“Are you breathing? Are you here? Did you just take a breath? Are you about to take another? Do you have a habit of regularly doing this? Gift. Gift. Gift. Whatever else has happened in your life—failure, pain, heartache, abuse, loss—the first thing that can be said about you is that you have received a gift. Often.” ― Rob Bell, How to Be Here: A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living
Three weeks ago we spent the entire day in South Boston with our favorite former megachurch pastor, Rob Bell, and still can’t shut up about it.
For those unfamiliar with his work, Rob is The New York Times bestselling author of Love Wins, What We Talk About When We Talk about God, The Zimzum of Love and his most recent book, How To Be Here. He’s been profiled in The New Yorker, toured with Oprah and in 2011, Time Magazine named him one of the 100 Most Influential People In The World. Needless to say, when we found out Rob was coming through Boston on his How To Be Here tour, we knew we couldn’t miss it.
Prior to the event, we had no idea what to expect other than “we’d be exploring the ideas in his latest book”. Good enough for us, and GUYS, this was the best talk we’ve ever been too (and we go to a lot of these self-development-type things).
A full day of totally non-religious, non-dogmatic biblical wisdom, truths and insights delivered in traditional Rob Bell funny-man fashion, to quote RB himself, it was “so good”.
Our key takeaways:
1. Who you AREN'T isn't interesting.
We all have an inner dialogue that spends way too much time comparing ourselves to everything and everyone around us. It’s that voice (or voices), constantly reminding us of everything we’re not. But here’s the thing: who you AREN'T isn't interesting. Instead of getting caught up in comparisons (judgements aren’t helpful), make the conscious decision *not* to judge what you do know about yourself with what you don’t know about other people. Yes, this is easier said than done, but it’s so much better for your psyche. Plus, you probably have no idea what they’re actually struggling with.
2. This is unique.
No one’s ever been you before. Your life, this path, it’s all unique. Where did the assumptions come from that you have to get it right on the first try? Rob argues, and we one million percent agree, you don’t. You’re a student, learning how to be you. Honor that. And be incredibly skeptical of anyone that tells you otherwise.
3. Pain is the thing that happened to you, suffering is the thing that your mind made up about it.
To be brutally honest, life can and sometimes does, suck. Heartbreak, loss, and many other things of that nature happen all the time. At some point, looking back, you will in a strange way be grateful for it. Grieve for as long as you need to (pain must be given expression or it turns into suffering), then ask yourself, “what new thing can be created out of even this?”.
4. Never feel guilty about your pleasures.
Pleasure should never be preceded by “guilt”. That kind of thinking is incredibly destructive and very, very unhelpful.
5. Ask for help.
Somebody has a masters degree in your dysfunction. Seriously, there are professionally trained therapists, psychotherapists, coaches, doctors, etc., in whatever you’re struggling with (even if it feels like you’re the only one on the planet with this issue). There is absolutely no shame in asking someone for help.
6. Life is not happening to you, YOU are creating it.
Many people believe in a limited view of reality that is, life simply happens to us. Rob however, offers a different viewpoint. Which again, we’re totally onboard with. He believes, that the universe is unfinished, that we have far more power than we realize, and that we create our lives. To add to that, how you create your life is completely up to YOU.
7. Breaks are necessary.
Sabbath, proactive self-care, in other words, taking a break from your day-to-day, whatever name you want to call it, is a gift to remind you that you are a human BEING, not a human doing. Remind yourself this, often.
If you ever get the opportunity to see Rob Bell live, please do (and please invite us). Until then, you can find Rob dishing weekly wisdom/sermons on his epic podcast, The Robcast.
Attend any awesome events recently? We want to know! Share your most loved events and your fav takeaways in the comment section. We love hearing from you!
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