It was another weekend I was trying to fill with something, or perhaps it was a week day, I have no idea. I was moping through Barnes and Noble with a friend, looking for a good book, but I wasn’t looking for just any book, I think we were in the Faith/God/Self help section, but I wasn’t looking for a self help mumbo jumbo book either, I knew I would know the right book when I opened it up, I was looking for something to make me keep believing that love does exist, but I didn’t want to read, yet another mushy love story. I picked up two books, Love Does and something by Joyce Meyer. Joyce Meyer, is great or so I hear, she seems to have a lot of great quotes, but she just didn’t capture me with her prophecies, whatever I read in Love Does did. My friend and I went back down to the cafe and as usual we talked so much I barely got any reading done, but whatever reading I did do, made me want to make the purchase.
I was sad at the time, very sad, the type of sad that makes you want to stay in bed in the morning, not answer your phone, to shut the curtains and the world out, I knew it wouldn’t last, I’ve been there before, I knew time would heal, I knew I’d find something worth pursuing to get out of the rut, I knew I’d feel better eventually, but I needed something to help me feel better or to help me figure out how to help myself feel better. I knew it was something I had to do on my own, no one could do it for me. It was one of those times, that no matter how much I told myself I was fine the way I was, I just didn’t “really” believe it, in my subconscious lingered a nagging inkling that needed to be put to rest.
I started reading Love Does, I read a lot of it, I left it alone for a couple of weeks, I think I was busy with CrossFit or job searching or reading about how the world works or how we work. There is a LOT of things that interest me. Long story short, I picked the book back up, I finished it, which is also rare. (I get interested in so many things, I have a hard time following through with all of them ). Then I found Bob’s FB page, the Love Does page, the Restore International page, and I became a little obsessed. I found there was a conference happening in Tacoma, Washington, not only about the book but it would include Bob, Jeff Bethke, AND Kid President. They listed a whole bunch of other “supposedly” amazing people, but those 3 had me sold. Washington, I thought, kinda far, but I was determined. At that point I didn’t care how I got there, but I knew I had to! Whimsical? Yes. But if you read the book, you will understand. It will tell you that that is exactly how you are supposed to be, that Bob, a grown man with a real life and job and family, is also whimsical. That that is Exactly how we are supposed to be, how God made us to be, and that it was absolutely OK to be that way. It wasn’t just me, a mere 27 year old, who was overly loving, who didn’t know anything about the world, looking through it with rose colored glasses.
This was the “ok” that I was looking for, the approval I had needed to feel and to find within myself.
Fast forward to the conference….I met Bob, I met Kid President, I met people I didn’t know I was meeting, amazing speakers, I did not know were amazing. I got to meet Jeff Bethke, the only person I felt comfortable enough to ask where to start reading if I wanted to read the Bible. I got to meet his lovely wife, Alyssa. These were people I randomly started following on Facebook, or had found through YouTube and now I was standing there talking to them face to face. Nothing trumps that. The experience, the live feeling of interacting with a person you admire, or like, the conversation exchanged, that’ll stay forever. No money can buy that, or substitute for it.
From the time I stepped foot on the plane, my mind was set that the whole trip would be a memorable experience, and what do you know, it was just that. I got to meet amazing people, reconnect with old friends, meet new amazing people, meet awesome strangers, and get ideas going to DO some awesome stuff.
From the morning Legendary doughnuts and coffee, to the sunshine lighting up my traffic-less drive into Tacoma, to seeing Mt.Ranier, to walking around rainy Seattle, to having Starbucks from the first Starbucks to ever exist, to friendly people I encountered everywhere I went, to new friends I made, to the balloons that were EVERYwhere, to remembering how much I loved them and how happy they made me. The last time I saw them in such abundance was probably around my 11th birthday, 16 years ago, how sad. We should have more balloons more often!
One of our “assignments” was to figure out what to do with $5 we were given in our goody bag. This has put us all onto a journey to aspire to do something great with it, be it to give it to another person to pass on, or to do something ourselves, and to keep giving and to keep doing, to start a trickling effect all over the world.
Bob is someone you describe as larger than life. I recently told him in an e-mail, that if God had a look, he would look and be something like Bob. He is Exactly how he sounds in the book. He is larger than life, and as humble as one can only imagine, he makes you laugh and cry all in the span of a few hours, leaving you emotionally exhausted but with enough love, courage, and inspiration to over-fill the brim of your whole being.
