5 Things I Learned from "Love Does" {book review}


I'd heard a lot about this book. Pinterest is full of quotes from this book. Bloggers rave about it. Oh, and it's a New York Bestseller. By the time I got to chapter two, I understood why. If you let it, this book will change your life.

Lessons from Love Does Bob Goff is an attorney in Washington D.C., Honorary Consul for the Republic of Uganda to the United States, and founder of Restore International, a non-profit fighting injustices committed against children in Uganda and India.

This book is a collection of stories from Bob's life - full of whimsy, faith and LOVE. But it's not the kind of love that stops at thoughts and feelings. Bob is convinced love takes action. Bob believes Love Does.

Here are 5 things I learned from Love Does:

1. Say yes.

That's how Bob became the Honorary Consul for Uganda. One day, he got a phone call, and the man on the other end of the line asked him if he's interested in the position of Honorary Consul. Thinking it was a prank by his best friend, without a second thought, he said yes. When the man called again a few weeks later, inviting him to DC for a reception with Uganda's leadership, Bob immediately booked a ticket.

"So the next time God asks you to do something that is completely inexplicable, something you're sure is a prank because it requires a decision or courage that's way over your pay grade, something that might even save lives, say yes."

As part of #Tirzah2014, I want to say yes more often in 2014, even if it disrupts my schedule or makes me step out of my comfort zone. I want to stop being afraid and taking the time to evaluate every move I make, and instead just jump into live with full abandon, knowing that God has my back.

2. It never hurts to ask.

After 9/11, to help his kids cope with the tragedy, Bob asked them the following question, "If you had five minutes in front of a group of world leaders, what would you ask them to help make sense of life, faith, hope, and the events that are unfolding around them?" Their answer was to gather the world leaders in one room to talk it out. So, they googled the names and address of as many world leaders as possible, and sent them letters asking for a meeting.

At first, they got only polite, "Thanks, but no thanks," replies, but slowly, invitations began trickling in. In the end, Bob took his kids around the world to meet with 29 world leaders - royals, dignitaries, prime ministers and even presidents. All because they took the risk to send one letter.

So often, I buy into society's cynicism about stepping outside the norm, that I forget sometimes the naive way is the best way to go. I wish I had the guts to just sit down and write to all the people I admire and hope to meet and learn from.

When I was ten, I wrote a letter to President Bush to tell him how much I admired him and that I was praying for him. There must have been a whole lot more in it since it was several pages long, but although I never heard back from him, it meant something to me that I spoke up.

This is what matters: not being afraid to ask for what you want and stand up for what you believe in. 

The night I read about Bob's kids writing those letters, I lay in bed and typed up on my phone my own letter - what I would say to our leaders (which I can't wait to share with y'all soon!).

3. Stop planning and start living.

Bob's family has this tradition: when each child turns 10, they get to pick an adventure to go on anywhere in the world. His daughter wanted to have high tea in England. His sons picked motorcycling through the desert and climbing a mountain in the middle of a snowstorm. The glitch is that the trips happened right away - no planning or agendas, you just book a flight or get in the car and go.

"You don't need to know everything when you're with someone you trust."

God invites you and me on an adventure - not a business trip with a formal agenda, and not even a mission trip, but an ADVENTURE. We don't need to make grand plans or figure things out - we must only say yes and start doing.

I love how Bob described an adventure with Jesus - like each one of is connected to Him, and He walks a step ahead of us, making the way, and we must only hang on tight to Jesus and follow His footsteps.

Bob Goff quote

4. Bigger and Better.

"I used to think I needed to sacrifice for God, but now I know faith is like a game of Bigger and Better."

As I've tried to grow closer to God over the last few months, He's pointed out things in my life and heart that I need to let go of - material possessions, habits, and even dreams. Too often though, it's really hard for me to make those sacrifices. So I find ways to justify them and make them fit within the bounds of the Scriptures, mostly because I'm scared of who I will be without those things to define me.

That's where I'm wrong though. Because when I give up something in the name of the Lord, I make room for Him to put His blessings in that empty space. That's what the January challenge has been about: making space for God to work in my heart and life.

I love these words from the book: "He asks if we'll give up that thing we're so proud of, that thing we believe causes us to matter in the eyes of the world, and give it up to follow Him. He's asking us, 'Will you take what you think defines you, leave it behind, and let Me define who you are instead?' The cool thing about taking Jesus up on His offer is that whatever controls you doesn't anymore...When we get our security from Christ, we no longer have to look for it in the world, and that's a pretty good trade."

5. Simply put: Love Does.

The message of this book is quite simple: just go out in the world love like Jesus does. God uses ordinary people and common deeds to do extraordinary things. You don't need a certain type of diploma, a perfect life or loads of money - you must only say yes.

"And He says to ordinary people like me and you that instead of closing our eyes and bowing our heads, sometimes God wants us to keep our eyes open for people in need, do something about it, and bow our whole lives to Him instead."

I think Christians today tend to follow into two different ends of the spectrum: there are those who are worship-fueled that focus on how much Jesus loves us and just wants us to be happy, the kind of religion where anything is allowed, and on the opposite side are those who have a list of rules, do's and don'ts of what a Christian is supposed to look and live like.

Unfortunately, God is neither one of those camps. Instead, He is out there in the hearts of those souls whose only purpose in their lives are to glorify Him. These are a few chosen ones who had the courage to sacrifice their lives for Him. I want to be one of these souls.

I want to say yes to His invitation to LOVE - love myself, my family, friends and every person I meet like Jesus does.

He's sending you the invitation too, in the sunrise, in the sound of a bird, or in the smell of coffee drifting lazily in the kitchen. The one who has invited you is way more powerful than any of the impediments we think we're facing, and He has just one message for us. He leans forward and whispers quietly to each of us, "There is room."

I give this book five stars out of five. It's an easy read and since it's mostly written as a compilation of many different stories and anecdotes, the pages just fly by incredibly quickly. I will definitely be re-reading it a few times

Have you read Love Does? What did you think about it?


PS. // Per your request, this is the launch of a new series on Tirzah - monthly reviews of inspiring and encouraging books and movies for young women. If you have any suggestions for the kinds of books you want to hear about, email us at tirzahmag@gmail.com!