Well, it's been a long time since I told you about the books I've been reading. There is a huge stack of books by my bed that I won't put away until I blog about them. I thought I would start with Love Does by Bob Goff. Have you read it???
Even though I read it last summer, it has really stuck with me.
Love Does really challenged me to stop planning, thinking, and talking about doing stuff, and just do something. It's no secret to people who know me well that I love to plan. I will plan anything...parties, lessons, vacations, etc. You name it, and I will plan it. Also, I tend to be a big dreamer. There are so many projects and ideas floating around in my head all the time. My biggest problem is that I find it hard to get past the dream and start doing. When I arrive in heaven, I don't want to have to say, "Well, I had a lot of good ideas, but I didn't act on any of them." Instead, I want to make sure that I don't miss opportunities for myself and our family to serve others and share Jesus.
Here are a few quotes from the book that really stood out to me:
This one pretty much sums up the whole book:
"In the end, love doesn't just keep thinking about it or keep planning for it. Simply put: love does." (p. xiv)
"I think of church as a vibrant community of people consisting of two or more of varied backgrounds gathering around Jesus. Sometimes they are at a place that might have a steeple or auditorium seating. But it's just as likely that church happens elsewhere, like coffee shops or on the edge of a glacier or in the bush in Uganda. All of these places work just fine, I suppose. When it's a matter of the heart, the place doesn't matter. For me, it's Jesus plus nothing-not even a building." (p. 14)
I couldn't agree more with the quote above. It's Jesus plus nothing. Period. It is so frustrating to me when we as humans get all torn up over the color of the carpet in the church or some other unimportant issue. It's all about Jesus. Not carpet. Or anything else for that matter.
"I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I'm more afraid of succeeding at things that don't matter." (p. 25)
That one hit me really hard. A year later, I'm still thinking about it and asking Jesus to help me focus on what truly matters for eternity. Those things that have eternal significance.
"God is always trying to save lives, and it seems like He usually uses the least likely people to do it. So the next time God asks you to do something that is completely inexplicable, something you're sure is a prank because it requires a decision or courage that's way over your pay grade, something that might even save lives, say yes." (p. 66)
This idea is really tough for me. I so want to be willing, but I wouldn't necessarily use the words brave and courageous to describe myself. In fact, I often find myself completely tangled up in fear. I don't want that fear to control my obedience to Christ. It's hard.
"I think God's hope and plan for us is pretty simple to figure out. For those who resonate with formulas, here it is: add your whole life, your loves, your passions, and your interests together with what God said He wants us to be about, and that's your answer." (p. 143)
Oh wow! I struggle with this so much. It seems I'm constantly trying to make sure I know and am completely following God's will for my life. I've been reading a lot about this from other sources too. What seems to keep coming up is that since God created us, He is the one who planted those desires, dreams, and talents inside us. Of course, we need to make sure we are using them in ways that line up with the Bible. It just feels super freeing to me to know that the ideas in my head aren't a surprise to God. They are there for a purpose, and I just need to make sure to use them for His glory.
"What I realized about my faith is that I was doing just that, collecting information and memorizing things about God. I collected pictures and gathered artifacts and bumper stickers about Christianity, and I talked about knowing Jesus like we were best friends, when actually, we really hardly knew each other at all. And I memorized Bible verses and the names of the books of the Bible in order and the sequence of a bunch of events as well as who was there. At some point I had to confess that I was stalking Jesus." (p.198)
Because I am a rule follower in life, I tend to make sure I'm doing all the "things" right. Checking off all the boxes and calling it done without experiencing true relationship with Jesus. This also reminds me of the book Not A Fan (it's really great too). I don't ever want to be a stalker or a fan.
I certainly don't have it all figured out, but this book really helped me realize some important stuff. Honestly, I could go on and on, but I've already made this post way too long. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend you do. It may just change your life!
(If you have read Love Does, I'd love to hear your thoughts!)