The Struggle to Be a “Better Man”

Keith KettenringChristian Living, The Uncommon Journey2 Comments

In his song Ledges, Noah Gunderson describes the struggles to learn to love and live life well. For the most part, our problems are of our own making. We don’t like to admit it. We’re tempted to play the victim.

But the reality is:

I’ve got a lot of loose ends, I’ve done some damage,

I’ve cut the rope, so it frayed,

I’ve got a lot of good friends, keeping me distracted,

keeping my sanity safe.

[Chorus:]

Here, I stand on the edge of the ledges I’ve made,

Looking for a steady hand.

Here, I stand in the land of the rocks in the valley,

Trying to be a better man (for you),

And I drink a little too much, it makes me nervous,

I’ve got my grandfather’s blood,

And I take a little too much, without giving back,

If blessed are the meek then I’m cursed.

[Chorus]

I want to learn how to love.

Not just the feeling,

bear all the consequences.

And I want to learn how to love,

And give it all back,

And be forgiven for all I’ve done.

[Chorus]

My Perspective

I have one issue with Noah’s approach: “trying to be a better man” is good but not good enough.

Trying to be better rarely works long term.

“Trying” puts the weight of change on your own actions which is why you’re messed up to begin with.

“Better” is a fuzzy, nebulous, always-shifting goal.

A better option is to stop trying to be anything or stop trying to change your behavior.

And, start walking a different path:

  1. Let go of your attempts to control yourself, others, and your situations.

  2. Present your heart/will to God over and over again in humble surrender and weakness.

  3. Focus your heart and mind on Jesus Christ who is able to transform you into the person you want to be.

By the grace of God and the work of the Holy Spirit, walking this path will help transform you from the inside out. Then no matter what you face – demons from your past or challenges in your future – you’ll know God is in you doing His will.

2 Comments on “The Struggle to Be a “Better Man””

  1. Thanks, Keith.

    And I think the “trying” still shows up as we “try” to surrender–Rather than fight or resist the dark parts of me, I have to live in surrender to God who is able to change the dark parts of me. But that takes practice, and it takes community, and it takes time.

    All of that takes a commitment to keep trying, not because I can get better, but because I can be made better by opening up to the Trinity as God draws near and draws me near to him.

    Thanks for sharing the song and your thoughts,

    1. I guess I was “trying” to move away from so much human effort. It’s tricky – how much trying is there in “letting go?” Practice, no doubt. If that’s what you mean by trying, I get it. The other issue is being “better.” Not sure what that means at all. My better might be contrary to God’s plan. I have no idea on that one. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. Keith

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *