Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Start. And then start again.

Life is like a race. That's what I kept thinking when I read Jon Acuff's new book "Start." Through his witty but wise words, Acuff challenges readers to make their race awesome.

The starting line is the only line you completely control. The start is the only moment you’re the boss of. The finish? Don’t kid yourself. That’s months, if not years, away. You are going to meet dozens of people who are going to impact your finish. You are going to have countless opportunities, experiences, and challenges that dot the map of awesome you’re following. There are cliffs and rivers and jungles you can’t begin to fathom. You are going to stand on a mountaintop that is better than anything you ever dreamed and laugh at the idea that you thought you could plot out your finish.

{Jon Acuff in "Start"}

Starting is our choice. We have dreams and ideas. This book will make you want to get them from your head, onto paper, and into your life. At least it did me. It's a practical approach to a topic that is hard to wrap words around. And, personally, this book came at a good time. On the heels of Holley Gerth's "You're Made For a God-sized Dream," this dreaming business wasn't new to me and I was eager for more encouragement and direction. 

Jon Acuff tells some his own failures that led to successes and the people who helped him along the way. Of course, not everybody you meet will want to help you, but that's to be expected. Not everyone will get it. I appreciated his point that I shouldn't be running this race -- my race -- for anyone by me. And, well, God. But Acuff doesn't preach faith element, which, really, is OK because it doesn't aim to be that kind of book. 

Some people are going to be farther ahead. Others will be trying to catch you. Even so, focus on your race, what you're called to do. That doesn't mean everything will go as planned. There will be hurdles and obstacles and fun surprises and new friends and decisions and interruptions. That's got to be OK because the journey is an essential part of the race.

We want to plan the road to awesome. We want to talk about our ten-year visions. We want to detail every step before we take a single one. To make sure there’s no room for mistakes or failure. But when we do that, when we squeeze our lives and purposes that tightly, we eliminate any room for surprises. ... We scowl when people interrupt what we’re doing at work, grumble when neighbors want to talk at the mailbox, and curse momentary distractions to a day we’ve planned. The road to awesome, though, is defined by the surprises. It’s not a block in a downtown city laid out long ago by methodical city planners. It’s a rambling dirt road with twists and turns that offers something new at every corner. Let’s leave room on our maps for some surprises.

{Jon Acuff in "Start"}

Throughout the book, there is advice on what to do through each phase: Things can change. Have purpose. Rest. Realize you can't do it all. Try the things you think you want to do. Be brave. Have fun. It's about your heart, not the size of your audience. Find a mentor. Practice. Work hard. Volunteer. Take a break. Guide people. Start again. {Obviously he elaborates on all of these throughout the pages.}

You may get bumped. You may finish ahead of the pack. You may come in last. Either way, you'll have to start again.

I got a free electronic copy of "Start" for being part of the book's launch team, but I didn't promise anything more than my thoughts. In fact, the race analogy is mine. And those are my pictures from our trip to Keeneland this past week. 

"Start" officially releases Monday {April 22}, but if you pre-order it, you can get all kinds of FREE goodies {worth $250} to help inspire you. Your can also order it from Amazon and still receive the extras. {Details here.}

I'm also linking up to #TellHisStory with Jennifer Dukes Lee and other storytellers because this is the story that's been on my heart this year and one that God is obviously still teaching me. 

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  1. Hi Kristin,
    What a delight to find you linked up before me at JDL's ...Thank you for the encouragement and reminder that the journey will be filled with surprises...I have not had a 10 year plan in a long time :) Blessings to you :)

  2. KristinHillTaylor4/17/2013 1:48 PM

    I was excited you were linked up next to me! Loved reading your words today especially. Enjoy your day!

  3. Always love your messages, Kristin, and grateful that you share with #TellHisStory. I've been eager to hear more about "Start" so thank you for that, too!

  4. KristinHillTaylor4/19/2013 2:12 PM

    Thanks, Jennifer. And you're very welcome for the review. :)

  5. Great review. I loved the race analogy and emphasis on Start. And then start again. Most people want to have everything all planned out from start to finish before we begin anything but once we learn "the start is the only moment you are the boss of" the sooner we can START our own race.

  6. KristinHillTaylor4/22/2013 9:55 AM

    Thanks, Stan! My natural tendency is to have everything planned out, so this book and some others recently have been good for me. :)