Occasionally you meet someone, and the purity of their spirit cannot be masked or hidden. You feel their energy immediately. This virtue does not mean they are perfect; it does say that they have a gift to make a difference. If you are one of our regular readers, then you are likely familiar with Clyde Strickland and his quest to change lives.
If you aren’t familiar with Clyde, it will not take long for you to find evidence of his efforts in Gwinnett. Clyde is a force that leaves a wake of betterment. Whether he is driving momentum on one of his projects or sharing blessings with the cashier in the checkout line, Clyde radiates joy and a quest to spread it. Clyde speaks with a passion and purity that makes you believe that his hopefulness is possible for you, too.
Some people proverbially have to hit rock bottom before they can make changes. Clyde did this rather literally when he fell off of a building in 1966. However, the resulting broken back, 276 stitches in his face, and hole in his knee did not break his will or grateful spirit. In fact, the impact only strengthened those qualities in Clyde. The details of stories like this one and how he takes an apparent tragedy and turns it into blessings of abundance make up Clyde Strickland’s latest book, What Can I Do?
What Can I Do? is not merely documentation of the rise of a successful businessman from humble beginnings. While that theme is indeed a thread in Clyde’s life tapestry, it is not the plot. What Can I Do? is, instead, a story of creating prosperity out of pure will and grit. It is a story of purposefully serving others when there was little more than mustered faith to offer. It is about finding blessings in setbacks.
As Clyde’s son, Michael, explains in the forward of the book, Clyde IS the American story. There are many books out there about successful businessmen, about changing your projected course in life, about faith, or about miracles. But you will be hard-pressed to find them all in one book. What Can I Do? is that book—it has all of those, which is why it is a book for everyone. What Can I Do? will change lives. Hard stop. Speaking with Clyde Strickland even just a few times inspired change in me. I know everyone who reads What Can I Do? will turn the last page a different person than when they first cracked the cover.
While an alluring goal, actually inspiring change is a tricky endeavor. I’m sure we all have asked or prayed the question, “What can I do?” However, I think that often is not the true end of our question. What we really mean is, “What can I do to make this person do what I want them to do?” We often try to spin our version of what should happen in a way that makes us think we are doing something noble. We play games with ourselves.
Clyde Strickland is a profoundly spiritual man; there is no game to his faith. When Clyde prays, “What can I do?” there are no conditions. His only agenda is to help others experience the joy Clyde has in his own heart. He lives it. He leads by serving (and maybe also by expecting a lot from others—but nothing he wouldn’t also expect from himself). Some people think that the way to get people to experience the joy of God is to get them to church. They believe that if they can only get that lost soul inside the four walls of their church, they will see God. Clyde has a completely different philosophy. Clyde sees the church as a place to get renewed or place to recharge. “The mission field starts when you leave the church,” Clyde explains, “You can’t reach Christians waiting for them to come to church.”
The best way to lead people is to embody something that they want.Clyde has something in his heart and soul that people recognize and want for themselves. Faking that kind of peace and joy is impossible. Clyde has figured something out that we all spend a lot of time and money trying to find. Clyde is trying to share some of his wisdom and experience through his book. If you have ever wished you had a little more joy in your heart, I challenge you to read Clyde’s story. Whether you go to church every Sunday, haven’t been inside a church in years, or even are sick of hearing about God because of all the hypocrites you see, I challenge you to read What Can I Do? Clyde Strickland is bona fide.
Besides his deep-rooted faith, education is synonymous with Clyde’s efforts to serve people. Clyde serves by giving people an opportunity to learn and further their education. He also sees education as the road, not the destination. He reiterates this when he says, “Never let a lack of learning stand in the way of being successful.” Clyde’s various destinations in life have been a success. That said, education and relentless grit were the roads that got him there every time. He never waited to know it all before he started. We often want to have everything prepared before we take the first step. The problem with this strategy is that life is predictably unpredictable. By the time we feel prepared, the goal has changed, information has changed, the world has moved while we stood still. Clyde keeps moving, and each step gives him a new view of what he needs to learn.
If you feel stagnant or lost in which way to go, take a step for yourself and read Clyde’s book, What Can I Do? See if it helps you move toward joy. You are worth that chance.
What Can I Do? available on amazon.com for $12.95.