Wednesday, April 26, 2017

"Invite, include, welcome and celebrate the people around you, and you'll be doing exactly what Jesus was talking about." Love Lives Here

Bob Goff's book Love Does became a favorite of mine years ago. He regularly mentions his wife, Sweet Maria, and you can't help but fall in love with this woman. When I attended the Story Line Conference in 2014 I actually got to meet her.

Bob is the extrovert in the relationship, but they're both incredibly wise. I was beyond thrilled when I first heard that Maria had written her own book, Love Lives Here. It was just as incredible as I hoped it would be. 

I read this book slowly, soaking it up a few chapters at a time, because I didn't want it to end. This is going in my stack of favorite books and at the top of the list I recommend to friends. 

What I'm learning is that the good news in our faith isn't found in avoiding the pain, but in living through the loss, walking through the ashes, and stacking the logs once more knowing they could burn down again. What has been growing inside of me is a confidence that whatever it is we put our efforts into, it's God's, and He can do whatever He wants with what we build in our lives.

Trusting isn't something we achieve merely by agreeing with someone. It's earned through shared experiences. 

You know your family. Keep up the good work. You should spend your free time doing what lights you and your family up, what frees you up, what works for all of you. Do what makes you the most loving, hopeful version of yourself. It's that's baseball, soccer, line dancing or cage fighting-- go do a lot of that. The point is simple. Go be your family, not someone else's. 

While we go about what we do with our lives in different ways, the important things we want in life are the same. Family, faith, love, purpose, respect and joy to name a few... I realize God made us different individually so we could be better together.

I stopped listening to the loudest voices in my life and started listening to the truest ones. To do this, I needed to put together some trusted advisors... I picked a couple people to listen to on purpose rather than listening to many people by accident.

Don't compare the number of friendships you can manage with how many someone else has... Surround yourself with the right number of people who make you hungry in your faith, strong in your resolve, and more available to your family. That is your board of directors.

Over the years, I've noticed a common thread in the lives of the people I identify with. They're big-hearted and humble. They know how to have fun while also growing in their faith. They would rather serve up love than dish out opinions. If you ask them what they think, they'll tell you what lights them up, gives them joy, and about what they're learning. They know what they believe but they don't go around acting like they're right all the time. When they have to choose between being right and being humble, they pick both because they know each have their own undeniable strength. My friends are fun, too. Some of them have serious jobs and serious things going on in their lives, but they all love to laugh.

Sometimes when we ask God for an answer, he sends a friend.

Independence wasn't something we feared for our kids, it was something we cultivated. 

The best adventures involve leaving what's comfortable for a time. Long or short, it doesn't matter, only that we do it. The kids were running toward a beautiful adventure, not away from any difficulties. Don't be fooled. There's a big difference between the two. One's worth doing; one's worth staying and learning from.

Invite, include, welcome and celebrate the people around you, and you'll be doing exactly what Jesus was talking about. 

Sure, there will be more celebrations to come in heaven, but the party is already happening. Right now, right here. I've wondered if some of us are so busy getting ready for the one in heaven that we're missing the one that's going on right now.

The time together around the table has shaped us. It's where we share our hearts and our dreams, not just our food.

We're all like plywood in many ways. The thin pieces of wood in our lives are the things we value the most and what we're good at. Rest is the glue that keeps all of these things we value together.

It was more than just doing things together that brought us close; it was doing things for other people that made it purposeful. 

A stable and abundant home life is what I wanted deep down. A home full of people who practiced love, joy, peace, patience, and understanding, until we got it right, even if it took a lifetime to figure out how. I wanted a place where people felt nurtured, where exploring, adventuring, trying, and failing were supported. I envisioned a home where gathering for meals not only filled our stomachs but also nurtured our souls, and where we'd rally when one of us got sick or suffered or struggled. What I desired most was an environment where laughter and music hung in the air, where the flames of creativity were fanned and the fires lit by fear, judgment and condemnation were snuffed out swiftly, and where everyone was safe from emotional trip wires and landmines. In short, I wanted my family to live where we could serve God, each other, and be able to say wholeheartedly to everyone entering it, Welcome Home.

The reality is that we are all more capable than we realize of creating a life of whimsy and adventure.

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