3 Ways to Finish a Labor of Love Requiring More Labor than Love.
I'm seriously (seriously) stoked to share that my first book, One Thousand Risks: Fighting Fear for an Awkward, Awesome Life with Jesus, is being released on Tuesday, December 5th!
If you've ever taken on a project, purely as a labor of love, which initially grew from exciting to eventually overwhelming to unsettlingly impossible, then you understand what this writing experience has been.
Three principles have helped me stay the course on the 30-month process of writing when it required significantly more labor than love.
1. Never stop dreaming.
Proverbs 29:18a says, "Where there is no vision, the people perish." Rarely does a project, campaign, effort, or any other labor of love start without vision. We take these things on for hope our lives, or even someone else's, will be better. I've routinely asked God to give me His perspective, and have dreamt of what might happen if even one person's life transformed as much as mine through the one thousand risk experience.
2. Invite friends to be honest with you.
Your friends are the most likely people to provide support for your labor of love dreams. Without friends, I never would have carried on with Come&Live!, and I wouldn't have had the foresight to re-direct One Thousand Risks from being a memoir primarily about me. Good friends may be the only potential steering you away from an idea that seems inspired, but just isn't. If you invite them to challenge whatever you're pursuing, your focus and message will be amazingly refined in the end. "Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy." - Proverbs 27:5&6
3. Honor the Holy Spirit.
When I first sat down to write, I dreamt of impacting millions. Dreaming of making a huge splash is not a sin, but I quickly found myself being influenced more by mass appeal than Holy Spirit sensitivity. One day I felt Him ask me a convicting question; "Would you spend all this time and energy just writing for Jesus, even if no one else cared?" Ouch.
I presumed writing a book would be a short, seamless, relatively straightforward process. Here we are, 30-months later. Like all the areas that I stumble through in life, I wouldn't trade the experience, or what I've learned along the way. There is joy in the messy, extravagant journey.
What inspires you to keep focused on a labor of love requiring more labor than love?
Continue reading to uncover what some of my friends are saying about the book, and for an excerpt taken from part of the book's introduction.
Kind words from friends:
Brian "Head" Welch, Co-Founder / KoRn
Chad Johnson is fearless because he sincerely sees humanity as family. In his new book, One Thousand Risks, Chad shares intense faith-encounters he's had with people simply by getting out of his comfort zone and approaching strangers as the Spirit leads him. This is a real and honest look at a normal guy who's learned to hear God's voice through trial and error. Chad has thrown fear and insecurity aside, allowing Jesus to use him in radical new ways. After reading One Thousand Risks... will you?
Ryan J. Downey, Longtime Journalist & Artist Manager / Billboard, MTV, The Hollywood Reporter & Artist Manager / Demon Hunter
Even for the more skeptical (and let’s face it, cynical) among us, it’s impossible not to feel inspired around Chad Johnson. His faith is something palpable in the air surrounding him, an almost tangible electricity that supercharges everyone he meets, from the biggest rock stars to the families living in dire poverty around the world. Chad isn’t wearing a costume of piousness. He’s as real and relatable as they come, which makes his persistent joy and insistence on the gospel all the more powerful in real life terms. One Thousand Risks is a book about forsaking the world in pursuit of saving the world, one person at a time, with the absolute trust of a child in the guidance and faithfulness of our Creator.
Melody Joy Murray, Founder & CEO / JOYN
"Engaging, vibrant words point to Jesus' ability in granting us the real, true, messy, extravagant life. In a world dominated by comfort and caution, One Thousand Risks takes us powerfully into a different life perspective, one of abandonment and boldness. This book addresses what we all desperately need and never stop wanting: a life more abundant! These stories reveal a shared longing, a desire for more, inviting us toward deeper, wider faith. Chad’s transparency, authenticity, and practical examples encourage me to exercise and use my faith––to continue taking risks and to live bold."
Excerpt from One Thousand Risks, A Letter to My Reader Who Does Not Follow Jesus:
Living for Jesus is stupid radical and yet fully worth your consideration. Why not leave behind what you were never meant for in exchange of a spiritual enterprise that is not safe, often messy, but extravagant on levels incalculable? You’re not here by accident. What are the odds of all the billions of people in the world—and you and I living in spaces far removed from each other—that we would find ourselves right here?
Like any of us, what do you really stand to lose? If I’m a liar—simply another semi-gifted snake-oil salesman—you have nothing to fear. Why not invite Jesus to help you, to live inside you, and to take charge of your destiny? If He isn’t real, you’ll forget the prayer, and at some point laugh at the idea, ‘random Christian writer guy’ actually convinced you to pray.
If Jesus is real, you have all His presence to gain, not to mention the best of best friends. Jesus is my friend. We’re in relationship, abiding together. I want to be more like Him because He’s perfect and loves, unlike anyone I’ve met. He treats everyone as they were meant to be treated. He loves unconditionally.
Jesus isn’t threatening Hell, so you’ll embrace Him, he’s embracing you so you’ll threaten Hell.