Tuesday, August 18, 2015

For the Love of a Freebie

Last March a dear friend of mine sent me a text with a link to apply to be a part of the launch team for Jen Hatmaker's Book For the Love. Her message simply read:
This is perfect for you. Get on FB now and sign up! 
Once I saw the text and got to the link, it had been up for hours. I read that spots went in two hours the last time they cast such a net, so I felt pretty sure I'd missed the boat. But just for kicks, I typed out my application. There was no time to self-edit or second guess -- I quickly hit submit and moved on about my day. I didn't expect any reply since I had thought so little about my response to why they should pick me. So it took me a minute to realize what I was reading when I found this in my inbox just a few days later:

Knock, knock. Who's there? YOU, because YOU are on my Launch Team for 'For the Love'!! Yeah baby!! We only had room for 10% of all applicants (what the??), and we think you got the stuff. THANK YOU for your amazing enthusiasm; I couldn't possibly love you more if I tried with all my might. You are leading well and using your influence like a boss. We all think you are amazing. We are going to get this thing off the ground together! Let me tell you, launching a book is really fun. And some of you are going to end up on the inside cover, so THAT. I said on January 1st this year that one goal was to spend less time pleasing "Not My People" ... well let's be clear: YOU ARE MY PEOPLE. I love you so. I really do. I am loyally yours forever. Let's do this thing. My marketing team will now tell you all the fun details.
- Jen 
5,000 applicants.
500 were accepted.
One of them was me.
Boom goes the dynamite.

I have no idea what that last phrase means, but Emerson says it a lot when she's excited, so it seemed appropriate for such a fun occasion. It's obvious from my prediction how excellent I am at decoding the future. Seriously. I'm a pro at deciding how things are going to go. I guess it's the story-teller in me. I love to predict what someone's response might be to something I'm going to share or even predict how an event or an entire day might go. How does this work for me? Not well. Not very well at all. Though I love to live in the moment, I do often write the next chapter of my story in my head long before I've turned the page on the day or even week I'm living in.

I need to stop doing this because here's what I've learned: God is much better at planning than I am. Sure, He throws in way more plot twists than I'd prefer, but the stories He writes for me are far better than any I could write for myself. To be a part of this group is humbling and hilarious and wonderful all in one breath. I know that I'm here only because of God's sweet favor upon me and His desire to give me something He knew I'd love. I wouldn't have imagined it would be possible, but He made sure that it was.

This team of #500, including Jen herself, has proven to be  such an authentic, life-giving group of people on Facebook of all places. We're friends now. Like really friends. Several of us have met up and deep connections have formed. It's the heart of the book with skin on it. We so very much need a tribe. Maybe it's just you linking arms with one other person. Maybe they bring in their person and it grows from there. All I know is this, we were made for community. We are so much better together.

I can hardly believe that my new tribe and I are going to Jen's house in two weeks for a party. Yes. that!! Squeeee!!! It all started because of the book's message lived out in real life:
Be kind.
Be you.
Love Jesus. 
It's the heartbeat of my life. I mean really. It's everything I aim to embrace. I want first to be kind. Next I want to be the most authentic version of myself, and last I want to love Jesus and love others the way He did. That's it and that's the heart of this book. It's profoundly simple yet stunningly sobering.

I want you to have a copy of this book.

I’d lend you mine but it’s covered front to back in underlines and highlights and all manner of notes. Instead I'll mail you one that I purchased which is brand spanking new and set to arrive on my doorstep later today. Not that I dare venture to predict the future even one more time, but I do have Amazon Prime, so it's looking good.

Here's how you get a shot at this beautiful book:
Share this blogpost on Facebook or Instagram, like the blog's Facebook page (hey, I like you already:), tell me that you did (in either a comment on the post, a tag or a comment here), all before 9:00 pm CST on August 23, and that's it!

I'll randomly select one lucky winner a week from today! Which is also the day my girlies return to school, so we all win!

Even if you don't win, I hope you'll buy yourself a copy. My endorsement might give you a few more reasons to head to Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and wherever fine books are sold. :)

Since Jen Hatmaker wrote this book, I expected it to be good. What I didn’t expect was to laugh to the point of tears all while having my tidy little paradigm for life turned upside down. For the Love shredded the imaginary scorecard I kept on myself as a wife, mom, friend, and colleague. The profoundly simple message to follow Jesus’ lead for loving everyone well is transformative and such a relief. Everyone should read this book and feel the freedom that comes from embracing their own humanity – our very best offering after all.

2 Comments so far - Add yours!

  1. Yeah! Can't wait to read this one!

  2. I wrote about the community, too. It's been the biggest blessing of this launch, and I'm looking forward to building community here where I live through a book study beginning in a few weeks… not that I know what I'm doing… but this is me, stepping out in faith. Playing my note.