10,000 Hours

Posted on February 2, 2009

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I have been reading “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell. It’s an off-center look at successful people. It talks about the role the people around extraordinarily successful people play in their success. From Bill Gates to The Beatles to professional hockey players. A great quote is from Gladwell himself summing up this book: “This book is not about tall trees. This book is about forests.”

I used some illustrations in this book on a recent sermon I did on Biblical community. Quite an interesting read if you’ve not yet checked this one off of your reading list.

A very compelling portion of this book was when Gladwell talked about the 10,000 hour principle. The basic theory here is that it takes a person 10,000 to become an expert in their field. He chronicles Bill Gates’ early experiences on the first computers. The Beatles 8 hour sets/7 nights a week schedule in Hamburg, Germany. Many other examples.

I started to think about this in relation to faith. I was talking to Dara a couple of weeks ago about our faith walk in coming to Charlotte with no guaranteed pay. I asked her why she was so calm all the time about our current situation and her reply was immediate: “It’s easy for me to believe.”

I thought about the hours and hours that we have put in to prayer over the years. I thought about my childhood. I thought about observing my mom trusting God to simply keep the lights on at home. I thought about making it through college with no outside help. I thought about raising our kids and leaning on God to teach us so much. I started to add it up and I really think that Dara and I, individually, have both put in at least 10,000 hours of simply believing.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m by no means implying we are “experts” in having faith. To prove this point, just two weeks about I found myself leaning over the sink as I was washing dishes at Caribou Coffee praying this great prayer of faith (sarcasm): “Please, Lord, don’t forget me. Don’t forget my family. Don’t forget your promise to provide.” Not a prayer I’m very proud of, but I am very human. God understands. And he answered that prayer (of course).

I think the reason Dara could look back at me and say, “It’s easy for me to believe” is because God has brought us through so much. He has shown himself faithful in 10,000 hours-plus of having to believe. All of the experiences of our lives have led us to this point.

All of this to say this: don’t despise the current circumstances of your life. Even if you’re in the midst of complete breaking. Put your trust in God. Simply put – BELIEVE. The hours will continue to rack up and you’ll get to a point in your life where you’ll be able to confidently say, “It’s easy for me to believe.”

Matthew 6:25-27 – 25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

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