I have been blessed with the opportunity to be part of a book launch. Not just any book launch, but Ann Voskamp’s! If you don’t know who she is, well, you are missing out! As part of this launch, I have been grafted into a community of other believers who have the chance to read Ann’s (we’re on a first name basis…she liked one of my posts, after all) new book, The Broken Way, which is being released later this month (October 25th to be exact). With this community we are able to share our stories of brokenness and healing. I’ve read stories from all of these women (and men) and my heart has grieved with them and rejoiced with them. I’ve watched as they have posted about how the book is stirring new things in their broken hearts, how it has encouraged them and drawn them closer to God with a deeper understanding and meaning for their brokenness.
And then I’ve waited. I’ve waited for something to strike the core of me as I’ve read, because I knew it would come. Books have that way with me. Words have a way of piercing my innermost being, striking a match and lighting a flame of passion for God, and a flame where the ugliness inside of me can be laid upon a burning altar for God to purify.
Then came Chapter 6. Oh dear, sweet chapter six. The words hit home…a home run to my heart with the battles I’ve been waging as of lately!
“Look, the whole lot of us are done with waiting room theology. We are done waiting for some elusive future moment to say life is good enough. We are done waiting for some big enough house, some big enough step up, some big, exciting enough experience to finally think we’ve arrived at the abundance of being and living enough…. we are done with waiting room living.” (p.87)
I don’t know if you’ve ever read “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss. If not, go to your local library and check it out NOW! It’s not just a book for kids. Trust me! Anyway, back to Ann and her words. When I read that quote, I thought about all of the times I’ve waited and I thought about the waiting place in Dr. Seuss’ book. Waiting is hard. Waiting makes me feel like life is stagnant. You know, that quiet still pond that is buried underneath that green-smelly moss? That kind of stagnant. Blech! And I feel like I’ve been waiting lately.
“Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go, or the mail to come, or the rain to go…. everyone is just waiting…NO! That’s not for you!” (Dr. Seuss)
I don’t want to wait around for life to find me. I want to live an abundant life. It’s what has been my heart’s cry lately…ABUNDANT LIFE! And I feel like this nugget in chapter six was written just for my heart!
“What if instead of waiting for good enough things to happen to us, we could be the good thing to happen to someone else who’s waiting? What if we could cure our own waiting room addiction by making room in our life to be the good others are waiting for? … What if abundant living isn’t about what you can expect from life, but what life can expect from you?” (p.87)
Ann goes on to say, “the world is brokenhearted and full of suffering, and if you listen to what life needs instead of what you need from it, you could fill the brokenness with your own brokenhearted love – and this will in turn fill you.”
Ahhh…. the truth that I couldn’t put into words. Living to give myself to others is when life becomes abundant. Really, if you look at the life of Jesus, didn’t he do this? Wasn’t He giving Himself so that others could have life. He gave everything. So why do I hold back giving of myself, giving of my time, my energy, my talents, my love?
“What if living the abundant life isn’t about having better stories to share but about living a story that lets others live better?” (p.92)
I want an abundant life that lets others live better. I have been through things that have torn my heart to pieces. I’ve watched friends go through difficulties that have rocked them to the core. And I’ve watched those same friends give out of their brokenness, even though it broke them a little each time they did so. Their pain and their brokenness allowed others to find healing and in the process they found healing, and abundant life. I want to do the same, use my broken pieces of my past to help others find healing, find life.
“When you are filled to the brim with the enoughness of Christ, the only way you can possibly have more is to pour yourself out. The only way to more life is by pouring more of yourself out.” (p.93)
Abundant life = pour out → receive more → pour out → receive more → repeat
“Live for something worth dying for. Let love break into you and mess with you and loosen you up and make you laugh and cry and give and hurt because this is the only way to really live…Don’t waste a minute on anything less than what lasts for all eternity.” (p.95)
Eternity. What is the one thing that will last for all eternity? People. It’s time for me to live that abundant life that I have been praying for. It’s time to pour out on the people around me, at work, on the kids at the therapeutic riding center, at church, to the people I run into in the community. It’s about people. So maybe my prayers for an abundant life start with giving of myself. Thank you Ann, for your words in chapter six. They were exactly what I needed in this moment as I grasp the abundant life.
“You are where you are for such a time as this – not to make an impression, but to make a difference.” (p.91)
For more information, check out the book at: www.TheBrokenWay.com