Thursday, June 14, 2012

Book Review - Will Power Is Not Enough by A Dean Byrd and Mark D. Chamberlain

I hold that Jesus Christ is the author of change.  So, it seems, do Byrd and Chamberlain.  While that simple statement is profoundly true, there are some things we each must understand in order to tap into the power of change.  This little book has been tremendous in helping me effect change in my own life.

Here are a few notions from the book that seemed especially helpful to me:
"Problems of self-control are often misguided attempts to meet legitimate needs."
"The difference between "want to" and "should" is a profound one."
"Whether we are trying to abstain from alcohol, drugs, binge eating or gambling, most failed attempts can be traced back to some unexpected emotional stress."
"When it comes to changing our lives, our energy is often better spent in setting the sail than in rowing the boat." 
These all ring very true to me.  I found it motivating to better understand the situation I was really in before I tried to make adjustments to my behavior.  Often, I can find healthier ways to meet my emotional needs, which when met, cease to compel me to meet them in unhealthy ways.

The book is replete with case studies, which both illustrate the principles being described and also to help the reader realize the nature of their own self defeating behaviors.  It is one I will definitely re-read.

Perhaps the most telling part of the book for me, was the realization, from a case study, that the lion's share of my problem lies, not in misbehavior, but in being stuck in the middle of the bridge between the things I want.  On one end of the bridge are unhealthy means for meeting my emotional and spiritual needs.  On the other end are the good things I desire.  When I fail to understand what needs I hope to meet I fail to identify the uplifting ways God has designed to meet those needs.  I don't want to do the bad behaviors, but don't recognize their authentic alternative, so resisting the bad I'm like a dog stuck in the middle of the bridge with his loved master calling from one end and some appealing smell on the other.  I shudder to think of the hours and hours I've wasted in my life, not doing bad, just stuck in the middle of the bridge doing nothing.


1 comment:

Jim said...

I, too, enjoyed this book and in fact found your blog while searching for an excerpt from the book.

If you are interested, you can find my comments about the book at The post is titled "Invictus and Willpower" and is dated Dec. 2009.

I have enjoyed your blog so far and will have to keep reading!

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