Book Review: Wrecked

“Being wrecked means everything you believe—everything you know about yourself, your world, and your destiny—is now in question.”

What is the most uncomfortable thing that you have experienced lately?  An extra 3 minutes at a red light…your favorite snack not in the pantry…air conditioner on the fritz?  Have you ever actually been wrecked?  According to Jeff Goins in his newest release Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into Your Comfortable Life, “To be wrecked begins with an experience that pulls you out of your comfort zone and self-centeredness, whether you want it to or not.”

Goins talks about several experiences in his own life and the lives of his friends that have helped him to have a better picture of what it looks like to be truly wrecked.  After reading this book, I am more convinced than ever that being truly wrecked by the gospel is played out in how you respond following that experience.  It’s not the feeling you have at the campfire after youth camp or the share service about the mission trip…it’s about real life change that matters for His glory and the good of others.

This book impacted me personally as I desire to live a life that matters for the sake of the gospel and professionally as my heart for students is to see them truly understand what it means to run hard after Christ.  I highlighted several things while reading and have pasted them below.

  • This is a book about brave choices, about ordinary people helping beggars and moving to foreign countries. About listening to that still, small voice whispering, “Life is not about you.”
  • I hope you recall making a choice that caused you to step out of your comfort zone, that allowed you to move past selfishness and find a life worth living. I hope you tap into that experience and the thrill it gave you. And I hope you learn to live like this more every day.
  • I hope you are faced with a sacrificial decision you’ve yet to make, one that you may be avoiding or procrastinating. I hope these stories challenge you to be more courageous.
  • Emptiness knows no boundaries.
  • Something is missing. Something important. Something necessary to making a difference in the world. And most of us are afraid to find out what it is. Because we know. It’s the secret we’re afraid to admit: this will cost us our lives.
  • The experience humbled him. “Life was so simple,” he recalled. “Everything was stripped away. God’s whisper grew louder to my ears.”
  • This is what I mean by being “wrecked.” To be wrecked is to be disabused of the status quo.
  • Our brokenheartedness at the injustices we witness is what gives us compassion. So when we rush past these messy and uncomfortable moments, we take away the experiences that teach us mercy.
  • In a world that refuses to be healed, we must face the fact that we are not the heroes of our stories. It teaches us to rely on something bigger than ourselves and teaches the source of true compassion.
  • To be wrecked begins with an experience that pulls you out of your comfort zone and self-centeredness, whether you want it to or not.
  • Being wrecked means everything you believe—everything you know about yourself, your world, and your destiny—is now in question.
  • We’ve believed a lie. We’ve been told life is about us. That if we work hard enough, save enough money, and buy enough stuff, we will eventually be happy. Many of us have done just that, and we are anything but happy.
  • That’s when it hit me: this is the beginning of compassion. Not feeling better, but feeling worse. Because you can always do more. You can always give something extra, always meet another need. If your heart doesn’t break each time you go to places of poverty and need, then you’re probably doing something wrong.
  • Compassion is messy. It hurts.
  • We who are rich with respect to the rest of the world must come to grips with our own poverty if we are going to make a difference. We must allow our hearts to be broken so we can make things whole once again. We must fall apart before we can build up. Anything else is not compassion. It may raise money or impress the neighbors, but it won’t satisfy.
  • If we are to follow the Jesus who suffered with us and bled for us, we too must suffer. We must hold the dying in our arms. We must shed tears for hungry stomachs, trafficked children, and wandering souls. This is what He wants for us. It’s the reason we are called to lay down our nets and take up our crosses to pursue the Suffering Servant. And it’s the one thing we will avoid at all costs.
  • All of them understand two important truths: 1) “My life has purpose” and 2) “Life is messy.”
  • Po Bronson, author of What Should I Do with My Life? elaborates on this: We are all writing the story of our life. We want to know what it’s “about,” what are its themes and which theme is on the rise. We demand of it something deeper, or richer, or more substantive. We want to know where we’re headed—not to spoil our own ending by ruining the surprise, but we want to ensure that when the ending comes, it won’t be shallow. We will have done something. We will not have squandered our time here.
  • It’s time, friends. Time to give back. Time to step out and risk more than we want. Time to dream dreams bigger than we imagined. Time to mourn with those who mourn, to bring beauty where there are ashes, to announce a new season in the world. This isn’t mere altruism or sympathy; it’s more than a tax write-off or publicity stunt. It’s a shot at living the lives we were meant to live, that the world needs us to live, that we’re scared to live.
  • Before you can be assimilated into a new way of doing life, your old way must be broken.
  • History’s heroes know something the rest of us don’t: fear isn’t the enemy; inaction is. What we have to learn to do is lean into the things that hold us back, to move through the pain and push forward.
  • We must endeavor to be wrecked with a deep, reckless faith that confounds the world and maybe even puzzles us at times. It will be worth it.
  • We find our vocations not by focusing on ourselves, but by focusing on others.
  • “Sometimes, the hardest thing and the right thing are the same.” —THE FRAY
  • When the passion goes away, it’s the practice that sustains us.
  • Change always happens when you come down from the clouds and deal with the messiness of life. When you turn a mission trip into a lifestyle. When you walk past someone who is poor and in pain and actually turn around. Real transformation happens when you commit.
  • You need commitment in order to grow.
  • God wants to use our restlessness to call us out of the world and into a new reality characterized by order, not chaos. The point of our wandering is to eventually end up in the Promised Land.
  • If you feel you’ve been given more than you can possibly handle, take heart. This is the point where you learn to grow into who you’re meant to be.
  • Struggle shapes our character.
  • We need a new standard for young people. Clearly, the impression we’re giving the world is not a good one.
  • It’s easy to lose yourself in the pursuit of justice.
  • Trying to be effective in everything means not being effective in anything.
  • If you’re going to make an impact, at some point you need to look past the initial shock of tragedy. You need to move beyond the pain—forget discomfort, dig in, and do the work.
  • Being wrecked is about us, but compassion is about others. You can’t stay wrecked forever; you eventually have to move on. Choosing to do so may be the greatest wrecking we experience.
  • What God wants in my life is more important than what I want.
  • This is what anyone who has been wrecked can hope for: to be led where you once didn’t want to go and actually be glad you get there.
  • C. S. Lewis says about it: It is simply no good trying to keep any thrill: that is the very worst thing you can do. Let the thrill go—let it die away—go on through that period of death into the quieter interest and happiness that follow—and you will find you are living in a world of new thrills all the time. But if you decide to make thrills your regular diet and try to prolong them artificially, they will all get weaker and weaker, and fewer and fewer, and you will be a bored, disillusioned old man for the rest of your life…. It is much better fun to learn to swim than to go on endlessly (and hopelessly) trying to get back the feeling you had when you first went paddling as a small boy. (Mere Christianity)
  • All of this is about making your life matter, not growing satisfied with your accomplishments. It’s about embracing the journey of being brokenhearted for a broken world and allowing it to shape you. It’s about navigating through life with open hands, willing to be interrupted. This never goes away. You must always be available. Whenever you sense the call to slow down, to settle, you need to run. Fast and far.
  • My advice? Go for broke. Choose the hard option. Do what comfort screams “no” to—what will ultimately shape you and help others. It may be counterintuitive or against what you’ve been taught, but do it anyway. Step into inconvenience. Welcome the anxiety that comes with doing the right choice. And be wrecked once again.

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