Ok, background. This semester at The Mission, the college ministry I'm involved in here at UNM, we're reading through this book called Love Does by Bob Goff. It's awesome, and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone. Basically, Bob's main theme throughout the book is - surprise - love does. It's time to quit talking about loving people, and it's time to do it. Typically, though the chapters are short, I feel sort of like I've run into a wall after I'm done reading. Or I feel like I've been hit over the head with a brick. Every anecdote Bob shares brings to the surface a key point or a potent grain of truth. So I'm going to blog about what I'm learning because it's more fun this way, and I want all of you to read the book, too. Read with me! Tell me what you think! Let's be interactive! What does that mean?! I don't know! Let's find out! (End exclamation points, now...)
Chapter 1: "I'm With You"
Yikes. Bob starts right out with a story that hits close to home. He talks about how his Young Life leader, Randy, totally just takes off with him for like a week of roughing it in Yosemite right after Randy gets married. No plans, not a lot of money, Randy goes with Bob because young Bob basically is jumping ship on life as he knows it. After endless encouragement from Randy, Bob decides to head home and forego his wilderness life.
I love how Bob sums up Randy's actions. Bob says, "He (Randy) didn't just say he was for me or with me. He was actually present with me" (p. 8).
Hold the phone. First, what the heck, Randy? You've set the bar incredibly high for Young Life leaders all around the country, and I'm failing miserably. Just kidding. That's not what I took from this chapter, but it does inspire me to be a more involved leader. What I really draw from this story is the importance of being present in our daily interactions with people. What better way to love on people than to use the time we already have with said people? Instead of just saying we'll be somewhere or do something, I want to actually do it. If I have time with someone, I want to be there with them, not checking my phone, reading emails, playing Temple Run, Bejeweled Blitz, blah, blah, blah. I value the person I'm with, so I want to honor them with my attentiveness.
I drove back from California today with my friends, Marlee and Tyler. Marlee is so creative, and she started this fun game where she would ask quick questions (i.e. "According to the food you eat, what animal would you be"; "What foods make you gag"; "Favorite Christmas present ever"; etc. Just fun stuff!), and we'd all answer them. It morphed into more involved questions, and it was so fun. We used a chunk of our time to learn more about each other, laugh, and just be with each other. How cool! What are practical ways we can be present in our interactions with each other? And then how do we stop talking and start doing? That's what I struggle with!
Something else that hit me in this chapter was this question: what holds me back from extravagant love? Sidenote, I'm not talking about money at all here. I love that the dictionary defines "extravagance" as "unrestrained, unnecessary, fantastic excess." What stops me from loving the way Randy did in this story? And I'm not saying I need to drop everything in my life to do stuff for everyone else all the time. That's not right either. Honestly, though, I would never have done what Randy did. In fact, I wouldn't have even thought about going with Bob. Extravagant love like that is outside my comfort zone. But since when did God ask me to live a life of ease and comfort? That's the great thing about God. He stretches me until I think I might break, but instead, I grow. So how can I grow to this kind of love, a love that does? I'm working on it :)
Peace and blessings, y'all!