searching for Freedom: the Bob Goff kind of Freedom

have you ever met or even just seen somebody that has so much life and joy and freedom, and excitement, and peace, and love, and understanding, and compassion, and, courage. they are out there. I am not just rattling off all kinds of great characteristics that the super human could have. my first encounter with somebody like this was in Santa Barbara where I went to college. his name was Matt and no I am not secretly talking about myself. he was a year above me and one of the first few people I met when entering a community that I would soon know as real life. for me this guy Matt epitomized what I thought real life could look like. it would not be too far to say that I put him on a pedestal. I got to know him a bit more and soon realized he was just a normal dude, but had this vibrancy to his life. in the community you could tell he was looked up too, but he definitely did not act like it because he just radiated humility. everything was always so exciting with him and things were so awesome and cool all while maintaining a clear focus on reality and be present with the tough things.

the next time I came across somebody like this that totally shocked me was when I read this book called Love does. some of you know of it. it is by Bob Goff and chapter by chapter Bob tells a story how he lived by love and did crazy amazing things because love is able to do everything. if you do not know Bob, a little bit of his story contains him sitting on the bench outside the doors of the dean of USC’s law school for 3 consecutive days so he could get admitted to the law school or him confronting a room full of Ugandan witch doctors and just smacked them all upside the head and told them to stop killing people, gave them a copy of love does and the bible and then provided education for them as a way to empower them. when you see Bob in person it is like Santa Clause in the way people line up to receive hugs from him. he is as jolly as he sounds and he is also as joyful as he sounds, and the freedom just emits from him internally and also how he lives his life externally. When you meet him , you are assured that it is not just a show he is putting on.

for me these types of people seem far and few between. they are something that has always been attractive to me. I often wondered to myself why there weren’t more people like this around. why are these people so rare and how do we find, make and become like them. so in a moment of delightful friendship I asked my friend Philippe why there were not more people like Bob Goff around. what he said did not really catch me off guard, but was what I had been leaning towards but unable to confirm. my friend Philippe said there are probably more of those types of people around, but we do not see them. I think the reason I had a hard time confirming it was because I did not think I had that type of freedom and I did not think I was capable of it, so I was envious. this envy did not allow me to see what was already around me. when Philippe answered my question it allowed me to think about the people that do a good job of living freely.
the question that quickly became our discussion was who around us that we know lives this way. if we know they are there and around us, then who are they?
I have not found a universal trait that characterizes this type of person. I think one thing that was leading me down a false path in finding these people was looking for somebody that displayed their lively freedom extrovertly. these guys Bob and Matt were noticed because they were loud, outgoing, ecstatic, passionate and they came alive when around people. the list that I thoughtfully put together at this table with Philippe was not so much of the people that were outgoing and extroverted, but one’s that were not defined by what they did or their circumstances.
so I think if I were to go on a look for these kind of people I would look for the people that are not shaken when they receive a bad grade, let down when they get told they can’t do something, rushed to fit everything in, or become so consumed by things that they forget the world around them.
from what I have come up with these people are special because they view reality for what it is and they embrace it knowing nothing they worry about in the moment will change the moment, so they embrace the moment and the people in it. this embrace is not taken lightly by them either , after all people practically and metaphorically line up behind these people to get close to them. it often gets me to wonder if this is what the modern day Jesus looks like. the even bigger question that it gets me thinking about is did Jesus really just come to give us something to believe in and have hope for or was it so that we can be with him, at peace and free. there is a part of me that thinks we make this much harder than it has to be, but then I wonder why am I not there, is there even a there?
when I finished my conversation with Philippe I was left with a feeling that I needed to look around a bit more. after sitting there naming off some of the people that I knew, I realized that I did not see freedom when it was right in front of me. I was looking for the ideal Bob Goff act a like. I guess I learned that we all can not wait for that person to show up that people are lining up around to get hugs from.
most often these types of people are out doing crazy things like taking their sons on a sailing voyage across the ocean, providing education to witch doctors, or hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro. ( read love does then you will know what I am talking about)I guess what I am trying to say is that this can not be an ideal that we strive for and work towards because it looks different for different people. the best way that I can summarize this way of living is that it is a lifestyle that takes you over because it is something that you believe at your core, so it is something that just comes out of you. maybe you can say this freedom is like a religion. freedom is something that is followed and not something that is strive for.
remember to look around because this freedom looks different and can come in all different kinds of ways.
where do you see freedom being lived out and what is it?

