Several months ago, I had the opportunity to tell you about an amazing book, Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into your Comfortable Life by writer Jeff Goins. The book has found its way into the hands of thousands and it’s changing lives daily.
Jeff Goins has graciously granted me the opportunity to interview him and share with you. I’m so excited! Here we go:
Me: First of all, what made you decide to put an upside down turtle on the book cover and how does that relate to being wrecked?
Jeff: That was the publisher’s idea, but I loved the image. So did my agent and several close friends.
I liked the image (by the way, it’s a tortoise — the reptile-admiring community has given me more than adequate feedback on that), because it evoked the idea of the book. To be wrecked is not to be irrevocably destroyed or ruined; really, what it means is to have your world turned upside down. And ultimately, it can be a really good thing.
So I thought, “This tortoise sure looks helpless. I mean, he can’t move or get to where he’s going, and that must be terrible. But at the same time, he’s seeing something he’s never seen before: trees, birds, the sky and stars and who knows what else. He’ll never forget this moment.”
That’s what happens when you get wrecked.
Me: We’re in a world where being comfortable is what it’s all about. “Buy this and your world will be better.” “Do this for yourself because it’s all about you.” What is your response to this?
Jeff: We’ve all heard this and probably done it at some point. My question is this: Has it?
Has it gotten better? Has the pain or emptiness gone away? Has a single purchase ever been able to make your suffering or longing for more dissipate? I’m not talking about distraction; I’m talking about satisfaction.
If you’re anything like me, then your answer is probably no. So why do we keep turning to these pursuits that leave us ultimately feeling empty? Maybe because we don’t know any better.
I wrote Wrecked to show another option: If you’ve been spending all this time trying to make your life and more comfortable, and that’s not working — why not try the opposite?
Me: Is it possible to help a hurting person and walk away without feeling pain too?
Jeff: Maybe. But I’ve never experienced it.
If we read the word “compassion” literally, it means (in Latin) to suffer with. I certainly thinks it’s possible to do a good deed and not feel anything, but I’m not interested in that. Getting wrecked is about living a more compassionate, meaningful life.
All I know is it’s impossible to have compassion and not share someone else’s suffering. That’s what the word means. And I believe there is something beautiful about this, something worth a little sacrifice.
Me: What’s one step someone can take today to step away from the comfortable life and get wrecked?
Jeff: Walk around your neighborhood. Meet the people that you live around, go to school with, work with. Getting wrecked is about opening your eyes, and that begins at home.
You don’t have to go to the other side of the world to find hurting people (although once you start stepping out into this new life, you might end up there). There is pain right around the corner from where you are right now. We’re just used to not looking at it.
Mother Teresa used to tell people not to come visit her in India. “Calcutta is everywhere,” she would say. “You just need eyes to see.” Go find your Calcutta. It’s closer than you think.
Me: Christians like to focus more on being happy, smiling all the time, and enjoying a wonderful life, but the Bible clearly says we are called to suffer. What would you add to that?
Jeff: Be present to your reality. You don’t see Jeremiah throwing many parties. Jesus doesn’t have a grin when he’s on the cross. Likewise, the Bible is full of stories of wine-drinking and laughing, as well. The fullness of life includes high highs and low lows. What’s critical is learning to trust God through all of it.
Thanks so much for sharing Jeff. I love this quote from the book:
To be wrecked is to be disabused of the status quo.