“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3 (NIV)
I have been teaching a class at San Quentin State Prison for many years. There is a guy in my prison class named Chris, who doesn’t like prison food. Here is what he did — he took inventory of what was available to him and figured out a way to make food he liked.
When I asked Chris what is the coolest thing that he’s ever made in his cell, he told me he had made a cheesecake once. I couldn’t make a birthday cake with a stainless-steel Cordon Bleu kitchen and a keg of marzipan, but Chris figured out what was available to him and made a cheesecake.
Here’s what he did: He got six sticky buns from the mess hall, brought them back to his cell and tore them up. Then he mixed in a cup of melted butter. There are no stores to go to, so Chris had his friends bring him the small rectangles of butter that are served with their food.
After mixing these ingredients and a couple more together, he added two cups of cream cheese from his friends who get bagels and cream cheese. The last step was to chill the cheesecake. The whole process is a little unconventional, but it worked.
By partnering with a few friends and using what was already around him, Chris was able to make something beautiful for himself and to share with others.
God has given you everything you need to lead a beautiful life, like Peter says in 2 Peter 1:3: “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” Take inventory. What opportunities are already waiting for you? What community of people has God already dropped in your lap?
Just like Chris did, find a couple good friends and let them know what you need. If you’re like me, the list of things you need might seem like a long one, but when I blow the foam off the top, it actually includes a pretty short list of essentials — love, purpose, connection and a couple authentic relationships.
So where do you start? Perhaps you could begin understanding what you need by figuring out the stories you have made about the world you live in.
Some stories played very loudly in my life as I grew up. Looking back, these stories were not true, but they felt true. I made a story in my youth to explain some things I didn’t have the emotional tools to deal with in the world I was in, and the story helped me understand my young, complicated life.
Later, I made a simple rule to surround that story: Don’t go deep with anybody. Why? Because my story was that everyone was going to leave me and I would be left all alone. In my 20s, I found that I didn’t have very many friends. The reason for this was simple; I didn’t go deep with anybody because I believed they were all going to leave anyway.
Have you done the same? Did you make up stories to explain your life, then surround those stories with some rules that are not helping you any longer? Perhaps you made up a story that people are unsafe. Maybe your life experience pointed toward the possibility that you might feel deep rejection or be left utterly alone.
Ask yourself: Is that story true? Perhaps it was never true, and maybe some of the rules you have made around that story aren’t helpful any longer.
Some of us are snorkeling through life, living in the top 2 feet of the water, looking down on our lives rather than fully engaging in them. Most of us need to go a little deeper than we have in the past to access fulfillment.
Take the dive. Find the sunken treasure. Bring a friend or two along with you. Figure out why you are doing what you are doing, and see if it is connected to a story or a rule you have made up. Then ask Jesus to help you replace a bad story with one filled with a whole lot more grace and acceptance. Update stories to ones that are more true, more lasting, more believable.
The promise of Scripture is the same for you and for me. We have the opportunity to lead truly beautiful lives because God has already made available to us everything we need. We just have to figure out what it is that will be lasting and who God has already dropped in our paths.
God, help us to see the ways You’ve provided all that we need to live purposeful and joyful lives. Thank You for Your goodness even when some of our circumstances feel discouraging. Help us to live full lives undistracted by setbacks and filled with hope for what You have called us to. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
OUR FAVORITE THINGS
For a practical guide to living a more purposeful and less distracted life, grab a copy of Bob Goff’s book Undistracted: Capture Your Purpose. Rediscover Your Joy.
Or join Bob at one of his workshops at his California retreat center, The Oaks.
Bob Goff is a lawyer and New York Times bestselling author, and he founded the nonprofit Love Does. If you want to find out more about Bob, you can find him online @BobGoff, email him at [email protected] or check out BobGoff.com.
FOR DEEPER STUDY
2 Corinthians 9:8, “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (NIV)
What lasting things has God begun in your life that you should engage in more fully?
What stories have you created in your life that need to be replaced with truth, and who has God placed in your life to help you? Share with us in the comments!
© 2022 by Bob Goff. All rights reserved.
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