WRECKED: When a Broken World Slams into Your Comfortable Life, by Jeff Goins (Moody Publishers, 2012)
You know those books you buy because you’re sure they’ll have a big impact on your life? And then you leave them alone because you sense the process will be uncomfortable?
Don’t do that with this book.
Yes, buy it, but do yourself a favour and read it.
Based on the subtitle (When a Broken World Slams into Your Comfortable Life), I expected a book full of painful stories. That’s why it sat on my e-reader for so long, untouched.
Wrecked does share experiences—the author’s and others’—with the homeless and the poor, and they catch at the heart but not in a damaging way.
The main point I took from the first chapters is that yes, the needs are overwhelming, and no, we can’t make it all better, whatever “it” is. But it’s okay—even healthy—to step into others’ hard places and to offer what small help we can, even if it’s only by our presence.
Many of us hold back because we fear the pain. Since reading Wrecked, I understand that entrusting the pain to God’s wiser care is enough. I don’t have to fix it, just to do my part in His work. In fact, the book warns,
When we rush past these messy and uncomfortable moments, we take away the experiences that teach us mercy. [Wrecked, Kindle Locations 411-412]
Jeff Goins’ premise is that we each need to be wrecked to learn how to fully live. To learn that it’s not all about us. The wrecking “process” is unique to each of us. As such, the book focuses more on “what next?”
For younger adults, he talks about not perpetually chasing yet another wrecked experience but learning the value of commitment, of sticking with a person or situation when things get hard. This is part of growing up, and it’s preparation for long-term commitments like careers, marriage and children. I liked his suggestion that our mobile younger adults begin with short-term commitments of 1-2 years (for work and volunteering, not marriage!).
Commitment teaches us to persevere for the long term, to choose to do the hard-but-right thing even when that’s something mundane like changing diapers, one more day at the 9-to-5, or simply routine chores. That’s just as much a denial of self as going on a short-term mission to serve the needy. It’s serving others and not indulging ourselves.
I’m in the older age group, and the challenge to “do the hard thing” has encouraged me in the same-old-same-old of responsibility. I’ve found myself repeating that advice when I’m tempted to slack off or whine about preparing yet another meal or cleaning another bathroom.
Wrecked is a book I’ll go back to again. I’ve taken advantage of Kindle’s highlighting feature and marked many passages. Here are a few:
We’ve believed a lie. We’ve been told life is about us. [Wrecked, Kindle Locations 451-452]
If you don’t acquire the discipline to push through a personal low point, you will miss the reward that comes with persevering. [Wrecked, Kindle Locations 1468-1469]
Jeff Goins is a 20-something writer with a heart to share what he knows. I’ve gained a lot from his blog and newsletter. Visit Goins, Writer to learn more about who he is and what he does. You might want to check out his podcast series The Wrecked Sessions, where he explores “what it means to live a more selfless, purposeful life.” To read more about Wrecked and to access sample chapters, click here.
[Review copy from my personal library.]