READY or NOT Virtual Book Club Chapter One: Vocation

For the next few months, we’ll be journeying through READY or NOT, chapter by chapter. Consider it a virtual book club where we explore a few insights from each chapter. You can follow along whether or not you read the book, but reading sure helps. We’ll continue by exploring the “Chapter One: Vocation” (pages 1-16) 

LIVE THE QUESTIONS. If we take the words of the poet Rilke to heart, we are to “live the questions.”

What does that mean? Chapter One argues for the importance of asking good and beautiful questions.  Such questions take us deeper than the ones we’re prone to ask, such as “What am I going to watch on Netflix?” or “What do I want to eat for dinner?”

To live the questions is to approach our lives with a sense of depth, reflection, wonder, and curiosity. And these are the very things required to discern vocation well. Vocation, this call by God to live as God intends us to live. Specifically, we define it in the book this way:

Vocation is a life lived faithfully with God in the many dimensions that make a good life (p. 8)
It’s a big definition for a big idea. But, with time and intention, one can break it down into reasonable bites. Vocation provides the framework to live your twenties (your thirties, forties, and so on) with hope, purpose, and meaning.

This the good life: faithful living in the areas in which you are called by God. It’s spirituality, work, church, family, and community. And it’s available to you here and now.

Q: Do your days and weeks resonate with the vision of the good life you carry with you in your heart and soul? Why or why not?

Q: What does it look like for you to flourish here and now?

Vocation is a lifelong process. Not a destination. It’s a long and often meandering obedience in the same direction. It encompasses all of you, and therefore it requires all of you.

Answer the call faithfully this week, step-by-step. It’s truly the best way to live.

Drew
#ReadyOrNotBook


**ORDER Drew’s book (co-authored with Jess Fankhauser) Ready or Not: Leaning into Life in our Twenties, by clicking HERE. #ReadyorNotBook || Read a review from Publishers Weekly || Watch the OFFICIAL Book Trailer || BONUS CONTENT

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READY or NOT Virtual Book Club || Introduction


“So, what are my twenties for, anyway?”

For the next few months, we’ll be journeying through READY or NOT, chapter by chapter. Consider it a virtual book club where we explore a few insights from each chapter. You can follow along whether or not you read the book, but reading sure helps. We’ll begin by exploring the “Introduction: So, What Are My Twenties For, Anyway?” (pages ix-xxv) 

“The twenties are the best of life and the worst of life, and I can’t tell whether something is amazing or terrible half the time.”

Our friend Ben is on to something. Our twenties are full of adventure and change. They’re also full of confusion, pressure, and anxiety. It can be a disorienting time. In one ear we hear the shouts of those telling us to live it up in our twenties until you HAVE TO settle down and start #adulting. In the other ear we hear a very different message: figure it out as quickly as possible, or else you’re failing at life.

In a way, it’s a battle between FOMO (fear of missing out) and ROI (return on investment).

Ten years is a long time to try to make sense of those two messages. In fact, it’s a decade. [just call me Captain Obvious]

My friend Alan Briggs often uses a made up word to convey the complexity of a situation: TERRICITING.
We often find ourselves in contexts in which we feel equal parts terrified and excited.

Our twenties are a terriciting time. However, I don’t think you have to just try to survive them.

Your twenties are to be lived with hope, purpose, and meaning.

This is done by living intentionally in the exploration of our vocation; God’s unique and powerful call for our lives. More on that later. But for now, I’ll leave you with the 4 mantras of living a good life in your twenties:

  • Be fully present and fully prepared in your twenties–It may seem impossible. but it’s not.
  • Actively participate in your twenties–Play a key and active role in your life.
  • Live implicated (responsible) in your twenties–You are already called to some pretty important things. Respond out of your own sense of responsibility to them.
  • Embrace freedom, not fear in your twenties–God is on your side. Christ set you FREE.

