Monday, April 1, 2013

Start: It's time to start on the road to awesome

Every Monday in April I will be writing a recap, review, or thoughts on the book Start by John Acuff. I'll cover about 2 chapters each week. I received an advanced copy of the book so I don't expect you to follow along (if you have one too, please join me!) but by April 22nd - in honor of my 31st birthday - you can have your very own copy. Pre-order it now and you'll also get $250 worth of other awesome goodies from Jon Acuff. All opinions are mine.
Start by Jon Acuff

Today marks the first of a 5 week series I'm writing about Jon Acuff's newest book Start. I struggled with how to start this post, which seems ironic...How do you start a blog series about starting? I'm not sure. The easiest thing would be to give you bullet point quotes that rocked my world. But that's not helpful. Come April 22nd you can read it for yourself. I promise that some things Jon Acuff says in the book will rock your world. 

I posted a quote via facebook and twitter last week - "Without a point of origin, even the best map is rendered useless" (9). Take a look around your life. Do you know what you are good at or have the voices of fear been allowed to take over? Are you just going through the motions of your life or are you actually living? If you are confused about where you're starting or aren't honest with yourself about where you are, you'll have a difficult time becoming awesome. "Honestly looking at where you currently are in life turns your present into a platform you can jump from instead of a prison that will hold you back" (41).

From here, Acuff writes about the five stages you go through to be awesome.
  1. Learning
  2. Editing 
  3. Mastering
  4. Harvesting
  5. Guiding
Traditionally people who have achieved awesome started learning in their 20s, straight out of high school or college, and moved through each stage a decade at a time, finally retiring as a guide. Why do people stick with average if awesome is just a 5-step process? Because it takes time, energy, and attention. You don't just happen upon awesome, you get there with intentionality. 
So then why do most people decide to travel down the average path? The truth is they don't decide. The only thing you have to do on the average path is not die...The average path is the easier of the two paths, and it's dangerously comfortable. I spent many years on it without realizing I'd been there a week (14-15). 
In August of 2006 I was a youth minister at a local church. I was spending a week at camp with a group of kids from my church. One night while worshipping in an outdoor amphitheater, we asked the students to pray about a call to ministry. I felt very clearly that God was calling me to attend seminary. I didn't audibly hear the words, but God spoke to my heart that I was supposed to go to seminary. I had no idea why except that it was going to help me be awesome. I had dreams of helping people, working with youth ministers, and mentoring the next generation of Christian leaders.

I graduated from seminary in 2009, still without a clue as to why I went and if it was worth the incredible investment of time and money I spent. In seminary I learned to think critically, write authoritatively, and built incredible relationships. I worked harder than I've ever worked and graduated with honors for the first time in my life. Having a good GPA and a degree does not get you a well-paying job. Over the next several years I worked a variety of jobs ranging from terribly boring and soul-sucking to life-giving and challenging. During that time I worked hard, made connections, and dreamed about what my awesome job would be like. In 2011 I accepted my dream job. I am currently doing what I was created to do.

Of course I still have a long way to go, but I've chosen the path to awesome. And I need to choose it everyday because the fierce voices of fear get me off my game!

Kicking fear in the face (Jon says punching fear in the face, but I prefer the image of a good karate kick!) allows you to take control of the one thing you can - the starting line. You can't control where the road takes you, how many obstacles you'll encounter, or who you will meet on the journey, but you can control when you start. I could have ignored the little voice that told me to go to seminary. Think about all the things you've done that are awesome...

I'm thinking about the awesome things I've done - walking 60 miles, getting pregnant, marrying my husband, going to seminary, and moving. When I started those things I had no idea how things would work out. I can't control the finish line but I can control where the starting line is.

Are you ready to take the road to awesome?

Where are you now versus where you'd like to be? Are you ready to start? What is an awesome goal you can make for the month of April?

This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are uniquely mine. 

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