A little over two years ago, one of my best friends recommended a book to me. I had just become a YoungLife leader, and he was the founder of DePaul’s YoungLife ministry. I had a feeling the book would inspire me to be a better leader, and I was right. It did so much more than that though: It inspired me to live my whole life differently.
The book was called “Love Does,” and on Friday night, I got to meet the author. Bob Goff came to my church and spoke. Little did I know his words would inspire me even more than his book did.
As I sat in my seat and listened to him with a smile, I knew I was exactly where I needed to be. I knew God was opening my eyes and ears to Him, to what He wanted me to hear.
There are times in our lives that something so significant happens we look backward and trace the steps that guided us to that very point. I hit the rewind button and envisioned my friend who recommended the book, another friend from my church who wrote a song called “Love Does” for Bob Goff, my boyfriend who called Bob Goff after the missions trip we took to Guatemala to ask him about living a life on mission. I think of how I was in Asheville, North Carolina five weeks ago and would have missed his visit if I had not moved back to Chicago. I would not be surprised at all to find out God’s plan was for me to sit in that church seat and listen to the man who has inspired me through both his written and spoken words.
I could write forever about what Bob Goff said in his talk, but I am in no means trying to be the next Bob Goff. Instead, I want to share a few points that have given me motivation to change, to become love.
1. “We will never be like Christ if all we want to do is be like each other.” I can’t count the number of times I have been told I am unique and that God made me who I am. I even tell others that. However, for some reason, I have still never been content with who that person is. For as long as I can remember I have compared myself to others. I have wanted to be prettier and smarter. I have wanted to be more athletic and more prayerful. I haven’t wanted those things for myself; I have wanted those things so I could be just as good as someone else. Bob Goff made the perfect point though. My goal in life should not be to be as “wonderful” as other people, but to instead be more like Christ. All of us are sinners and by trying to be more like someone else, I will never be more like Christ.
2. “What will I have to talk about with Jesus?” Bob told some of the most incredible (and hilarious) stories. His book is full of them as well. This is because Bob Goff is living his life for Heaven. He is being love so that when he gets to Heaven, he can talk to Jesus about all of the times he clothed the naked, fed the hungry, and gave water to the thirsty. I asked myself how many times I have done those things–how many stories I would be able to talk to Jesus about–and there are few. I want to start doing. I want to live my life for Heaven, for Jesus, for love.
3. I don’t need a master plan: I just need to start. Over the last year, I have been trying to sort out my life plan. I have considered where to move, what career to pursue, whether or not I want to go to graduate school and for what specialization. I have been mapping out each step, and not many have gone as planned. Surprise! My plans are not God’s plans, and I have figured that one out. What I have yet to do is take an initial step. If I want to live my life for God, I just need to take the first opportunity. Better yet, I need to create an opportunity. My role in life does not need to circulate around a career (it really shouldn’t.) My job is to show people love, to introduce people to God, to point others to Jesus. If I do that in a school or in a cubicle, in Chicago or North Carolina, to adults or children, it doesn’t matter. I just need to do it. I need to take the first step.
I want to one day know that I have shown someone a piece of Heaven. I know Bob Goff has done that for millions of people, but especially me. He showed me love when I sat in that chair and had burning cheeks from smiling during his whole talk. He showed me love when he took a “down, middle, and up” selfie with me and my boyfriend. He showed me love when he touched the hearts of my friends who told me stories from his book. Lastly, he showed me love when he inspired me to start my life over–to live for God, to be more like Christ instead of like others, and to take my first step now.
Thank you, Bob Goff. And thank you, God, for pointing me to that seat so I could hear exactly what I needed to.