There’s nothing like having small children around to stir our hearts to lightness and laughter. We have the privilege of enjoying three of our grandchildren up close, for they and their parents are staying with us for a while.
It’s fun to watch them play, imagination turning the living room into a jungle or corral or restaurant. They are un-selfconscious in their play, free to just ‘be.’ I envy them.
A couple of weeks ago, one of our pastors recommended a book by Bob Goff: Love Does. It’s a fantastic book by an adult who is enthralled with whimsy – it sounds like fun, may look a little silly, be risky…let’s go for it! You’ve GOT to read this book!
At the same time, I heard that Donald Miller has a new book out as well. I didn’t know what the title was, or what it was about, but love to read his rambling style, and how he challenges what I believe.
It was his book, Searching for God Knows What that helped me get over people pleasing. Once I realized that real life in Christ does not involve “Values Clarification” (who is worthy to be saved in a calamity in order to help build a new world), I was liberated from the need to compare myself to others and work out (in my mind) why I deserved a seat in the lifeboat and they didn’t.
After all, the ground at the foot of the cross is level – and there is room for all.
Donald Miller’s new book is A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, and its subtitle is “How I Learned to Live a Better Story.”
Here’s Don’s brief description of his book:
The two books, read at the same time, complement one another.
It turns out the two are friends. Each has a short section in their book which mentions the other author!
What are the chances I’d get them both to read at the same time?
The two of them challenge me to live a life that includes whimsy – is more spontaneous, and lived out loud. Life is meant to be an adventure, to include risk, and to be FUN!
Yes, there are times when the going gets tough, when all seems dark around us, and nothing makes sense. I want to sandwich those times like a thin piece of salami between two thick slices of the Bread of Life – abundant, enjoyable, whimsical life with Jesus.
Crammed between the two I want all the condiments that make a sandwich a masterpiece – lettuce, onions, pickles, mushrooms, olives, bell pepper, and eggplant, or (fill in the blank), slathered with the oil of the Spirit, Light mayo, mustard seeds of faith, and sprinkled with the salt of the earth.
Now that’s a sandwich that will invite others to dine with us, don’t you think?
I went in search of a photo of Bob’s book, and found this YouTube video instead:
Both books are about living a good story…one that is worth being ‘read’ by others.
There are two quotes from Donald’s book that stuck with me:
“The basic structure of a good story has a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it.”
(In other words, a good story is not lived on Easy Street) – and –
“Great stories go to those who don’t give in to fear.”
(There’s an element of risk!)
When I think of the opportunities that I missed because I wanted to be “proper,” “do things right,” and “act my age” (who came up with that dumb idea, anyway?), it saddens me. I’ve been mostly sedate, glum, and safe.
The few times I’ve stepped outside of my comfort zone and done something childlike and free, people have been drawn to me.
For instance, there was the day I was on the beach and decided to sing to the Lord the new songs He’s given me. Two women kept moving closer and closer (Really, ladies? This beach has plenty of room for all of us!). One of the women was drawn by the music, said she heard the Lord in them.
I handed her an unusual barnacle I’d just picked up. She accepted it with trembling hands, then told me how her brother drowned nearby earlier that year, and the gift I’d given was the Lord’s message to her that all was well. Her brother was safely Home.
Only because I decided to do something silly and sing with abandon like a child.
She would not have been drawn to me had I merely been collecting shells…
I want more moments like that!
I’m betting that Jesus was like this – a fun, whimsical person to hang out with. One who was unpredictable – spitting in people’s eyes to give them sight, delivering the oppressed (read Mark – this is in nearly every chapter), walking on water (who even thinks to try something like that?), and making lame people walk.
There had to be something vibrant and exciting about Him…even when He was merely passing by.
No one walks away from their steady job to follow a drudge.
Hmm. There’s no crowd behind me.
How about you?
Every one of us was created to be unique, not a carbon copy of someone else. To the extent that we are striving to be like someone else, we are short-circuiting the freedom Jesus died to give. Our gifts, and natural talents and abilities – even our very character – are going unused.
The world needs someone exactly like you, exactly like me, or we would not be here. How different this world would be if we loved better, laughed more, took risks, and weren’t afraid of making fools of ourselves.
Maybe, just maybe, we would discover that abundant life Jesus promised. 😉
It’s time to set aside the lie that we must “act our age” – live with the heart of a child once again (which is not to say be childISH – yuck!).
People will be drawn to us, to discover what makes us different when we learn to embrace whimsy…
…and live life out loud.
PS I went back to YouTube to check out some of Donald Miller’s videos. If today’s topic stirs something up in you, check out this video filmed at The Gathering, Lipscomb U. He gives some wonderful insight into how to live a better story. (22 minutes long.)