READY or NOT, you’re a twentysomething. For this ten year stretch, you might as well lean into them.

Describe your current twentysomething in one word:

Now describe it in one sentence:

Q: What insight does this provide you with how you’re living your twenties?

 


Worth Reading: Meg Jay’s book The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter–And How to Make the Most of Themis a helpful supplement to READY or NOT’s introduction.

Worth WatchingHere’s a brief teaching clip in which I argue that you can live your twenties with hope, purpose, and meaning.

Worth Pondering: “You are more powerful than you think you are. Act accordingly.”–Seth Godin

Lean into hope, purpose, and meaning this week.

Drew

#ReadyOrNotBook

Listen to the OFFICIAL READY or NOT Soundtrack on Spotify

RoNSoundtrack

To honor the release of READY or NOT: Leaning Into Life in Our Twenties, I’m pleased to present The OFFICIAL READY or NOT Soundtrack on Spotify

Curated by twentysomethings all over the world, you’ll find over four hours of music exploring the hopes, dreams, depths, pains, and struggles of being a twentysomething. Some songs are aspirational. Some are descriptive. Some are hopeful. Some are pessimistic. Some sing praises to God. Others (only a few) have some choice words about the difficulties of life [you’ve been warned. don’t @ me]. 

All explore this important season in life.

Read well and listen well. Feel free to share!

BONUS CONTENT!

overflowing-waterWe couldn’t fit all of our content into READY or NOT. Want it?

Here’s how it works in 3 simple steps:

  1. Buy your copy(ies)
  2. Fill out the form below.
  3. You’ll receive an email with download links to your READY or NOT Bonus Content.

Here’s what you can get!

 

 

  • BUY 1 COPY and you will receive:

    • 30 books to Read Before You Turn 30–We’ve curated a list of the most influential books for the twentysomething decade in a handy PDF, ranging from spirituality, relationships, work, and much more. 
    • Money in Your Twenties–One of our most popular sessions that’s NOT in the book is on personal finance. These worksheets help explore a faithful understanding of money, and provide exercises for you to build a budget and set a healthy trajectory of personal finance.  
    • READY or NOT Mantra Cards–As you read the book, you’ll find that 4 Mantras drive our approach. We’ve designed printable cards for you to download and use as reminders to live with hope, purpose, and meaning.
    • READY or NOT Worksheets–We’ve pulled all of the end chapter exercises and discussion questions and placed them in a helpful PDF. Great for taking notes!
  • BUY  2 COPIES and you will receive:

    • 30 books to Read Before You Turn 30
    • Money in Your Twenties
    • READY or NOT Mantra Cards
    • READY or NOT Worksheets
    • PLUS
      • ​READY or NOT Quote Cards–Each chapter of READY or NOT begins with quotes from other authors that inspire and provoke. We’ve designed printable cards for you to download and use.
      • 20 Scriptures for Your Twenties–Twenty passages of scripture that we feel contain special relevance to the twentysomething decade. Each are in its own printable form, for you to download and use for reflection.
  • BUY 6 OR MORE COPIES (IDEA: lead a group!) and you will receive:

    • 30 books to Read Before You Turn 30
    • Money in Your Twenties
    • READY or NOT Mantra Cards
    • READY or NOT Worksheets
    • READY or NOT Quote Cards
    • 20 Scriptures for Your Twenties
    • PLUS
      • A 45 Minute Skype session with Drew or Jess–If you put a group together and buy 6 or more copies, one (or both!) of us will schedule a Skype call to interact with your group.
      • READY or NOT Leader’s Guide–We designed READY or NOT to make it easy for groups to journey through the book together, without the need of a vocation expert. To make it even easier, we put together this leader’s guide to help facilitators.
      • The Art of Goodbye in a Culture of See You Later–Jess has penned a beautiful essay on this topic, and we’ve got some helpful exercises to follow it. Both are included in this PDF to help you navigate flourish amid major life changes.

