This book is for the guy who is sick of being average.
What are you doing with your life right now?
Will it matter in five years?
As I started my journey to become the man God intended me to be, my answer to that last question was a resounding no. I was average. Perhaps below average. I was a mediocre husband. We were living paycheck to paycheck, and my closest friends hardly realized I thought of myself as a Christian. Deep down, I knew there was more to life. I knew there had to be more. The hard part of being average and trying to become more is that average is comfortable. It’s what culture drives us to be, but as Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”1 The average man is complacent and lethargic. It ruffles feathers to speak your mind and stand by your worldview, so it’s easier to do and say nothing. Men, not only can we be better than that, but we need to be better than that!
Gentlemen, as believers in Christ, we are called to glorify God in all we do. We are supposed to reach unbelievers with the gospel. We’re called to sharpen each other through community. The next generations need us to lead by example.
Being average simply wasn’t good enough for me. This book is about learning what it means to end average in our lives. It’s also about learning how to stay on course once you’ve figured out what biblical “right” looks like.
My journey has been made up of countless hours of studying the Bible, learning from academic studies, and being mentored. As I learned new concepts, I experimented with new habits and mentalities, testing the things I was learning in order to see whether they worked in the real world. Some things worked, and some did not. As I sifted through information and ideas, I realized that it would be impossible to cut through all the expert advice we’re overwhelmed with either online or in bookstores. Spirituality, relationship management, fitness, money management—there are thousands of directions the gurus want to take you. I had to go back to the source. I decided that the Bible is where I needed to start.
When Secret Service agents are trained to detect false currency, the first thing they do is learn and study real currency. They learn the feel, the look, the smell, and the nuances. Only upon mastery of the real bills do they move on to learn about various ways false currency is printed and how to spot it.
In the same way, learning the truth directly from the Bible made it easier to see through all the noise and misinformation. A clear pattern of biblical habits and mentalities started to become clear. It boiled down to this: I learned that a real personal faith in Jesus Christ is the single most important thing in our lives. The Bible tells us exactly how to get that faith and how to grow it.
I also learned that there are clear guidelines about how to glorify God—how to glorify Him in the way we choose our crowd and influences, use our money, and take care of our bodies. These are very practical lessons that help us see that we get to glorify God in everything we do.
As you’ll discover, attempting to control and change behavior for the wrong reasons is more useless than a cup of decaf. It simply doesn’t matter, and you’ll chase your tail until you’re ragged, and then you will give up. Ask me how I know. Heart change is what we’re after. Change your heart to seek what is holy, and the thought patterns and behaviors will follow.
Gentlemen, this book is about flexing our faith between Sunday sermons. Practical living as a Christian man is not that complicated, but it does require intentionality and vulnerability.
In this book, you’ll find the real-world habits that keep me growing in my walk with God, my relationships, my physical health, and my finances. They are all very much intertwined. You’ll also find out that there is no life-hack, sermon, course, or seminar that will turn your life around with one simple trick. If that’s what you’re looking for, then this book isn’t for you. I can teach you the life lessons I learned the hard way so your learning curve won’t be as steep as mine was at the beginning.
Understand this, though. I do not claim to be perfect. I’m far from it, but I feel compelled to write this book because I see the potential that is completely dormant in a huge percentage of Christian men today. Hopefully, I can combine the experiences I had growing up abroad as a missionary kid with the lessons learned as a special operations operator in the Army and deliver these concepts in a new way that will make sense to you. I hope to give you real, practical, and actionable advice that you can implement today.
I served in my Army unit in psychological operations for several years over the course of multiple deployments with men I consider brothers. One Saturday, those men invited me to go bowling with them the next day. I declined and said, “Sorry guys, I’m going to church tomorrow morning.” With a confused look, one of my buddies looked at me and said, “Dude, you’re a Christian?” It hit me like a ton of bricks. I was ashamed. I have identified as a Christian since I was a child, but my behavior, language, interests, and attitudes told a whole different story.
That was the moment I realized I needed to correct my course and begin to end average in my life. Mediocrity and complacency had to go. I started that day, and I’ve never looked back.
Join me as I tell you what I’ve discovered since that moment.
Let’s do this.
Everything we do either gets us closer to or further away from becoming the husbands our wives deserve, the fathers our kids need, and, ultimately, the men God intends us to be. ‘End Average’ is a reality check for men identifying as Christians. Ryan Hansen dives into what it takes to achieve permanent heart change that leads to balanced and consistent growth in faith, relationships, health, and finances. Through examples from his own hard-learned lessons and from wisdom found in the Bible, you’ll see what faith in action looks like between Sunday sermons. ‘End Average’ will challenge you to start living with intentionality and purpose as you seek to glorify God in everything you do.
Ryan Hansen is a coffee-loving author and speaker with a calling to help those around him find Jesus. He is married to his lovely wife, Jenna, and together they are raising their four children in California. After growing up as a missionary kid in Italy and Germany, Ryan joined the U.S. Army and spent eight years as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division and as a psychological operations staff sergeant. After leaving the Army, he earned an MBA while pursuing a sales career in the medical industry. Aside from daydreaming about being able to one day play the guitar well, Ryan spends his time playing with his kids, improving his beer-brewing abilities, and (unsuccessfully) talking his wife out of more Disneyland trips.