“Well, you know, Dad, I’ve thought about that too. Nothing personal, but I realized that right now, I’m doing the things that other people seem to think of as memories someday. It seems like memories are what older people have when they think back about being my age when they could actually do something about them. So I think what I’ll do instead of writing things down now is just do lots of things, and then maybe when I’m done doing cool things, I will write them down later.”
I always learn a lot from Adam. I think we should all get back to building that rocket ship we dreamed of when we thought about what our life would be about. I want to be doing things today, not just flipping through crinkled and yellowed mental pictures of what happened a long time ago. I’ve been thinking I’ll follow love’s lead and find some capers worth doing, ones so saturated with whimsy they have to be wrung out like a wet towel to be understood fully.” Bob Goff, Love Does
To be quite honest, it would not be too outlandish to think that I would copy and paste the entirety of Bob Goff’s “Love Does” in here just to ensure y’all don’t miss some of his perfectly worded points and views on creating a life worthwhile. One of my friends from the boat recommended I read this book while we were on deployment. He said as he was reading it, all he could think was, “Man this guy sounds a lot like Jess.” My reading list is pretty exhaustive so it took me a few weeks to get around to it. But wow. Every chapter is full of gold. Bob’s view on life will change yours. His infectious joy seeps through the pages and into your heart. He makes you want to do more. He makes you believe you can do it too.
I just started seminary. And wow. It’s difficult. It’s daunting. And on more than one occasion I have second guessed this decision. I have already played out the scenario of staying a FunBoss with the IWO and continuing to live this fun and adventurous little life God has blessed me with. It pays well, it offers loads of autonomy, and I love what I do…But it doesn’t fulfill my soul. My heart still stirs and hungers for more. That’s what love does. It pushes you to be better, to challenge yourself. It makes you want to do more.
I have struggled a lot the past few months, especially now that I am studying theology, with balancing truth and grace, doctrine and love. I live with and work in the military. With a lot of broken individuals. And guess what? I am also one of those broken individuals. I have been hurt, misled, wronged, and left in pieces. I have sinned, lied, and messed up more times than I can count. But I am pretty sure that’s why God continues to use me. I’m pretty sure that’s why I’m here. I’m not perfect. But I can love an imperfect world and those in it. I can look at my sailors and Marines and tell them, “I know how you feel because I’ve been there myself.” I don’t want my ministry to be some distant relationship between myself and those I’m serving. I don’t want to be a religious person telling others how they should live their lives to be more godly. No. I want my life to be my testimony. I want God to use my story to tell His story. I want to live my life with reckless abandon, chasing God passionately and fearlessly. I don’t want to tell others how to live a full life, but instead show them. I want to be living proof that grace wins every time. That you don’t have to have a clean record to get in the door, you just have to have an open and willing heart. I want to throw a party celebrating Jesus and all that He has done for us, sending out invites to the broken, the hurting, the healing, the prodigals, the beggars, the tax collectors, the homeless, the lost, and the seeking. I want to live a life so full of joy and passion and love that it is like a fire burning up the atmosphere. A light so bright, it attracts all to the source. I want to bring warmth and love back to the hearts of the many who have been hurt or turned off by the church and by religion and bring them back to a God who loves them with more power than the waves of the ocean. I used to think I had to be perfect to best lead others, but now I know I’m imperfect so that I can best serve others.
I think God has done a pretty awesome job of leading me on a life of adventures. But the thing is, I don’t just want to tell stories about traveling and doing things – I want to tell stories that exemplify God’s glory. I want stories that inspire others to live awesome lives and to chase God and all he’s got planned for their lives. Most people don’t pursue their dreams out of fear but I’ve found that the more I trust God, the less I have to be fearful of. The more I lean into the Lord, the more joy I get in the places I used to feel anxious. Things I once would have found terrifying, I now find exhilarating. I don’t know about y’all but I’ll follow God out of any plane, knowing He’s got the most dependable parachute there is. You’ll never be fully alive until you take the leap.
I am still a bit overwhelmed by seminary. I am fearful of leading others astray or not being godly enough or not being knowledgeable enough. But guess what? I should be nervous! We are not called to complacency and comfort. We have to get comfortable being uncomfortable. We’ve got to do the scary things. We’ve got to take chances. We’ve got to gamble. I don’t want to look back on a life full of memories. I want to live a life full of adventures. Don’t you?