Saturday, November 3, 2012

Living an Extraordinary Life of Love

On this morning's show we spoke about an article I found in Relevant Magazine called 10 Ways to Live an Extraordinary Life.  It's an interview of a man named Bob Goff who is the author of Love Does, his best-selling collection of stories about a few ways he’s managed to turn each day into a “hilarious, whimsical, meaningful change to make faith simple and real.” He is also a lawyer in Washington, a Ugandan consulate, a professor at Pepperdine Law School and Point Loma Nazarene University, and the founder of Restore International which serves underpriveleged kids in Uganda and India.  Yet, with that kind of a to-do list Bob has found a way to live an extraordinary life of loving people.  He shared some of his secrets, and I passed a few along this morning.  Here is their full list.  Click the link above to read the full article.  I found it to be beautifully challenging to my own life.  What would our world look like if we made a conscious effort to make ourselves more available to people and showed them love with our presence and full attention?

1. Don't Let Anyone Go to Voicemail: Obviously there are limits to this (plane flights, on the other line, etc), but if he can help it Bob Goff does not let anyone go to voicemail regardless of whether or not he knows the person.  Bob says, “We get really busy,” Goff says. “But the less time Jesus had on earth, the more available He became to people.. Jesus wouldn’t have ignored many phone calls.  If I get a call, I answer it, and it’s been terrific! There’s a God we can talk to anytime, anywhere, about anything, and I’m so glad He doesn’t screen my calls—because I don’t have anything that’s particularly interesting to say. And I’m understanding that better because I’m available to people.”

2. Don't Make Appointments:  Yep, inspite of an insanely busy schedule Bob refuses to set appointments.  Goff says, “When someone calls me and says, ‘Can we meet two Tuesdays from now at 3 p.m.?’ I say, ‘How about now?’.”  Goff insists when your life is appointment-free, your time is at the service of others instead of your personal demands. Plus, you become a different person when you structure your life around others’ needs. 

3. Be Incredibly Inefficient at Love:  This one felt the most challenging to me.  It's easy to streamline everything when our schedules become hectic, but Bob says “Don’t do an efficient brand of love." Then he shared this beautiful story, “The woman who lives across the street from us has cancer. She called me up and told me the bad news, and I told her, ‘I’m not going to call you ever again.’ She’s like, ‘What?’  I went to Radio Shack and got us two walkie-talkies, and it was terrific. For the last year, we’ve been talking on walkie-talkies every night. It’s like we’re both 14-year-olds and we’re both in tree forts.  She took a turn for the worse about four days ago, so this morning, I woke up about 5, and I went to the hospital. I sent the nurse in with a walkie-talkie, and I sat in the next room and called her up. I heard her just start crying—because there’s something inefficient and beautiful about it. We were sitting in a hospital, separated by a room, talking on walkie-talkies.”  Then he continues. “Be inefficient with your love. The more in-efficient, the better. It would have been a lot more efficient for God to not send Jesus to die for us. That was very inefficient love. But so sweet and so tender.”

4. Don't Have a Bible Study:  Before you stop reading, Bob Goff still studies the Bible.  He takes scripture and applies it to his daily life and serving people.  “I’ve met with the same guys every Friday who I’ve been meeting with for a decade,” he says. “And we have a Bible Doing.”  The idea, Goff says, is basically that memorization is only effective if it motivates you to action.

5. Quit Stuff:  “Every Thursday, I quit something,” Goff says.  "The idea is  to give yourself room to grow and to give God room to work. Quitting things forces you forward to explore new opportunities, to try things you wouldn’t have time for otherwise and to fill your life with things that are fresh, different
and dangerous."
6. Do What You're Made to Do:  Bob believes that we are too busy asking ourselves, “What am I able to do? People take tests to determine skill sets and aptitude and then march off to pursue a career based on the results."  But Goff says the better question is, “What am I made to do?” He goes on to say, “It’s as simple as asking, ‘What are the things you think are beautiful? And you want in your life?’ He feels we should focus on doing more of those things and less of the stuff we aren't talented in or that cause us stress. 
7. Get More Unschooled, Ordinary Friends:  "For most people, friendship is accidental. You see someone often enough, find a few common interests, hang out and strike up an easy friendship. New friends probably come from the people you work with or go to church with. The childhood idea of 'making friends,' a proactive pursuit, has been replaced with the idea of 'letting friends happen'."  Goff suggests "making friendship intentional and, moreover, risky. Because sometimes you can learn more from friends who stand just left of center than those with whom you share everything in common."
8. Jump the Tracks:  Bob feels life is more interesting of you travel off the beaten path. "Goff spends most Wednesday mornings at Disneyland, prepping to teach his courses at Pepperdine University. From his vantage point on Tom Sawyer Island, he watches hundreds of park visitors board the monorail, content to be whisked wherever the train takes them.  And their park experience, says Goff, suffers because of it. The real adventure, both in Disneyland and in life, is when you venture outside the fixed loop."  Bob thinks the beauty you will find in living a life off the beaten path will be filld with more adventure and good company.  He says, “I’ll know more about my character, and I’ll know more about Jesus. I’ll meet a lot of cool people.”
9. Crowd-Surf Each Other:  The article shared a beautiful story in which an entire crowd was able to touch and pray for a  man who had just received word that his 8-year-old son had been diagnosed with leukemia by crowd serving him through the room.  Goff is big on physical touch and doesn’t shake hands.  He says, “If we say we’re the body of Christ, let’s act like it.  Let’s stop treating this faith thing like it’s a business trip. I want us to treat it like it’s a family. Family picks up the phone. Family surfs each other. Family hugs each other.”  Goff’s personal policy is to hug whoever he meets. "It doesn’t suit everyone’s comfort zone, but he says it’s part of his identity as a believer. And the benefit of breaking through these bubbles of security is being opened up to a deeper understanding of community."
This was just a recap of some of the points I highlighted this morning, and quotes from the article.  Read the full article at  I believe it will challenge your life as it has mine.

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