Resilient commitment to help others and bring your deepest and best to the table will develop the kind of character needful to carry success with grace.
I’ve been pondering recently about a deep work. Now this is a subject that’s been popularised by the books by Cal Newport and others, but it’s so true. It’s not a conversation that is new, though. It’s easy to miss your awesome if you just keep skimming on the surface and the temptation to stop digging when the creative going gets tough is very real. There’s a noisy world out there intent to bring you back to the shallows so they can lay another sale to your account.
Really, a lot of the noise is really calling you to part with cash in the vain hope that the promises of easy riches are going to solve your problems now, as much as I respect, and I’m a salesman myself. As much as I respect the opportunities that we do have today and the vast and broad spectrum of them, they are not all for everybody, and more to the point, they are not all for you. I want to encourage you to instead go deep. Speaking of the Church, Leonard Ravenhill said, people say that the Church today is growing and expanding and somewhat cynically potentially.
But I think there was a lot of truth in what he said.
He said yes, it’s 10 miles wide now and about a quarter of an inch deep. Jim Simbala, one of my favourite teachers on prayer, expanded on this in his sermon. Deeper, not wider. And he said this. He said the tendency today is to merely splash around in trees for a while and then jump outside the well to the surrounding soil.
Look at this. God is doing a new thing, people proclaim in six months or so. Of course, the novelty wears off and they jump again to a new patch of grass. They spend their whole lives hop scotching from one side of God’s will to the other, never really probing the depths of the living waters inside. That’s what Jim said regarding the same subject.
It’s true of the Church, but also so true in the realm of business, perhaps even more so. The very nature of selling demands that new things populate the shelves in order to keep the coffers rolling and the FOMO fear of missing out vacuum is always sucking otherwise intelligent entrepreneurs back to the surface. We begin to dig in one direction and then the new offer turns up or the new opportunity or the latest thing, and we dig our way back up to the surface before we discover the real riches that lay down in the depths.
The surface is not where you’re going to discover the kind of genius that impacts people at the deep heart level that you want to. The Scriptures say this in Psalm 42:7, deep calls to deep, and so digging deep.
Man is so much harder work than skimming the surface, which is why it’s not so popular. It takes discipline to stay the course through discouraging seasons or hard rock like problems and sometimes all you see in front of you is more dirt to dig, and the diamonds that you’re seeking remain elusive. It’s tempting to return to the surface for a fix of Zirconia. It looks like the real thing, but doesn’t take nearly as much time or pressure to form. Buying a new shiny thing provides the fix we need to numb ourselves to the reality that work, and often much work is required if we ever plan to discover our deepest and most impacting contributions that we can bring to the world. Again, let me speak from Cal Newport’s book that I referenced earlier.
Deep work rules for focused success in a distracted world, he said. This, he said the ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, a few who cultivate the skill and then make it the core of their working life will thrive now. That sounds marvellous, doesn’t it? He doesn’t want to thrive.
The issue, Cal, is that I want to thrive by the end of next week, not in ten years. Time. Often a rush to become a perfect self and see all of the breakthrough that we dream of. A desire to see it happen yesterday, if possible, and if not today or tomorrow would be acceptable is one of the things that really hampers us. I believe in actually moving towards that deep place where we found our rhythm and where we found and plumbed our genius.
And I’m not suggesting that all breakthroughs take ten years. Some can happen in that lightning moment of inspiration or a fortunate connection. But often they don’t. And the cost of discovering our deep whatever that may be really does begin to add up. Yes, it will take work, and yes, it will take time and often an investment of money as well as you learn and grow and expand inwardly before you see anything happening outwardly of any kind of note.
But all of these are necessary components in the push to plumb our potential. Again, Newport warned this, he said, efforts to deepen your focus will struggle if you don’t. Simultaneously, wean your mind from a dependence on distractions. Distractions of the obvious kind may be or actually may not be easy to stave off willpower can stop you scrolling the screen potentially. But like, be careful, man, the undercurrents of these apps that we so readily give ourselves to are so strong that to move against them is to swim against the tide.
But often it’s the zirconese distractions. Those are the ones that I want to address today. These pretend jewels that keep being presented to us. They’re so pregnant with the promise of a new future, but they may be the most dangerous. They glitter with this promise of ease and effortless.
Relief from the grind of growing your breakthrough is just one click away. Plus, you’ll get all of these bonuses. Now again, I just want to stress as much as I might be, kind of putting a frame on a certain thing and speaking in a manner that is broad stroke. It’s more the culture that I’m poking at. It’s more the culture of this Internet online marketing marketplace and the way things are sold that really sometimes can hook us and keep pulling us away from really moving in prayer and moving with intention towards discovering something deeper than the latest greatest opportunity that’s sat on the shelf as digital entrepreneurs and creators.
