You’ve Been Wrecked, Now Commit!

August 14, 2012

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I’ve spent the last 21 years working in a primarily short-term missions organization, Youth With a Mission (YWAM). I’ve seen countless lives  wrecked for the ordinary as they served others through missions.

This is the premise of Jeff Goins’ recent book.

Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into your Comfortable Life

The most powerful moment of the book came in Chapter 6 where Jeff essentially asks the following question:

Why does a “wrecked” experience so often lead to a future inability to commit?

Wow.

This is a chapter everyone in my organization needs to read.

He begins the discussion with an attention grabbing statement. “An unchecked dissatisfaction with the status quo will lead to a reckless lifestyle of bouncing from one thrill-seeking adventure to the next with little commitment to a place or a person.”

There is a normal phase we all pass through in life used to discover what our career path will be. It is normal to attempt several endeavors or even taste short-term missions as an opportunity.

I, like Jeff, am in favor of this.

The problem comes when we never leave this normal phase of life.

I am sad to say I know many in my organization like this. Mark Driscoll calls them, “boys who shave.”

This phenomenon is not limited to short-term missions. It is generational. It is present in both traditional and non-traditional career paths.

We justify our inability or unwillingness to commit in spiritual terms. “They want to be open to what God might have for them, or they haven’t received “confirmation” through prayer”, Jeff writes. Those who aren’t Christians exhibit this tendency by “following their hearts.“Sometimes what holds us back from making committed decisions is the excitement of doing something new.”

Jeff Goins is not merely pointing the finger, he is looking in the mirror. He recalls many of his own stories where commitment was hard to choose, yet conclude maturity has only come through making the difficult choice to commit.

Jeff advocates making a minimum of a two-year commitment to anything you are serious about doing. In my YWAM sphere of influence, we have advocated calling people to the same. In doing this, we needed to change our language. We call a two-year commitment a short-term one. In YWAM, two years can seem like and eternity to many young people. But in reality, it is the minimum to truly see something built to last.

Barna group president David Kinnaman makes a number of profound observations in the book. “Sticking it out in a job that is a struggle may be the best thing for your character. Maybe the company of the situation is bad. But what if your future would be even more difficult? What if God is getting you ready for an even tougher assignment. ”

I agree. I recently used the same line of reasoning to promote amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius’ endurance leading to the Olympics. By overcoming a physical handicap, he reached a level few do; an Olympic athlete.

“In order to really be wrecked, you’ve got to commit.”

“We cannot live our best lives if we continue living like prodigal children, wandering aimlessly with little consistency or focus. We will leave no legacy and have no impact if we do not learn this lost art of commitment.” (Jeff Goins)

Being wrecked without a legacy is merely an emotional experience.

What legacy do you want to leave?

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Chris

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A missionary teacher for 24 years currently living in South Africa. I am a recovering superhero, daily in need of the grace of God