I finished reading this a couple of weeks ago and haven’t been able to stop thinking and talking about it! My delay in posting has had more to do with figuring out how to curb myself from overwriting than anything else.
If you didn’t read this book, please, please do. You won’t regret it. The short recap is world renown researcher, Brene Brown spent 8 years studying shame and vulnerability. During her more than 10,000 interviews, she realized there was a great divide between people who lived what she calls wholeheartedly (experience joy, peace, love) and those that don’t. As she compiled lists of what made up wholehearted individuals, she realized she was in the “don’t” category. This led to a personal breakdown and visit to a therapist. In the end, she believed so strongly in the accuracy of her own findings, she made huge changes to her own life as well as her family’s. The book is her story woven through her research.
Basically, I want to be her. My copy is so underlined, highlighted and covered in notes I can’t even tell you. I wish I could hit on every point…but no one, not even my mom would read that.
So, I’ll tell you about the guidepost I’ve spent the most time thinking about since closing the book. I’d love for you to share your favorite.
Last week, my sister-in-law treated the women in our family to the symphony. The music, atmosphere, and company were all delightful, but what I can’t stop thinking about is the composer, Rismsky-Korskov’s story. (Don’t be too impressed, I read it in the program)
As a child living in Russia, Rismsky was enamored with far off places and cultures. He would anxiously await letters from his older brother’s travels with the Navy and the exotic stories they held. In particular, Rismsky fell in love with the sea, even though he had never seen it.
I picture a small boy, dreaming up the sounds and sights of the waves in his bedroom, using only the written word and his imagination to put it together. For years he wished to see, smell, and hear the ocean before ever having the opportunity. At first it seems sad to think of someone loving something for so long and never getting to see it, and it’s easy to wish you could just rush in and take him. But when you listen to his music, you hear a magical and dramatic tone inspired by these years of waiting and daydreaming. His childhood grew in him a mind that could create and compose something beautiful out of nothing. It made me wonder what would’ve become of Rismsky had he gone to the sea right away. Would he still have become the same person?
Clearly my own childhood love for the sea was never going to produce any sort of brilliance.
But I do know what it’s like to want to see a new place, live another life, to love sights and sounds I’ve never seen or heard. From middle school all the way to graduation, I couldn’t wait to get out of the small town I grew up in. It’s only recently that I’ve come to appreciate those years, certain they developed many of the best parts of me, including an appetite for the unknown. For good and for bad, my life will always need some measure of adventure;)
Rismsky’s story was a good reminder to keep dreaming bigger dreams, and to view the “not there yet” as the seasons God uses to prepare us for what is next. Typically, we can’t wait to reach the destination, even though the rough and unknown road shapes us into the people He wants us to be. Our natural tendency is to skip to the easy part, never knowing how our spirit was stunted by choosing comfort.
I came across this quote last year during a small group study.
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
I’d love to hear how this strikes you today. If you are in the middle of a difficult “not yet” season, I hope it encourages you. Perhaps you are “already there” and it’s time to push yourself into the unknown. You only live once; find the next ocean to dream about and allow God to change you and use you in new ways. Please remind me to keep doing the same.
“But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. “—Psalm 52:8