To get your bonus content, fill out this form below.

 

 

Spirituality Part 3: RESURRECTION


I’ve heard it said before that all of life can be understood as BIRTH, DEATH, & RESURRECTION, for these are the three pillars of the spiritual life. In this season of Lent, I think they form a helpful frame in which to reflect and prepare. This is the third of three letters that focus on one pillar at a time as we now find ourselves in Holy Week.

RESURRECTION.
Birth. Death. Resurrection. Each holds significant weight and space in our souls. But resurrection is the most difficult to grasp. It’s never easy to comprehend what we cannot see. I’ve seen the birth of children. I’ve experienced the death of loved ones. But I can only hope for resurrection. My eyes have never seen the dead come to life.

Our faith hinges on a hope that Jesus’ words will come true:

“Behold, I am making all things new.” Rev 21:5

And until we behold firsthand, we trust. We trust that resurrection makes sense of the dissonance of birth and death; some coherence of the wonder and the tragedy.

Theologians, philosophers, and mystics are fascinated by “the law of three,” a metaphysical fixation on the infinite power of three things over two. The law tells us that a third can give meaning and purpose to the previous two.

  • German philosophers offered thesisantithesis, and synthesis; a clarion call to think deeply and critically.
  • Father Richard Rohr gives us orderdisorder, and reorder; a framework for how we mature in our faith.
  • The triune God gives us perichoresis; the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the divine dance.

The law of three frees us from the tyranny of dualism and polarization.  It calls us to deeper work, moving through the primacy of birth and the ‘finality’ of death to a different plane. But it’s not easy. Birth can captivate, but is fleeting. Death can depress us, hoodwinking us into accepting the lie that things have come to their natural end. As Thomas Merton reminds us:

The risen life is not easy; it is also a dying life. The presence of the Resurrection in our lives means the presence of the Cross, for we do not rise with Christ unless we also first die with him. It is by the cross that we enter the dynamism of creative transformation, the dynamism of resurrection and renewal, the dynamism of love.– Thomas Merton (He is Risen)

Resurrection gives meaning and purpose to birth and death. It is the ultimate synthesis, the ultimate reordering.

So while we cannot see it, we can hope for it. We can hope for creative transformation. We can hope for the dynamism of renewal and love.

How? I don’t have a formula for you, but rather a wise hunch. The farmer-poet Wendell Berry ends his manifesto on agriculture, of all things, with two words: practice resurrection.

Practice resurrection. It’s his final hope on the plight of agriculture. It’s our only hope for the plight of anything, really.
Practice creative transformation.
Practice the dynamism of renewal.
Practice the dynamism of love.
Practice resurrection.

What does it look like? I think when we orient our lives in the smallest and most mundane ways around transformation, renewal, and love, we practice resurrection. When we see the tough things through to the other side, when we bring love to unlovely places, when we refuse to settle for the simplistic on the quick and easy side of the complex, we practice resurrection.

When we seek to live our lives as though we truly are beholding Jesus making all things new, we’re practicing resurrection.

Q: How can you practice resurrection this week? 

Enter to win 1 of 10 copies of Ready or Not!

goodreads-to-read-696x567Ready or Not 3D images

Great news! My publisher is giving away 10 (YES 10!) copies of Ready or Not: Leaning into Life in Our Twenties, on Goodreads. You can enter to win 1 of these copies by clicking HERE.

Note: If you’re not on Goodreads, you should be. It’s a great place for readers.

Another note: Even if you’ve preordered or received an advance copy, you should still enter. It’d make a great gift. . .

Spirituality Part 2: DEATH

I’ve heard it said before that all of life can be understood as BIRTH, DEATH, & RESURRECTION, for these are the three pillars of the spiritual life. In this season of Lent, I think they form a helpful frame in which to reflect and prepare. This is the second of three letters that focus on one pillar at a time as we prepare for holy week.

