Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Getting Wrecked with God

I am thrilled to have Jeff Goins, here with us today. Jeff hosts the informative blog, Jeff Goins Writer, and is the author of Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into your Comfortable Life. Because Jeff was so generous with his time and responses, I will post the second part of his interview Friday.

Being more familiar with the slang terminology of “wrecked” as a life turned upside down by a drug or alcohol induced state, I was curious about Jeff’s title.  Jeff’s Wrecked, however, offers us a whole new concept of what it looks like to be “wrecked” by God.

Certainly the desire to make an impact in the world is not unique to this generation, but perhaps the disillusionment with religion and religiosity is. Although pews may be emptying, hearts are still seeking a way to serve. It is for this generation, “a generation intent on pursuing our life's work in a way that leaves us without regrets,” that this book is written.

Jeff, you say all of us need an initial “wrecking”—a dismantling of our comfortable status quo—in order to be broken of our selfish ways. I can see how this could happen if you are a twentysomething with few responsibilities, or if you are someone with an opportunity to go on a mission trip. But what might a “wrecked” experience look like for a woman at home with young children? A person working long hours to support a family?

Great question, Marcia. In fact, I tried to address this in the book. I believe everyone needs to get wrecked, to have their worlds turned upside down. The point isn't to go on an adventure; that's just the context for where a wrecking can happen. But you can get wrecked just about anywhere.

Getting wrecked is about catching a vision of a life that is about more than you. I know few people who face this on a daily basis more than stay-at-home moms or parents working to support a family. The reason I wrote Wrecked was to help give people a framework to understand why life is sometimes hard and what our responsibility is when we face difficult situations.

A lot of people have responsibilities and resent them, but having others rely on you and having experiences that call you to be a better version of yourself are the only ways we grow. The trick is to not avoid these situations but press into them.

Does a person have to be intentional about initiating their own wrecking experience?

Not at all. Often, you get wrecked without meaning to. However, that doesn't mean you can't be intentional about facilitating such an experience. In fact, I think you could. Because the truth is there is a world full of pain out there that you will run into sooner or later. The good news is you can be intentional about it, so that it's not so jarring or debilitating.

How can we be sure we are truly moving in compassion and living for something bigger than ourselves and not simply serving because it feels good to do so?

Great question. The Latin root of the word compassion literally means "to suffer with." 

When you do good, how do you feel about it? Do you secretly pat yourself on the back for another deed done well? Or does your heart break over all the needs you aren't meeting? In my experience, the best litmus test for compassion is whether or not you feel bad. Are you solving people's problems, or suffering with them?

You say commitment is an important part of living a wrecked life. Why is that?

Because every adventure ends. Every thrill eventually goes away. And in the beginning, doing good can feel kind of exciting. But what sustains true compassion is commitment. Everything else is just a short-term excursion, a weekend trip you can check off your list. If we care about making a difference in the world, we will have to commit to something — a cause, an organization, a relationship — even after the feelings go away.

The hardest part of getting wrecked is what comes after. What happens when the trip is over and the memories fade, and life begins to feel normal again. You can’t freelance compassion—it’s a fulltime vocation.


I suspect that’s the harder part.

What do you think?  Do you long for more?

Have you been wrecked? Would you tell us about it?

Stop back Friday for the rest of Jeff’s interview.

And remember— His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.—2 Peter 1:3


  1. Excited to see Jeff's interview here, Marcia! As I read your Call of a Coward, I sensed that God wrecked your life, too.

    I'm actually going with Jeff on his trip to Guatemala next month. Can't wait!

  2. Oh Susan, How wonderful! Please keep me posted.


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