03 May A Phone Call with Wm. Paul Young
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of having a phone call with bestselling author, Wm. Paul Young. It was interesting how it came about. I simply messaged him on LinkedIn. Thinking nothing of it or that I likely wouldn’t hear back, I just thought, “What do I have to lose?” A month and a half went by since messaging him, and low and behold, I woke up to a LinkedIn message from Paul. We arranged a time to chat on the phone. I couldn’t believe he was giving me the time of day…just some young kid, who lives in another state, who he knew nothing about.
Shortly after arranging a time, we had the phone call. There was much excitement and anticipation on my end because I knew I was going to be speaking with one of the most well-known and highest grossing authors in history. His books include, Cross Roads, Eve, Lies We Believe About God, and The Shack. As some of you may be familiar with, his bestseller is The Shack, which later was produced into a movie.Reading this story is what prompted me to reach out in the first place.
It is my favorite book I have read thus far. Paul ties a gripping fictional story with truths about God to create one of the best stories ever written, in my opinion. I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a spiritual, fictional journey that is difficult to put down. Not only is it engaging and inspiring, but it challenges your thinking and perception of who God is.
So, after I finished reading, I thought there was no way I could just put this book back in my bookshelf and do nothing. I had to get in touch with the creator of this story. I had to pick his mind and see where he came up with such a revolutionary idea.
We spoke on the phone for an hour, and it was a great experience! Paul is an inviting and caring man, who was more than willing to chat with me…a total stranger. Here is what I learned from my conversation with Paul:
- Loss and suffering were turning points. The Shack is about a grieving man who lost his daughter and encounters a spiritual experience with God. Paul mentioned to me that the struggle the man faced by losing his daughter represents the losses Paul has faced over time. When people suffer, and are broken, they try to overcompensate by doing things to heal or diminish the suffering. But these survival tactics are often forced. They can unintentionally hinder you from what you really may need to heal, whether that is a relationship or something in the future.
- Significance doesn’t come from the things you do. Paul told me that if hypothetically the book, fame, and money all disappeared tomorrow, he would be totally okay with that. That took me a bit by surprise. But he said he always had expected to work three jobs and live “normally.” This book was never planned to be a giant success. In fact, he only printed a handful of copies, and didn’t even want to publish it upon finishing writing it. So, he mentioned that your significance does not come from what you do or what you accomplish. It comes from who you are and your faith in God.
- Trust God’s plan for your life.It is easy to try to navigate life on your own and make of it what you see or what you want. It is difficult to take the focus off yourself, and on to something far greater than you…that being God. But nothing good in life comes easy. He mentioned how taking risks and learning how to trust God has been a break through. When you realize that you can’t always please everybody around you, yourself, or God, it takes the intention of trying to earn your way and replaces it with learning how to trust. Learning how to trust God has been an ongoing, transformational journey.
Let me know your thoughts…Have a great week everyone!