20
Feb

Slow Reader Friday: Start

Water Punch

If you are a Christian blogger, most likely you have heard of Jon Acuff. If you are a Dave Ramsey fan, most likely you have seen Jon Acuff. Jon (as if I know him personally) first gained fame by writing the blog, “Stuff Christians Like.” Dave Ramsey noticed his warped sense of humor and put him to work at his organization. Then Jon began writing books with “cute titles.”

Since I am a huge fan of the “cute title” books, his Quitter book caught my attention when I took the Financial Peace University class by Dave Ramsey. While much younger than this naive blogger, Jon is surprisingly good at savvy writing, sensing patterns, and insights into human nature. He is pretty much my guru for writing.  (The only problem is that it usually takes me a long time to read his stuff, admit he’s right, and then implement his suggestions!)

Quitter became one of my first Slow Reader Friday choices and I could not believe how similar our stories are. I think we both fell victim to trying to pleasing society by our early career choices instead of pursuing what God really created us to do. Jon just learned much faster!

Being a professional writer doesn’t usually thrill your parents–it is one of those careers where success is largely determined by others, as opposed to being determined by how hard you work. Thus, when Jon started pretty much putting in print the thoughts in my head, I was enthralled. And so, it only makes sense that I would want to read Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work that Matters

I can see Jon’s progression as a writer in Start. I read the first page and was laughing out loud. For writers, that’s usually rare, because we usually read A LOT. So, little actually tickles our funny bone enough to make laugh out loud. And he quite obviously took the criticism about Quitter seriously. I saw less “writing career bias” in this book than I did in Quitter

If you decide to read Start yourself, I won’t spoil the first page for you. But, expect to chuckle out loud several times, so maybe don’t read this book during a boring meeting where people actually expect you to be paying attention.

The premise of Start is that the life your parents probably wanted you to pursue to ensure your financial viability and stability is probably not what you were called to do. And if that is true, then you have a choice to make: Be “average” or be “awesome.” The average life is fine if you want that stability. However, if deep within your soul, you long to be awesome and have an inkling that you are pretty awesome at something that others around you admire (because they aren’t that awesome at that same thing), then perhaps you are meant for the “awesome track.”

Acuff is honest–the awesome journey is hard! First, people don’t understand it because they chose the average track and they only understand average. Thus, you’re often forced to seek out others who are on the awesome track to help you on that journey and they are either so few and far between (particularly if you live in Podunk, USA like moi) that you have difficulty locating them or they are extremely busy human beings with actual entourages wherever they go, that you’re never going to gain access to their awesome wisdom.

Acuff also points out that there are a ton of myths about working towards awesome and thus, you are forced to continually confront and squash those little suckers right out of your thinking patterns. He accurately tells you that being awesome is difficult work with long hours involved.

My only criticism is that I wish Jon had spoken more about doing what’s right in God’s eyes even if it doesn’t quite match up with what you envisioned doing in your awesome life. I am happiest when I write full-time. But, right now I think God seriously wanted a nonprofit counseling center started in my community. And my crazy resume and writer lifestyle actually is a plus for doing exactly that. So, some of my writing time is going to be nixed as I follow God’s leading to do something important for my friends, neighbors and community members.

On one of the first seasons of The Apprentice Donald Trump took his contestants to the Central Park skating rink. He told the contestants that for years, the city of New York tried to put an ice skating rink in Central Park. It never got done. Donald Trump looked at that and said, “I have enough money to put that skating rink there right now. And it’s the right thing to do. It’s time to give back.” Was building a skating rink Donald’s Trump version of awesome? Nope. We already know that. But he did it anyway…because he could.

I’m no Donald Trump. I’m a borderline good writer at best. And writing is definitely my version of awesome. But, I also know more than the average person about counseling, event planning, Facebook promotion, training, encouraging the next generation and putting people together because their skill set is needed to create something needed in our community. And thus, I’ve put writing my books on the back burner until I can get Compassion Counseling Center off the ground. Are there days when I yearn to go back to full back writing? Yep. It occurs more than I really want to admit. But, am I proud of the nearly 65 hours of counseling we have done in our first month of operation to help some people who might not get counseling any other way? Absolutely. It’s worth the sacrifice of my book writing time. Will I maybe regret this choice in about 10 years? Yep. Probably. But will I also be proud of myself for heeding God’s call to play by His “playbook” for me instead of my own? I believe so.

What is God calling you to do today? Do you feel “out in left field” about it right now? Congratulations! You’re on the right track.

God’s going to take your unique talents and the people around you to do something awesome–it may just look different than what you originally envisioned. And reading Start is an excellent place to begin that journey today.

So, what’s keeping you from awesome? Fear? Lack of support? Debt?

Punch it in the face and get busy.  We have God’s work to do.

Monday’s Post: Do you know the definition of the Word of the Week?

You Might Also Like: Slow Reader Friday: The Rabbi Who Found Messiah; Slow Reader Friday: Unstoppable; and Slow Reader Friday: Twirl

This entry was posted on Friday, February 20th, 2015 at 10:50 am and is filed under Slow Reader Friday. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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