Posts Tagged ‘Jon Acuff’


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


The 12 Days of MIP 2014: 4 & 3…

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

I hope that 2015 is a year in which you find personal success mastering challenges that have proven difficult in the past. Today’s choices for my favorite posts are about taking on the challenge to improve your walk with the Lord and to improve your physical health. Self-improvement, in whatever “realm” is at the heart of why I write this blog. I hope MIP inspires you to take charge of your life, punch fear in the face (in the words of Jon Acuff), and not only improve you, but the world around you. Here’s for a sampling of what I mean.

My 4th most favorite post is about changing one simple thing to improve your health. I asked all of you to wear a pedometer each day. It’s amazing how knowing how many steps you have taken each day causes you to be more active. If I were to issue this challenge today, I’d ask you to purchase an activity tracker that not only counts your steps, but tells you how many calories you have burned and evaluates your sleep patterns. Knowledge is power, folks, and merely knowing how well you’re meeting your fitness goals can spur you on to take control of your health in a relatively easy. But, if you can’t afford an activity tracker, a pedometer is a good alternative. Go here to see what I wrote in 2014.

If you had told me that I would blog about Beth Moore’s latest study when I started MIP, I would have seriously taken your temperature. I am still a little stunned that her organization gave me permission to do this. And many of you enjoyed these posts, particularly some of you who weren’t able to participate in her study because of distance or time constraints. Expect more of this in 2015! And for those of you who didn’t like these posts, I’m praying for you. 🙂 Go here for a sample of what I wrote this past fall and my choice for my 3rd most favorite post this year.

What simple things can you do this year to improve your life and the life of people around you? You are more powerful than you know. 🙂

Monday’s Post: What was your favorite WOW of 2014?

You Might Also Like: The 12 Days of MIP 2014: 6 & 5; The 12 Days of MIP 2014: 8 & 7; and The 12 Days of MIP 2014: 10 & 9


Love Letter To…Myself???



In reading Quitter (that I now have at the top of my best sellers’ list), I learned of a web site called At you can write yourself an email and schedule it to arrive pretty much whenever you want, in the future. (You do have to send it to yourself at least 30 days out.)

So, this gives you an opportunity to do many things:

  1. Hug yourself. In fact this is the kind of message I hope you send yourself today and every day. Tell your “future self” what you did today that you thought was really awesome. Why? Because we tear ourselves down way too often and unfortunately, people do not always notice when we overcome our bad or self-defeating habits, moment-by-moment, day-by-day.
  2. Give yourself a goal and then set a reasonable date to achieve said goal. This provides a measure of accountability and if you find that you didn’t meet the goal, it gives you a chance to cheer your future self up about it. In addition, it gives you an opportunity to ask yourself why you didn’t make it—was the goal really reasonable? Was I lazy? Was I fearful? Did I not take into account all of my tendencies and scheduling issues to meet this goal? If so, then send another email further out to see if you can achieve that goal with more self-exploration and most important, more time!
  3. Dream a little. Tell your future self what you’d like to do with the future and then see if merely stating it to your future self helps you achieve a little piece of the dream.
  4. Take a “temperature reading.” Sometimes it’s good to just see where we were in the past, emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally. Are you happier in the future or sadder? Why? What needs to change to improve things? No self-loathing allowed…this is merely a measuring stick so you can “adjust your sails” to take full advantage of the “prevailing winds.”
  5. Wish yourself a happy birthday or a Happy Easter or a Merry Christmas. Why rely on others to give you the wishes you want to hear? Give them to yourself.
  6. Tell a story. What was in the news on the day you wrote the email? Sometimes it’s just fun to see what was so “all-fire important” on a day in the past and then realize it wasn’t quite the emergency the world thought it was.
  7. Define “enough.” What if future opportunities sidetrack you from what you really want to have and accomplish? Prevent that by deciding, now, what you would like to ideally have when you consider yourself a “success.” Perhaps you’ve already attained that? Great! Remind yourself of that!


And finally, you can make your emails public! So, after you post an email to yourself, take a moment to read what others have written. In fact I invite you to do that on 3/10/13. If so, you might find an email just for you. 😉

Tomorrow’s Post: Meet “Mattson.”


Slow Reader Thursday: Quitter



In case you had not noticed, I’m gradually working towards writing certain things on certain days of the week. Today I introduce you to “Slow Reader Thursdays.”

From the time I learned to read and up to the present day, I have been a slow reader. No, I do not have some sort of learning disability that causes me to read slowly. It’s that I choose to read Every Single Word on the written page. If an author took the time to write a book, it is most likely something very important to them. And as a fledgling writer, I try to respect that.

Yes, there are times in my life when I scan. How do you live in the 21st century without scanning?? But, when I receive or buy an actual book to read, I chew on every word deliberately. There’s only one problem.

It takes me forever to finish a book. This means I may be reading books published decades ago as opposed to the “latest best seller.” This seems lost on a world that can read fast. And it used to bother me and my elementary school reading teachers, but not anymore. I enjoy taking my time with a book and digesting the poignant nuggets of truth and fiction written just for me to discover. Okay, so it was written for others to discover, too. But, that’s the way it seems to me.

So, today I am happy to discuss my first “Slow Reader” book. I first learned of Jon Acuff while taking Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University last fall at my church. Dave introduced him as, “the author of Quitter” and since unusual book titles have always fascinated me, I was instantly intrigued. And then I heard Jon speak. Jon is all about people pursuing their dream jobs. And so, it felt like Jon was talking right to my heart, since writing full-time is my dream job.

Jon (I talk about him as if he’s my buddy or something and that just is not true!) quit a pile of jobs because he always felt like he was not in the job he was meant to be doing. Gee, that sounds familiar. My resume looks like the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, minus the numerical codes.  And that was because he was trying to figure out what he was supposed to be doing. Same for me. Jon just figured it out much sooner than I did.

But, even if you’re not into writing and your dream job is something far different, I recommend reading Quitter. Because Jon has taken the time to chock the book full of useful questionnaires, inspirational thoughts and checklists that will help the reader discover what their passion or dream job is, when to leave the day job to pursue it, and how to know when you have “arrived.” The latter is something we seldom see tackled in a book on pursuing your passion and achieving it…to actually define what is “enough” now, before one is forced to make some very enticing choices when success starts to appear on the horizon. For instance, Jon recognized that he needed to ensure that he spent time with his family on a regular basis, despite many offers to speak publicly. And because he defined his “enough” early on, he scaled back his speaking schedule to make more time for his family.  If more successful people did this, perhaps we would not be reading about their devastating declines in the press.

So, if you’re ready to identify your passion, if you’re ready to figure out when it’s time to take a “leap of faith” and jump into that passion full-time, or if you’re wondering what you need to work on as you pursue that passion full-time, read Quitter. Even a slow reader like me can read it very quickly and it’s worth that amount of time for the tips and quotes alone. In fact, get ready for Jon’s quotes to appear on my Quotes page very, very soon.

There’s only one thing errantly stated in Quitter. He says I will forget all the advice he gave in the book. I plan on surrounding myself with his wisdom (literally—I have his quotes and thoughts on my office bulletin board.) until I reach my definition of “enough.” That may make Jon Acuff and his book a little difficult to forget.

Tomorrow’s Post: Love Letter to Myself…Yes, Myself