WHAT IF LOVE DOES?
Editor’s Note: If there is any worry that shakes me as I look at what we publish each week, it’s that people will interpret our perspective as more shouting fear and condemnation in a culture that is already overrun with shouting fear and condemnation. My hope though, is that our readers will see that even from within our political culture we could be driven by a desire for creativity and truth and beauty in all we do, and that this idea, if followed through to its conclusion, would shake up all of our political categories. My hope is that people will find deep life-giving restoration in all we write.
But I know we need a new way of seeing in our political culture. I think that if fear and condemnation are our two primary methods of operating, we'll hear any call to something better as more fear and condemnation. For followers of Jesus, though, we need to see the world not as a great evil to condemn constantly, but as an opportunity to demonstrate the unending love of one who lived among us. The truth is, the one who saw evil most clearly came to this world not to condemn it but to offer it life.
Perhaps, though, you’re not a follower of Jesus. Maybe you’ve only heard about him, or you’re content to ride the cultural current that seems to make Christianity safe. Or maybe you reject him altogether, concluding that faith in a God-man who lived thousands of years ago just doesn’t quite add up—it’s true that the gospel is either the best news we’ve ever heard, or complete foolishness. But while we don’t need another moral code by which to better ourselves, we can all look at political culture and know that if on Capitol Hill and in our campaigns, Love Does, the impact would ripple far beyond anything we could publish here today.
-Caleb Paxton, LIBERATUS Founder
“Love doesn’t keep thinking about it, or planning for it. Simply put: love does.”
The first time I read Bob Goff’s Love Does, I cried. These weren’t tears from a tragic novel or a somber story, but because Love Does opened my eyes to what really living life in love and beauty meant. To be honest, I was living nowhere near the type life Bob invites the reader to live. I’m still not living fully in this type of whimsical life, but I am encouraged by Bob to try more. Bob lives life adventurously, or as he says, life with whimsy by doing love. The whimsy which he describes doesn’t care where you are. “All that matters is that you are on your way.” Whimsy is being in awe of the simplistic beauty around you. Whimsy loves with no bounds or rules. Whimsy is saying yes. Whimsy is living life engaged.
I can’t help but wonder what would happen if we allowed more whimsy into the current atmosphere of life on the Hill. Whimsy in politics – seems dangerous, doesn’t it? But, there is a lot to be learned from Bob in Love Does that we can apply to current times and the political machine we eat, sleep, live, and breathe.
“I want to live in a new normal where I can reach out to people different from me and just be friends.”
Lesson #1: Love Does Friendship
Bob recounts the story of explaining the tragedy of 9/11 to his children. Through the process of discussing the event, his children decided they would like to invite world leaders to their house for a sleepover. Crazily enough, many leaders invited his children over to their house. These world leaders saw that there were no agendas, no major policy for which to persuade others, just friendships to be made. Let that sink in. No agendas. No persuasion. Just “strategic whimsy” for lasting friendship. We are constantly surrounded by those who are starkly different from us and those whose ideas are at war with our own. It’s easy to fall into categorizing people as essentially good or bad depending upon which camp they fall into. What if we reached out an olive branch of just simple friendship—no strings attached to someone who lives a vastly different lifestyle than our own, to someone whose ideology is at war with our own. Maybe we would see the lesson that Bob and his family learned “to make an impact you have to go there and start a friendship” because the beauty of people is that no matter their affiliation or lifestyle they were all created in the image of God. If we’re willing to engage, that is where we will be able to find the beauty of our Creator in each new friend. “Because that’s how love rolls: it does.”
“I used to think that God guided us by opening and closing doors, but now I know sometimes God wants us to kick some doors down.”
Lesson #2: Love Does Perseverance
If there is anything I learned about Bob while reading Love Does, it’s that Bob knows perseverance as a way of life. Many of us here all had dreams of coming to DC, dreams to change the world, dreams to do something better, bigger, to leave the world impacted by goodness. Many of us have been afforded the first steps of obtaining these dreams through our hard work, connections, and favor, but most of us are just beginning that journey. Our journey may look vastly different than the one we had in mind and it might be taking a lot longer than expected. Maybe, like Bob, we won’t get accepted into a law school. Maybe we won’t be offered that dream job, but just because it hasn’t been given to us at this moment doesn’t mean that the door has been shut forever. What if it means we just need to break it down? Bob wanted to improve the world and thought being a lawyer would get him there. One problem though, he didn’t get admitted to law school. It was through his perseverance and unwillingness to take no for an answer that Bob convinced the Dean to let him in. For many Hill types, and specifically schedulers, this sounds a lot like the mentality we have when it comes to the work we do for our bosses. “Don’t take no for an answer” will forever be ingrained in our heads. How often to do we take that mentality to our dreams though? It can often feel like you are being beat up; pursuing dreams can take a toll on you. We give in. We settle. We believe that maybe it’s just not meant to be, it must not be for us – so we stop dreaming. Bob’s way of getting into law school wasn’t conventional, he had to get creative. “Maybe there are times when we think a door has been closed and, instead of misinterpreting the circumstances, God wants us to kick it down. Or perhaps just sit outside of it long enough until somebody tells us we can come in.” Are there dreams, unfulfilled desires and passions that you’ve let go because someone at some point said no? Maybe instead of giving up we are to keep persevering, finding creative alternative routes to pursue these God given dreams. Maybe we are to engage whimsy: “I’ve always wondered if, when we want to do something right and good, God places that desire deep in our hearts because He wants it for us and it honors him”.
“It has always seemed to me that broken things, just like broken people, get used more; it’s probably because God has more pieces to work with.”
Lesson #3: Love Does Brokenness
When Bob and Sweet Maria got hitched there was a snafu with the cake and it splattered across the pavement. Instead of wallowing in despair they decided the best thing to do was salvage as much cake as possible and go on. Bob compares patching the broken cake to our broken lives. It’s his understanding that broken people are used “not just when we’re broken, but especially because we’re broken”. When we look to those around us or inwardly, brokenness is rampant. We are broken people trying to fix a broken system. Bob understands that we weren’t made perfect and that we will never be perfect. In our imperfection we can humbly approach the perfect one who uses us in spite of our brokenness to bring about redemption and healing to us, those around us, and our broken systems. The beauty that is found in our brokenness astounds me the most. Our brokenness affords us with the opportunity for a healer: a healer who repairs our broken hearts and our broken systems, to lead us to his beauty.
There are many lessons and many words of wisdom to be found from Bob in Love Does. I truly encourage everyone of every background to read this inspiring book. It’s a guide for living a different kind of life. A life full of wonder, full of whimsy and a life full of love. These should be the things that drive us to a creative pursuit—of finding alternative routes in broken systems—of befriending our proverbial enemy in beautiful pursuit—of persevering and dreaming when the light seems dim. “Because that’s what love does.”
The writer is currently an Executive Assistant in the U.S. House of Representatives.
WEEKLY ACTION ITEM:
Starting this week, we’re adding a weekly action item connected to what we publish on the journal each Wednesday. If you like what you’re reading on LIBERATUS, we’d love for you to write this story with us! Spend some time this week journaling about the idea that Love Does. What would you do differently?
Want to take this a step further? Donate $150 and we’ll send you one of our customized journals (supply is limited).