Wholehearted Revolution

Despite where this book will be shelved in your local bookstore, I’m not at all sure that this work is about self-help. I think of it as an invitation to join a Wholehearted revolution. A small, quiet, grassroots movement that starts with each of us saying, “My story matters because I matter.” A movement where we can take to the streets with our messy, imperfect, wild, stretch-marked, wonderful, heartbreaking, grace-filled, and joyful lives. A movement fueled by the freedom that comes when we stop pretending that everything is okay when it isn’t. A call that rises up from our bellies when we find the courage to celebrate those intensely joyful moments even though we’ve convinced ourselves that savoring happiness is inviting disaster.

Revolution might sound a little dramatic, but in this world, choosing authenticity and worthiness is an absolute act of resistance. Choosing to live and love with our whole hearts is an act of defiance. You’re going to confuse, piss off, and terrify lots of people — including yourself. One minute you’ll pray that the transformation stops, and the next minute you’ll pray that it never ends. You’ll also wonder how you can feel so brave and so afraid at the same time. At least that’s how I feel most of the time . . . brave, afraid, and very, very alive.

— Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection, p. 126


Jesus is supracultural.
He is present within all cultures,
and yet outside of all cultures.

He is for all people,
and yet he refuses to be co-opted or owned by any one culture.

That includes any Christian culture. Any denomination. Any church. Any theological system. We can point to him, name him, follow him, discuss him, honor him, and believe in him — but we cannot claim him to be ours any more than he’s anyone else’s.

— Rob Bell, Love Wins, p. 151-152

Our Decision

Making the decision to thoroughly enjoy this or any other day is pretty simple. It relies on our willingness to not let the actions of others take over our minds. We are in charge of what we think, what we say, what we do. Grabbing hold of this principle will change everything.

— Karen Casey, Let Go Now, p. 26

Learning to Recover

We are not helping our children by always preventing them from what might be necessary falling, because you learn how to recover from falling by falling! It is precisely by falling off the bike many times that you eventually learn what the balance feels like. The skater pushing both right and left eventually goes where he or she wants to go. People who have never allowed themselves to fall are actually off balance, while not realizing it at all. That is why they are so hard to live with. Please think about that for a while.

— Richard Rohr, Falling Upward, p. 28

Dance in Our DNA

There’s no question that some people are more musically inclined or coordinated than others, but I’m starting to believe that dance is in our DNA. Not super-hip and cool dancing, or line dancing, or Dancing with the Stars dancing — but a strong pull toward rhythm and movement. You can see this desire to move in children. Until we teach our children that they need to be concerned with how they look and with what other people think, they dance. They even dance naked. Not always gracefully or with the beat, but always with joy and pleasure.

— Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection, p. 120


Something always comes to fill the empty places. And when I give thanks for the seemingly microscopic, I make a place for God to grow within me. This, this, makes me full, and I “magnify him with thanksgiving” (Psalm 69:30 KJV), and God enters the world. What will a life magnify? The world’s stress cracks, the grubbiness of the day, all that is wholly wrong and terribly busted? Or God? Never is God’s omnipotence and omniscience diminutive. God is not in need of magnifying by us so small, but the reverse. It’s our lives that are little and we have falsely inflated self, and in thanks we decrease and the world returns right. I say thanks and I swell with Him, and I swell the world and He stirs me, joy all afoot.

This, I think, this is the other side of prayer.

This act of naming grace moments, this list of God’s gifts, moves beyond the shopping list variety of prayer and into the other side. The other side of prayer, the interior of His throne room, the inner walls of His powerful, love-beating heart. The list is God’s list, the pulse of His love — the love that thrums on the other side of our prayers. And I see it now for what this really is, this dare to write down one thousand things I love. It really is a dare to name all the ways God loves me. The true Love Dare. To move into His presence and listen to His love unending and know the grace uncontainable. This is the vault of the miracles. The only thing that can change us, the world, is this — all His love. I must never be deceived by the simplicity of eucharisteo and penning His love list. Cheese. Sun. Journal. Naming. Love. Here. It all feels startlingly hallowed, and I breathe shallow. I should take the shoes off.

— Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts, p. 59-60


A gospel that leaves out its cosmic scope will always feel small.

A gospel that has as its chief message avoiding hell or not sinning will never be the full story.

A gospel that repeatedly, narrowly affirms and bolsters the “in-ness” of one group at the expense of the “out-ness” of another group will not be true to the story that includes “all things and people in heaven and on earth.”

— Rob Bell, Love Wins, p. 135

The Conversation of Literature

This, of course, is what readers, as well as writers, do — participate, be part of the back-and-forth, help bring the text to life. Kurt Vonnegut once described literature as the only art in which the audience plays the score, and if that’s a bit of a throwaway, it’s also astute. Reading is an act of contemplation, perhaps the only act in which we allow ourselves to merge with the consciousness of another human being. We possess the books we read, animating the waiting stillness of their language, but they possess us also, filling us with thoughts and observations, asking us to make them part of ourselves. This, too, is what Conroy was getting at, the way books enlarge us by giving direct access to experiences not our own.

— David L. Ulin, The Lost Art of Reading, p. 16