He is the kind of person that gives you the courage to be who you are, to be who you want to be, the person to tell you that you ARE big enough to change the world, and to go out and DO it!
I pray God doesn’t ever let me forget the courage I got to feel within myself from this.
Our biggest problem, I think, I have learned, is that we don’t feel enough love, we don’t feel it within ourselves, we don’t like giving it to others, but we look for others to fill us with it, when it is already in us. God loves us just the way we are, he thinks we’re perfect just the way we are, if we all just cultivate on this a little each day, I think it can all give us the daily love and courage we seek. That no matter what another person tells you, no matter if another person does not love you they way you may have wished they did, that you are still ok and that you are ok, and to keep being you, because God made you “you” for a reason.
As Dean Curry said, God saves us “FROM something FOR something.” When you share your vulnerability with another person, you give them the courage to also be vulnerable, but it is your intent in sharing that vulnerability that is important, don’t share it to get pity, share it to make the other person comfortable. To experience this, Dean made us get with 2 or 3 other strangers in the room, and to share 2 to 3 things that they would need to know about us to “get” us. Boy, was that scary. I sat with 3 lovely girls, all strangers, with only one of whom I exchanged a few sentences earlier that day. I had to tell these girls, my innermost secrets, some things my best friends don’t even know. Was it scary? Heck yes! Did I feel better after saying it? I did. It relinquished the feeling that I had to be or act a certain way, it was freeing, and what the other person said gave all of us a little more courage, a little more understanding, an understanding that when you look at a person, you have no idea who they are, you can’t possibly begin to imagine, their fears and insecurities, the things that make them who they are. The “why” of why we’re passionate of certain things, the “why” some things mean more than others. What a lesson!
Don Miller, another one of those “supposedly amazing speakers”, told us we had to figure out 1. Who were we? 2. What did we want to do? 3. What was the first step?
We over plan things, and in planning we put off the doing. Once we take the first step, the Universe unravels everything, and everything begins to fall into place. We can’t have all the answers all at once at the beginning, but we HAVE to take that step.
We have to love, we have to forgive, sometimes we have to take a break, as Veronica Tutaj, said. John Cotton Richmond reminded us that we have to realize, nothing, absolutely nothing is constant. We are not entitled to anything. God gives, and God takes, and just because you are out doing good things, doesn’t mean bad things won’t happen. This life is a gift, each day is a gift.
In my own words, I would like to challenge everyone that reads this, to live each day as though it were your last. I challenge myself with this daily now. Would you return that phone call or text message from a friend, that you put off till tomorrow? Would you talk to your parents? Would you read that book, you put off for another day, would you put on that dress you are saving for a special occasion, would you notice the sunset, would you notice a stranger in Starbucks who looked sad whose day you could change with $5, would you set out on that trip to Africa you’ve daydreamed about? Would you go up to someone and wish them a good day just because? Would you smile more? Would you laugh more? And would you Love more???
People say all the time that they are just one person, and one person can’t change the world. I beg to differ and I will argue with you until I’m blue in the face, because I absolutely disagree. We ALL have the power within us to make a difference. You have NO idea how your interaction with the world on a daily basis makes an impact. I’ve been blessed with having friends tell me how my interaction with them has been meaningful, but so many of these go unspoken. Remember this, every time you think you don’t matter. You do. You are here for a reason. You are here to love, to love as much as you can. And the more love you give, the more love you receive.
If Bob Goff can forgive the African witch doctor who sacrifices little kids, and leaves a little boy to die in the woods, after cutting off his private parts, and Dean Curry can forgive the man who molested him when he was a little boy, I think YOU can find it in Your heart to forgive whoever has hurt you. Carrying around anger does not relinquish anything. Love thy enemy, those words didn’t really click until this conference. I’ve forgiven a lot of actions, the doings of a couple of people that have hurt me, since then, I haven’t told all of them, but I feel it in my heart, and I can only say that I feel a million times more free.
So know that you are good enough, know that you are loved, always, when you are at your darkest, when you are at your saddest, when you are at your laziest. Know that you are loved despite your mistakes, despite your shortcomings, but go out and spread love on other people. Go show them how to love, go show them it’s ok, and if they don’t believe you, it’s ok too, love them anyways.
As Sweet Maria, Bob’s wife, concluded, “courage comes from doing so go out and go find your courage.” : )
I conclude this with lots and lots of love and lots and lots of sunshine.
Remember all the things God has blessed YOU with. Don’t worry about other people. Just be sure to go out and DO stuff.
Thank you Bob for giving me the courage to be myself.