Flying Through A Valley
Tuesday is one of my favorite weekdays. You might be asking why Tuesday. I know most people love Fridays; it is the end of the work week and start to 2 days off! Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Fridays too but these last 4 years, Tuesdays have become an exciting day at my house. Let me explain.
Tuesday is the day of the week when new books are released.
Books have been a huge part of my healing over the past 4 years. God has used many authors to speak to me in my time of brokenness and heartbreak. Now, for me, reading has become one of favorite hobbies. It brings me joy and peace.
I always love it when I find an author whose books speak to me. One of my favorite things is to go back and read all the books that he or she has written. I also enjoy pre-ordering any of their new books. I love when I find an amazon package waiting for me when I get home from teaching on Tuesday with their newly released book.
This just happened to me in the middle of April!
I had read his first book in 2013 and thoroughly enjoyed it. Bob Goff’s, “Love Does” is full of stories that made me laugh, made me cry but most importantly, encouraged me to put my love in action. Surprisingly, he had not written another book since, so you can imagine my excitement when I got wind that his second book was releasing in April. I pre-ordered it right away.
Bob Goff’s book, “Everybody Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People” is phenomenal. Just like his first book, I was laughing out loud during some chapters and crying during others. Honestly, let me just say that his second book does not disappoint. His stories will touch your heart and challenge you as well! If you have not read either of his books, I highly recommend them both.
What I love most about his books are the stories he shares. His stories are fascinating: the people he has met, their impact on his life and his impact on their life, the places he has gone, flying solo, flying with his son, skydiving… the list goes on and on. Bob truly lives life to the fullest. But what is so inspiring in his book is the way he loves people and shows his love in extraordinary ways! It truly is contagious; you will want to “become love” too.
Throughout his book, Bob shares these “becoming love” statements. Here are some of my favorites:
“People who are becoming love keep it real about who they are right now, while living in constant anticipation about who God’s helping them become.”
“People who are becoming love are with those who are hurting and help them get home.”
“People who are turning into love give their love away freely without any thought about who gets the credit.
“People who are becoming love talk a lot more about what God’s doing than what they’re doing because they’ve stopped keeping score.
“People who are becoming love lose all the labels because they know they don’t need them.”
“People who have developed a friendship with Jesus and are becoming love aren’t immune to life’s setbacks.”
Speaking of life’s setbacks and hard times, I want to share with you one of my favorite stories in the book. Bob was flying his airplane to Palm Springs where he landed next to a fighter jet with two “Top Gun” pilots. These guys purposely had come to Palm Springs so they could practice flying in the valleys. They wanted to sharpen their skills, teamwork, and reaction time. Most pilots fly high above the mountaintops to avoid obstacles in their flight plan but these pilots knew that flying in the valley would make them better. Bob then compares this story to real life.
He says, “Everyday we get to decide if we’ll take it easy and fly over the mountaintops in our relationships or make ourselves better and find our way through the valleys.” Honestly, it is simpler to take the easy route but, “if we want our faith to get stronger, we need to navigate some deep places.”
This can be hard. Most of don’t like the uncomfortable places or the uncertain circumstances. We make our flight plan, the way we want our life to go and we are frustrated and hurt when it derails. We want to fly high over the mountaintops with no obstacles in our path. Many times, we think this path of least resistance is the best plan for our lives. But like Bob says, “Sometimes God changes the trajectory of our plans by taking away what we’ve comfortably known and lets us fly through valleys that are deeper and narrower than any we’ve been through before.”
Just like fighter pilots know, we will grow the most in the valleys. They will stretch us beyond what we are comfortable with. The hard times will challenge us to the core and we have to lean on God to endure them. Listen to what Bob says, “God uses these circumstances to shape our hearts. He knows difficulties and hardship and ambiguity are what cause us to grow because we are reminded of our absolute dependence upon Him.” I love this!
We don’t need to fully depend on God when we are flying high above the mountains and life is problem free. But, we will need to fully depend on God when our doctor calls with a cancer diagnosis from our test results. We will need to lean on God when our marriage falls apart or our child makes a poor choice. We will need to rest on God when the pregnancy test says negative again for the 12th month in a row and you wonder if you will ever become a mom. Or when your loved one suffers a heart attack and you did not even get to say goodbye.
After walking through one of my hardest valleys, I can honestly say that God has grown me more in the last 4 years than in my whole life. My divorce definitely rocked me to the core. But what I found in the center was a God who faithfully walked along side of me, guiding me through my valley. The hard circumstances did not change, but I was changed. If you find yourself flying through a valley, I highly recommend God as your co-pilot. You will never be the same again!
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