My first encounter with Jeff was through his blog. His book, You are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One), helped me embrace that piece of my identity and his blog posts and newsletters have been sources of encouragement to do the hard work of writing regularly.
I picked up a copy of Wrecked based on his previous helpfulness and this book did not disappoint. Jeff uses his experience struggling to find his passion and calling to walk his readers through the process God uses to transform who we are and discover what we were created to do.
Two experiences in my early twenties fell within his description of being “wrecked”. A trip to Central Asia and a frustrating season within the institutional church ruined me and left me processing what I seen and experienced. That process of dealing with unresolved emotions, thoughts, and feelings produced a person and lifestyle that might not have been possible otherwise.
In the early pages of Wrecked, Jeff shares some powerful insights.
“This is what I mean by being “wrecked”. To be wrecked is to disabused of the status quo. It means to have a transformation that goes beyond mere words – to be introduced to another way of life, to follow in the footsteps of a teacher who is calling you through the eye of a needle. Often it involves being catalyzed by an encounter with pain. The process is horrible and ugly and completely gut-wrenching – and at the same time, beautiful. It is real and hard and true. Most of all, it is necessary.”
Jeff focuses on the value of these frustrating, messy, unresolved experiences in our lives.
“We want to explain and understand messy moments like this one. At church or the mall or over dinner, we’ll say to our friends that a seed was planted. They’ll nod in mock recognition, offering some cliche about how you never know what good was probably done. For me, this has always been unsettling. It feels like patting myself on the back for my own apathy. It’s a way to anesthetize the pain, to dull the discomfort of not doing enough. So often we want to move quickly past these moment…although I didn’t realize it that day, the lack of resolution we experienced was a gift.”
Even in writing a book about finding purpose and meaning through our life journey, Jeff shares rather transparently about his struggle with this medium.
“That’s why I don’t believe in books or programs. I am even hesitant to present these ideas here, like this. There’s something ultimately unfulfilling about a promise of a “better you” that doesn’t involved pain and sacrifice. You can’t grow without pain; you can’t find you’re life’s purpose if you aren’t willing to embrace discomfort and join others in their suffering. Simply reading this book won’t help. You need to act too – to do something hard, even dangerous.”
I appreciate how Jeff pushes us to put down the book and take tangible action in response to what they’ve experienced.
“If you are going to find work worth doing – a vocation to fulfill you and challenge you – you will have to encounter a reality bigger than yourself. It may not be what others say it should be or what you think, but it will come if you are looking for it…at times, the work you’re called to do will be hard and confusing, but if you press in, you will see the purpose behind the pain…What I’m trying to say is this: it’s hard to get your heart broken on the couch.”
In the rest of the book, Jeff shares the process he walked to move from being wrecked to living the life he was created to live. I will leave that process behind the curtain. (Hey, I can’t blog the entire book!)
I appreciated Jeff using the term “wrecked” and unpacking the meaning behind this word. Jeff, I resonated with your journey and your courageous steps as a writer have inspired me to act with the same boldness. I’m privileged to share your wisdom with my community here on my blog.
You can pick up Wrecked on Amazon.com and other places great books are sold.
Share in the comments below: When have you been wrecked? What did you experience? How did it change you? What did you do as a result?