There’s always going to be another great opportunity knocking on that door. And of course, the latest app yet one more tantalising challenge to tip your life into whatever glorious fulfilment you’re looking for. But often our garden just gets holier in the sense of like holes dug. We go down a few inches and then we resurface and then go dig another hole somewhere else. We learn a little about many things but never know much about the one or but a few things that we’ve been called to really master so we can bring extreme value to the people that we’re called to serve.
And instead of fruitfulness, we find a patch of ground in life piled high with often disappointed hopes and spent efforts. So whether it’s prayer, whether it’s your craft, whether it’s your business, the ability to stay the course and dig deep without fear of missing out on what everyone else is doing and the direction they are taking is one that I believe we must cultivate, and indeed more and more so. There are three skills that I want to just quickly cover that speak to this digging deep and discovering the genuine diamond subjects that you are called to really deliver heavy duty.
There are many facets to the deep digging commitment, but these three will crop up again and again as you pursue your passion. Number one, we need to align our pursuit with God’s purpose. Ephesians 210 teaches that we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that he has already prepared for us to walk in. Now, God’s purpose for you is sure and certain, not fickle and fleeting. And digging in to find your zone of genius is as much about prayer as it is about prowess.
It’s not just about being good at doing something or knowing a lot about something. It’s a place where you connect with your heart and connect with the purpose of God. And so making prayer priority, I think, is one of the big keys taking a leaf out of Mary’s book when she sat at the feet of Jesus. Jesus pace may not be the adrenaline fueled mad dance that the world plays, and your dopamine levels may be cold turkeyed by his refusal to keep jabbing you with a new hit of excitement every 6 seconds.
But when you relent and allow the shepherd to lead, your fear of missing out will be washed away and the delights of a deeper connection with God, a more resolute contentment and a greater recognition of value and worth.
That supersedes and goes beyond just the money that you make or the notoriety that you conjure is going to become so much more real to you. There is a great, beautiful, deep, abiding, peace and joy that remains for the people of God, and it’s not going to be found in the frenetic pursuit of things, whether those things are physical things or whether those things are the emotional trinkets that we want to store up, we need to allow our heart to find its place of peace. We need to find our connection with Jesus first and then have everything else follow.
The second thing that I want to encourage you to do is to keep digging the treasures that you’re seeking inward treasure that you are called to bless the world with. They’re not on the surface and the house that you and your legacy.
The legacy that you want to leave behind is not built on sand. Don’t be discouraged if results don’t drop instantly like ripe fruit from a shaken tree. I know it’s easy to say, and sometimes the journey seems very long, but even this piece of writing, even this podcast, as I share today, is to some degree inspired by my own deep excavation, and it’s an encouragement to myself to stay the course and not give up right before the breakthrough. If you know that your direction is set by God, if you know that you are aligned with this purpose and it fits with your passion and personality, be ready to settle into a rhythm that consistently moves you towards realisation, create something toward that every day, building habits that strengthen your resolve, continue to add value and share generously, even when all you apparently see is more dirt and rocks to dig through.
And this kind of resilient commitment to help others and bring your best and deepest to the table will develop the kind of character needful to carry success when it comes with Grace.
And then Thirdly, travel light. Now in the drive to discover your deep, you may find yourself diverted on many occasions, despite firm focus in one direction, the sire and cause of opportunity may bring you back to the surface, only to be let down again. Sometimes we can feel that I may just be speaking for myself. But man, sometimes we can feel like such a failure because we don’t live up to all of the shiny promises that entice us behind the buy button. But even if you’re not diverted, even if you stay fully focused in your course and direction, unfazed by all of the noise, some of the subterranean lessons that we need to learn on the way to our treasure are going to be taught by one of the masterful mindset coaches, one that we’re all tutored with to one degree or another and whose disguise we do tend to despise.
And that is the lessons that failure can teach us. I like to think that failing is future success wrapped in a lesson to learn, it comes disguised success. Future success comes disguised as failure. If we can recognise that and strip it back, we’ll understand that there are some deep lessons that we can learn that will then become a great blessing and strength to others as we keep moving forward. Let’s learn our lessons well and carry the wisdom forward with us.
But leave the baggage behind now, not allowing yesterday’s mess ups and missteps to weigh us down. Take that next step. Dig that next spadeful. Keep hope and faith as your light filled guides. Even Jesus himself was led to times of testing in his wilderness experience, but he returned in the power of the spirit.
I believe that we can do the same wilderness moments, times of testing, times of trial times where we have the opportunity to diminish our view of ourself or our abilities are going to probably be many and scattered on the pathway to your ultimate success. But these wilderness moments are part of our training, and if we can embrace them as such, it will make us and strengthen us and mould us to be the people that we need to be when we stand before the audience that God has called us to Minister to.
Let’s be a people who are deep, not just wide. Let’s dig with purposeful, intent to become all that we have been created to be. And don’t let the hardness of the way stop you in your tracks.
Your diamond day is coming and the world will be a richer place because you chose to keep digging well, thanks for listening. Hopefully. It’s been an encouragement to you today. If you want to connect any further, you can do so through my website davidleemartin.com.
Have a great day.