This week I am going to discuss some of the principles and insights I gained from reading the first book of my 2018 Reading Challenge, Love Does by Bob Goff. If the author had to describe himself in one word he would undoubtedly use the word “whimsy.” He uses the term often in the book and, if you’re like me, you may have a general idea what it means but not exactly. The dictionary defines whimsy as capricious humor or disposition; extravagant, fanciful, or excessively playful expression. Unless you can prove the stories in this book are not true, the author has definitely lived a life of whimsy. So how can we do the same? We can take the love God has placed in our hearts and make sure we use it as a verb rather than just a noun.
Our faith in God requires us to be present and make a sacrifice. For the author, it is simply Jesus plus nothing. Many times, we try to make things too complicated and we try to fit God into the way we think the world works. In reality, when we have faith in God we have the security to be able to traverse anything that happens in the world and see how everything in the world can fit into God’s ultimate plan. We don’t have to fit ourselves into the world and we have the freedom to enjoy the journey.
When we struggle to come to terms with events that unfold in our lives, the author says God often sends us these things to point us toward Him. Each time one of these happenings occurs we have the choice to lean in toward what is unfolding or back away and put ourselves in victim mode. Don’t worry, we have all done this and sometimes it takes time for us to come to terms with what has happened. But the sooner we can start looking to see how this particular piece fits into the puzzle, the sooner we can use our situation to improve our own lives and be a model for others.
When we participate in life with Jesus, obstacles no longer seem insurmountable and we realize there is nothing that disqualifies us from greatness. Does this mean God will reach down and present us with everything we want? No, but we see with God all things are possible and there is absolutely no reason God cannot work wonders and miracles through the vocations we accept each day. It also means we need to stop thinking we need some fancy title, qualifications, or someone’s permission to live our legacy. We have Jesus’s permission and that is all we need.
Words of encouragement have power and, when said by the right people, can change everything. I guarantee if we reflect on our lives we can identify at least one time where someone changed our life with something they said to us. The challenge for many of us is to be the person who speaks words of encouragement. This has been an area of emphasis for me recently. The good news is there are hundreds of opportunities every day to do this. All it takes is awareness of these situations and the bravery to choose encouragement.
“Will you take what you think defines you, leave it behind, and let Me (Jesus) define who you are instead?” This question struck me more than any other words in this book. As we go through life and try to figure out our place in the world, we often try to find a job, a vocation, a performance, or an ability that will create a legacy to leave behind. And although many of us try to make a positive impact on the world through our position or projects that we do, this is a great reminder whether we do those things or not, it does not define us because Jesus has already done that. When we do not need anything of this world to define us, we are freed up to love, serve, and care without the expectation of anything in return.
Jesus constantly talked about a reverse economy. In order to lead, we must follow and in order to receive, we must give. This is the opposite of much of what we are taught in society and it is hard to have the courage to stand out when we face ridicule and rejection. We often look at a situation and one of the first things we analyze is what’s in it for us or what are we going to get out of this? This mentality may seem like it works because we are often able to gain short-term happiness by acquiring the external things we want, but if we would like to experience long-term fulfillment, then we need to follow the laws of the reverse economy.
Our relationship with Jesus is not a business trip. He invites us on a daring adventure and actually wants us to chase the things that inspire and challenge us; He just wants to come along on the ride. Along the way, he is helping shape who we are by what happens to us. The most daring adventures don’t have an exact itinerary either. When we are with someone we trust, we don’t need to know all the details. All we need to do is make the decision to go and enjoy the ride knowing eventually we will arrive where God wants us to be.
Be secretly incredible. God wants us to do great things, not just talk about them. In other words, love must be a verb and not just a noun. This is the best way to honor God and give Him thanks for creating us. But after we do these things, God still doesn’t want us to talk about them. This is what the author means with being secretly incredible. We can do incredible things without ever being recognized for them. The less time we spend worrying about receiving the credit for what we have done, the more time we have to go out and do more incredible stuff.
The best way to live life is palms up. What the author means by this is that we have nothing to hide and we have nothing to lose or gain. Palms up means being vulnerable and being our true and authentic self. Palms up means we don’t need anything else because we have Jesus.
Bob Goff is a masterful storyteller who had me chuckling often as I read this whimsical book. The chapters were broken down into readable chunks with the main idea of the chapter clearly stated at its outset. I would highly recommend this book for one reason: it made me think. And that is the power of great books. They cause us to reflect on our own lives and how we can apply this new knowledge to help us enjoy the journey.
To purchase a copy of Love Does click HERE!
To check out the list of books I have chosen for my 2018 Reading Challenge please visit www.riseaboveleadership.com/library
Inspiring leaders to Rise Above and Enjoy the Journey!
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