working differently: idea’s on how to work on yourself and not just the 9-5

this season of life has been difficult to say the least. whether it has been battling depression, dealing with rejection, or the inability to find an open door to move forward in something; it has made taking a step forward in life very difficult. I have spent much time agonizing over things that I could or should be doing. I have been at war with standards and expectations. climbing through the mud of low self-worth and self-rejection. I have literally climbed mountains to try to feel something other than a storm.
there is this critique of my generation being the most entitled generation or group right now in American culture. I hear and see where the critique is coming from and I empathize with those that feel things are not fair. I do not want to be left out to dry and left out to scrape by without any wise foreseeable movement; nor do I want to be entitled. the line between making a wise decision and entitlement seems to be getting narrower and when things get narrower like a river they get pressured and move much faster. I am not saying I am not entitled because that is something that society has taught me in my upbringing and I am trying to not allow to be a part of me, but also at the same time I do not want to fall victim to the entitlement label.
what am I doing about it?
I am working. isn’t that what we are supposed to do. isn’t that the status quo once you graduate from college with a bachelor’s degree. Go apply for internships, work up from the bottom. guess what tried to come up from the bottom and I am still here. as easy as Bid Sean makes it sound to get to the top, it is not easy in today’s world.
I am satisfied with what I studied while I was at university and would not change my area of study. I do not want to follow the cultural norm of studying for something to be utilized by the business complex. I may not live as one that is counter cultural, yet, but I have made a counter cultural choice. as somebody with a degree that society does not have high regard for I have found it essential and beneficial to use my time while not in a 9-5 to work on myself.
admittedly I do have a hesitancy of going into the 9-5 prison. I say that figuratively, but also literally because for the majority of us the 9-5 restrains us from knowing ourselves, seeking what makes us come alive, spending time how we want too, and seeking the abundant life. I am not anti-work or anti 9-5, but for many of us it sucks in and does not spit out. Days pass, weeks pass, and years pass without even knowing who you really are, what makes you come alive, and having life giving relationships. Here are 12 things that we can incorporate in our lives to work on ourselves
1 go through your past and come up with the positive and negative turns in your life
2 know how and why you do things the way you do
3 ask yourself who am I and who do I want to be
4 come up with a list of things that have hurt the most in your life
5 find a cause that you are passionate about
6 take time to recognize your flaws
7 invest in meaningful and deep relationships
8 step outside of your comfort zone to learn something knew
9 find somebody that you relate to that can speak truth into your life and open yourself up for the truth
10 define what you want and see how your past has brought you to a place to do it
11 find a counselor to talk through your crap with
12 invest in something to slowly start working towards your dream

Not sure if you hear this enough, but time passes while you work the 9-5 and those 8 hours add up to 40 and then 160 hours pretty quickly. How are you spending your life. life gets difficult and sometimes you have to do what you need to do to make ends meet. Work does help to build character, but there comes a point where the work that in common in our culture becomes regressive. All I am saying is that if we want life is to be meaningful and purposeful then we have to act in such a way and work on where the change and transformation needs to start and that is with you. this work will take work and will not be easy even though it has to do with yourself. It will take commitment and perseverance because most often it will be uncomfortable work. the hope that comes from this work is much greater than the hope that comes from the 9-5, so think about how you can work differently.

Reader question: how have you worked on yourself?