Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Love Does

I just finished Love Does by Bob Goff. Bob Goff is an incredible man with some of the most inspiring stories I've ever read. What is so challenging about him is that anyone can do the kinds of things he does. 

He gives generously, never sparing an expense when it comes to showing his love to others. And what impresses me most is that he demonstrates love in tangible ways not only to those who are close friends, but also to those who are complete strangers. Like when he sent flowers to a woman that totaled his jeep, just to remind her that it was okay and that she was forgiven. Or like when he helped a kid he met on a walk propose to his girlfriend, and found a way to get the Coast Guard involved to make it an even more spectacular event than the kid had ever imagined it to be. Or like the time his children wrote to foreign ministers, and were invited to come visit 29 of them. He sold his car to pay for plane tickets for his family to travel to those places, because he knew that those would be lifelong experiences that his children would never forget.

I read these stories and am just flat out inspired and stirred up that he has learned to love and live in such a tangible and expressive way. A way that people long for, but don't have the gumption to just do.

He helps dreamers dream. He challenges you to live outside yourself. To see others first. To let others enthrall and captivate you with who they are. He makes no excuses. He says yes, even if its hard or uncomfortable. Because that is what living a life fully engaged is all about. Creating memories now that you'll never regret.

He reminds me so much of my favorite lesson that I took away from Blue Like Jazz. That we must love others simply because they exist. Why is that so hard to do sometimes? Why is it so unbearably easy to pick apart why you should/shouldn't do something, when you know it would mean the world to someone else? Maybe we don't give ourselves enough credit. Maybe we think that it wouldn't matter to someone, when in reality we are who they need in this season. Or maybe we don't like someone, so we want to withhold our love from them. But maybe it's in the overcoming of our flaws and issues and specks that we see past what we see, and are able to lay hold of what God sees.

If someone simply asked me to see a movie tonight, I'm more inclined to say no than yes. Why is that? I love spending time with people, and I never regret a minute doing it. But sometimes its just easier to stay at home. Or easier to finish my book, or watch a movie. Because that requires virtually nothing from me. When going out would mean I'd have to spend money, look presentable, get home late, and probably use up gas in my car. But is that really how God wants us to live? Secluded in our rooms with the TV on, completely MISSING an opportunity to engage with someone? To encourage them? To be encouraged by them? To swap life stories? To be reminded that we all need love and friendship and meaning and people to believe in us? We're meant to live bigger life stories than I think we can even dream up for ourselves, and sometimes it takes someone like Bob to point that out.

Closing the final pages was incredibly difficult for me, as this book is one that will ring in my heart for decades to come. And I know that I cannot simply 'walk away' from this one. This one was different.

If I could pull apart a few of the truths that I really want to carry with me, they would be related to doing more, loving more, and engaging more. And I realize that sounds kind of stupid, but after reading these compelling and awe-inspiring stories from Bob Goff, you realize how much more you could be doing. And by “you”, I mean “I”. Because I can get lazy. And forget to be intentional. And forget that I can matter. And those are terrible things to forget. Because at the end of the day, love does.

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