character traits that are important to you. Take a look at the list of character traits I have on my website. There are over a hundred. You can’t focus on all of them. Just pick one or two to get started. Then, for the next 21 days, incorporate those character traits into your day. Make it a habit for 21 consecutive days. Focus on getting stronger in each area. Come up with activities you could do that incorporate that trait into your life. Visualize yourself being a person who is excellent at it. Then schedule it and put it in your planner and calendar.
Life doesn’t just “happen” to be joyful or happy. Well, it does, sometimes. I don’t know about you but I want my life to be “intentionally” joyful and happy, on purpose. Every day, you have to practice strength of character. Day in and day out, get up with the intention of making a difference, the intention of making your life matter. Then, when you have practiced it enough you will realize, hey, it already does! It always did! It was MY perspective, MY attitude, MY character that needed to change and be strengthened and built up.
The more you practice, the stronger you will become. Find someone who is great at a character trait that you want to build in your life and just ask them, “How did you get to be so strong at____________? It’s ok to let people know that you admire them. Sometimes people are flattered and humbled to know that others see something in them that they want to emulate. You could also grab a book to read about someone from history who had that character trait. What did they do in their lives that made them that way?
As with anything, the more you practice it, the better you get at it. I’ve heard it said that to be an expert at something, you need to put in 10,000 hours. (That’s about 8 hours a day over 3 years) It sounds like a lot, but it’s so true. I owned a sewing alterations business for about 7 years. I had in over 10,000 hours of hemming slacks. I can put in a hem like nobody’s business! 10,000 hours of character development will make you an expert, too.
When I get to the end of my life, I’d like to be known for my strength of character. I’d like people to say that I was someone that others could look to as an example of someone who lived life with joy and peace, who lived her life for God and her family.
What strength of character do you want for your life?