So, there I was in Barnes and Noble last Saturday with the gift card my friend Zen bought me for my birthday in June. We didn’t have a B&N in Tennessee, so I was literally REVELING in being back inside a bookstore that serves Starbucks and entertains my children. I decided to spend my precious $25 on one funny book, and one Christian book. Now, I know that people can be funny and Christian, but I mean a book by a comedienne.
So, right off the bat, I grabbed Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? because everyone I know thinks it’s hilarious, and I happen to love Mindy Kaling. So, then I was on to a Christian book. I hadn’t really decided which one to buy. I thought of buying the revised version of Jen Hatmaker’s Interrupted, but it was sold out. So was Shauna Niequist’s new book Savor. Everything by Jennie Allen was gone, and I have Ann Voskamp on my kindle.
Then something caught my eye. A bright blue book with balloons on the cover. I recognized it because I had seen it at IF:Austin. The book is called Love Does and the author is Bob Goff. I got to hear Bob and his wife Sweet Maria (Yes, that’s what he calls her. Yes, all the time.) speak about being married, and being joyful with your spouse. It was so awesome to hear them discuss being married for such a long time, and how they worked with one another to be in a happy, joyful, whimsical marriage. Bob was awesome and gleeful, and I wanted to read the book, but I forgot to grab it from the IF Shoppe because of the Jen Hatmaker Experience. So, I grabbed it last Saturday.
From the moment I began reading, I was captivated by Bob’s ability to love other people in a crazy, ridiculous, consuming way. Bob doesn’t just say “I love you,” Bob shows his love for people through his actions. You guys, Bob is nuts in such a good way. The thing my friend Heather and I picked up on (through our two sentence Facebook conversation about the book!), is that Bob doesn’t hesitate. He sees people who need to be loved, and he loves them. He doesn’t pray about it, or wait for permission, he just DOES.
I have to admit something here. I’m not so good with loving people. I have great intentions, but then I hesitate, or I get busy, and I don’t love people the way I should. But here’s the thing—I need to change. If I want to love like Jesus, I need to love well, love loud, and love without conditions. Everyone who meets me should think I’m nuts in a good way!
The problem is, when you put yourself out there, not everyone is going to think you’re so great. People will judge you, or think you’re a Pollyanna, or that you’re fake. I have issues with people-pleasing, so the struggle is, in fact, real.
But here’s what I figure. When I get to heaven, God isn’t going to be tremendously concerned with the amount of people Becky Yurisich didn’t offend. He’s going to care about how much I pleased Him. How I was (or wasn’t) a “good and faithful servant.” So, I choose love. The crazy, loud, Jesus-type love.
When you’re almost to the end of the book, Bob says something about taking the next step toward loving people. He said not to worry about having the whole plan in place, but to just take the next step. So, today I took my next step by sending an email to my new pastor requesting to start an Embrace Grace group at our church. Because I feel like it’s important to make unwed moms-to-be feel loved in church instead of shamed. Because I love babies, and want their moms to choose to let them be born. Because Jesus would love these moms, too.
My “plan” to begin an Embrace Grace group may never get past this first email, it may get shot down before it even begins. But you know what? I will continue to love people the way Jesus did, regardless of whether I’m leading, serving, parenting, or wife-ing (it’s a word, I promise). Everyone we encounter deserves our BEST KIND OF LOVE. The Jesus kind.