DEATH.
Nobody wants to talk about death. When we have to, we don’t really know how. It’s awkward and painful, full of tragedy and platitudes.

We cower from death’s power. We shudder at its finality.
And yet, it’s a universal experience. We all encounter death. We all must come to terms with it, whether it be losing a loved one or considering our own mortality.

We can be so fixated on Death with a capitol “D”, we often miss the smaller “deaths” that lead to growth.

Consider these words from Father Richard Rohr:

Death is not just the death of the physical body, but all the times we hit bottom and must let go of how we thought life should be and surrender to a Larger Power. And in that sense, we all probably go through many deaths in our lifetime. These deaths to the small self are tipping points, opportunities to choose transformation early. Unfortunately, most people turn bitter and look for someone to blame. So their death is indeed death for them, because they close down to growth and new life.

It’s true: We’re all going to die someday. But between now and our last breath, we will find plenty of opportunities to fall, hit bottom, let go, and surrender. These are the “many deaths” of which Rohr speaks. They can easily take us to a place of bitterness, which is truly a death of sorts. Or they can lead to growth; a new way of living. (But we’ll talk more about that next week).

We’re all dying. Where do our deaths take us?

Q: What death(s) are you currently experiencing that God may be calling you to let go and surrender?

Spirituality Part 1: BIRTH

F A T H O M || T R I B E
I’ve heard it said before that all of life can be understood as BIRTH, DEATH, & RESURRECTION, for these are the three pillars of the spiritual life. In this season of Lent, I think they form a helpful frame in which to reflect and prepare. My next three letters will focus on one pillar at a time as we prepare for holy week.

BIRTH.
New life is ripe. Ripe with potential. Ripe with opportunity. Ripe with goodness. Ripe with hope.
When something is born, it’s nearly always in what the Celtic Christians call a “thin place”, where the veil between heaven and earth is pulled, and we are able to see differently.

We all go through the “birthing” process to enter our world. Creative work leads to the birth of beautiful things…
…whether it’s a baby, a puppy, a chick, or the bud of a rose beginning to bloom.
…whether it’s an inanimate creative work, such as an album, a painting, or a sculpture.
…whether it’s an idea, concept, or solution.

The arrival of something new in the world changes us.

I recently watched the film Loving Vincent, a beautiful work of art in its own right. The film is the world’s first fully painted feature film about Vincent Van Gogh’s final days. It’s an arresting film, plunging the depths of the painter’s despair and love.

The man ‘birthed’ over 800 masterful paintings in his tragically short career, but he sold only one during his lifetime.

ONE

The irony of Vincent’s tragic life should be lost on no one. One of the greatest painters of all-time died a commercial failure. One sale, but hundreds of works of art that teach us about beauty, complexity, and love.

It seems absurd.

But when we reflect a bit more, it’s not so absurd. You see, there’s a deeper irony when it comes to birth.

Most often that which is born is more beautiful and pure than the world it enters.

There’s a profound collision of beauty and affliction everywhere, when we have eyes to see.
When we do, we learn to live in the tension of birth and death.

In this broken, fractured, and polarized world, we need birth. I think this is what Jesus was getting at when he was teaching Nicodemus about how to see the kingdom of God (John 3). We must be “born again.”

We can change. We can see things anew. We can live differently. We can “birth” again, and we can be about birthing new things: midwifing the arrival of “life” through art, ideas, service, worship, family.

We are all a people once born.
We are all a people facing death.

We can hold hope in the midst of pain and suffering.
We can live in this world but not be of it.

Q: What “births” have been most formative in your life?
Q: What “life” can you help arrive into this world?

Stop Trying to Balance it All and Start Finding a Rhythm


Finding the perfect level on a see-saw.
Stacking blocks to make a tower even TALLER.
Placing one foot, heel to toe, in front of the other on a narrow ledge.
Carving down a slope on a pair of skis.

