I can’t imagine having been anywhere else then Seattle these past few days. I meant it when I said spontaneity is a very real and beautiful action. I have no doubt in my mind that this trip was worth the setback in my savings and trek across, well, the country.
Meeting Bob Goff was inspiring. Hearing Donald Miller speak was life changing.
I’ve never felt so motivated to just live and love people. That sounds simple, but I’m sure we can agree that it’s harder than it sounds. When I say “to just live,” I don’t mean simply breathing and participating in the world. I mean actually living out those passions we dream about and the adventures we write down as “some days.”
Because I don’t believe in some day. In the “some day I will be a better person” or “some day I will find love” and “some day I will visit that place.” Or “some day i’ll find the courage to be honest with someone.” Those are all things I have spent my life saying. It’s not going to be easy to just blurt out the answers, but:
What are we waiting for?
That’s what Bob and Donald and others were asking us at this “family gathering” as Bob liked to call it.
I know this is morbid, but sometimes I really think we’re all waiting for some sort of near-death experience or intense tragedy to happen in our lives to force us to start living honestly. I’ll admit that if either of those were to happen, they probably would change my life perspective and get me moving. But that’s so sad! We need death or tragedy to occur before we can start really living – does anyone else see the irony in that!? I’m sure you all do.
I never thought my life was going to take the turns that it has. People have always told me that I was “going to do great things” in my life and I just expected those great things to happen. I feel like I’m still waiting for those to happen and I just impatiently stay seated, tapping my feet and wondering why I’m going nowhere. But I remember this empty feeling of loneliness that invites itself to sit beside you. I remember trying to replace that emptiness with boys or alcohol.
I remember thinking I had to go through things alone to become a stronger person.
What I learned at Love Does with Bob and Donald is that God is love. That Jesus is always going to unconditionally love us and that accepting that love can only do good things for us. So, I started asking myself over these past few days – what have I been waiting for? Why have I been so afraid to let Him in until now?
I think it’s because we want to think we don’t need Him. But, really, He just wants to bond with us.
Growing up I was always the curious kid in my catholic religion classes bugging my teachers with a million questions. When my dog passed away, I let my frustrations with God out on them, begging them to let me believe that God loved my dog just has much as He loves me. I wanted to know that I would see my dog in heaven because they told me I wouldn’t. I questioned sin and the honesty behind what they were preaching. I was curious – or at least that was how I saw it. Instead of encouraging that curiosity, I was always shot down with the same response: that being a “true follower” means one doesn’t have to question.
I don’t agree with that.
For those of you who don’t know the story of where I was and why this past week, here’s the short version to catch you up:
I started reading Love Does by Bob Goff on accident. Every now and then I order new books on Amazon and Bob Goff was a name stuck in my head after some friends suggested I give him a read. These are the same friends who told me to read Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller as a way to feel comfortable about asking questions again.
I started reading Love Does on a Sunday. After two chapters, I wrote Bob a letter. On Monday, I e-mailed Bob to ask about the free tickets he had to his conference in Tacoma, WA. I thought it was a long shot, but he responded back with in twenty minutes telling me that if I got on a plane and flew out to Washington, he would give me the free tickets and would like to meet me. I called off work and booked a flight that night. I graduated college the following Sunday and flew out to Seattle on a Wednesday. I met Bob on Thursday and the next two days were an emotional turmoil of learning how to love God and love people.
It was a big leap of faith. A leap into something that could’ve been incredibly awkward and uncomfortable for me – being a non-Christian in a room of Christians who love and praise the Lord. There were times I felt out of place in the sense that I wasn’t sure what my intentions were for being there. But every time I stood in that room and listened to people speak; or discussed Jesus and love with the people I met; I never felt so loved or at home in my life. Bob kept calling it a “family gathering” and it really was.
You probably think I joined a cult don’t you?
I had people tell me to make sure I wasn’t getting myself into a cult. I have since proven them wrong and assured them that, if I am in a cult, it’s a cult of love and living, which is far better than the cult of materialism the rest of the world seems to be a part of.
I’m not telling you that you have to love God. I’m not telling you that you have to be more spontaneous to live a good life. I’m not telling you that you’re part of a cult if you don’t believe in God. Believe me, I’ve spent years of trying to prove my teachers wrong; of trying to do everything but believe. But that only brought me bitterness and darkness.
A speaker at my college graduation said, “it’s better to be interested than interesting.”
I think that’s what this is about.
Life can be as grand of an adventure as you want or don’t want it to be. It’s the same way with loving and accepting God. I’ve been on quite the adventure with Him – ask my friend Chris and he’ll smile at how far I’ve come. In fact, Chris gave me a children’s Bible because he knows me well enough that I needed it to get me started. It’s like having training wheels almost. You don’t just jump right into this stuff- it takes time and you have to slowly build.
I am in a very good place right now – I don’t have it all figured it out, but I know who I am; what I want to do and what the next step is. For me, that’s being honest and living a life of meaning and doing good for others. I just see so many people with brilliant talents that they use with so much security. I think my job as a writer is going to be to inspire the heck out of all of you so you stop waiting and start doing.
But honestly, that’s my biggest take away from this leap of faith. Sure, I spent two weeks working full time only to use all of that money on a plane ticket, but instead of measuring life in those transactions, I look at what an incredible adventure I had with my friends in Washington and exploring my faith. It was totally worth it.
So my advice to all of you is to not be afraid to take a leap of faith.
Relax. Breathe. Believe and let go.
And have a brilliant adventure.
Pretty sure I’m convinced I am moving to Seattle. At some point. I just really love this city.