All provide opportunities to practice, and sometimes enjoy, balance. But when you imagine spending your entire day doing it, it sounds exhausting. Live your life trying to balance on a plank (or two), on a tower of blocks, on a narrow ledge, or on only one leg, and you won’t have much fun. Your focus will wane. Your legs will shake. Your head with ache.

Balance can be fun, even good for us so long as it is tempoarary. But when it’s our default setting, we set ourselves up to fail.

The challenge is that we think we NEED balance, not to mention we have plenty of reminders of our imbalance. Balance is exalted, but rarely modeled well.

I think it’s because our view of balance is too often unhealthy and unhelpful. When we consider the balanced life, we’re prone to buy into the myth there must be a way to tend to everything, all the time, at a high level.

This isn’t to say all forms of balance are bad. We need the chemicals in our brains to be balanced. We need our diet to be balanced. We need the organs in our inner ears to balance and keep us upright. But our capacities can rarely match the opportunities and responsibilities before us. When we can’t balance it all, a healthier approach is to ditch the myth of the “balanced” life, and replace it with a RHYTHMIC life.

Rhythms are natural, innate with our our bodies and our environment. The seasons of the year provide unique and important rhythms for plant and animal life to flourish. The seasons of our lives provide unique and important rhythms for the self to flourish.

Rhythms allow for work and rest, socializing and solitude, helping a neighbor and caring for oneself.

We are often responsible for more than we can handle at any one time. We don’t have to balance it all at once. We’re better off developing healthy rhythms to attend to our responsibilities in their due time.

I’ve heard it said, “Don’t try to boil the ocean.” It’s a helpful image for chasing the “balanced” life. It too easily leads to stress, anxiety and fear.

The “balanced life” surveys the landscape of your life and asks: How can I tend to all of this right now?

The “rhythmic life” discerns the landscape of your life and asks: What is mine to do right now…and what is mine to do later? And even, what’s not mine to do at all?

Balance isn’t all that bad. But when try to balance too much, we’re on a path to burnout. When we live a rhythmic life, the notion of balance returns to its proper and authentic place.

The 3 Questions That Get to the Essence of Life

When it comes to your life, are you willing to ask the most important questions? 

Rabbi Akiba ben Joseph is known in the Jewish Talmud as “Chief of the Sages” for his incisive wisdom. One afternoon he left his cottage to go into the village for some supplies. After finishing his errands, he accidentally took the wrong path home. It was night, and as he wandered, he heard a voice:

“Who are you? Why are you here?”

Akiba jumped in fright, realizing he had stumbled upon a Roman soldier-guard. He responded to the sentry’s inquiry with his own question:

“How much do they pay you to stand guard and ask those two questions?”

The sentry replied, “Five drachmas a week, sir.”

Akiba paused and then said, “Young man, I will double your pay if you come with me, stand guard at my cottage, and ask me those two questions each morning.”

You’ve heard it said that there’s no such thing as a bad question. That may be true. But I also know another truth: Some questions are more valuable than others. Akiba saw the value of a good question; two in fact. When I think about the best questions of life, I agree with Akiba…and add another.

1. Who are you?
2. Why are you here?
3. Where are you going?

Identity. Purpose. Direction. These are the questions that get to the essence of life. All other questions are but tributaries that feed these three mighty rivers. They begin in our head, and make the windy and complex journey through our heart and into our soul.

Back track the most frustrating parts of your days, and you’ll eventually find your way to these questions. To lean into your twenties is to lean into these questions. But when you do, lean with love. Love for yourself. Love for God. Love for others. For the best questions are the most vulnerable places, and often we can be our own worst critics.

To keep from tripping over yourself, I encourage you to reach out to someone who you trust dearly; a friend who knows your hopes and fears and stewards them well. If you’re struggling to make sense of the truths and the lies that swirl among these questions, ask another:

1. Who do you believe I am?
2. What do you think I’m here for?
3. Where do you see my life going?

That is a conversation worth at least 10 drachmas.