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Here goes nothing : an introvert's reckless attempt to love her neighbor / Kendra Broekhuis.

Broekhuis, Kendra, (author.).

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Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Greenwood PL - Greenwood 241.671 BRO (Text) 36626103861662 New Adult Nonfiction Checked out 11/06/2017

Record details

  • ISBN: 9780718083267 (trade paper)
  • ISBN: 9780718083328
  • Physical Description: xvii, 269 pages ; 22 cm
  • Publisher: Nashville, Tennessee : W Publishing Group, an imprint of Thomas Nelson, [2017]

Content descriptions

Bibliography, etc. Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Summary, etc.: How does an introvert love her neighbor? That's the question that Kendra Broekhuis--newly returned from living overseas with her husband and baby daughter--set out to answer. With humbling honesty about her weaknesses and foibles, Here Goes Nothing chronicles Kendra's thirty-day journey of stepping out in faith to pray for, meet, and love the people closest to her: the ones living in her apartment building. From leaving quarters for a load of laundry in the basement to baking cupcakes for the downstairs neighbors (and sneaking down the stairs to see if they've taken them) to the hard work of building new friendships, Kendra leans on God's voice in her daily life to push her out of her comfort zone. Along with plenty of self-deprecating humor about her sometimes bumbling outreach attempts, she shares her growing sense of how close God stands beside her each day. As she works from her surface personality quirks through to her hidden doubts and fears, what emerges is a heartfelt glimpse into what it's like for one awkward introvert to live by faith. Here Goes Nothing isn't a challenge. It's not a step-by-step plan to make yourself a good neighbor or an upstanding Christian. But it is the warm voice of someone who struggles just like you do--to hear the voice of God, to discern his will, and to love others with all of her introvert heart.
Subject: Love > Religious aspects > Christianity.
Service (Theology)
Interpersonal relations > Religious aspects > Christianity.
Introversion > Religious aspects > Christianity.
Introverts > Religious life.
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Here Goes Nothing

An Introvert's Reckless Attempt To Love Her Neighbor


By Kendra Broekhuis

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2017 Kendra Broekhuis
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7180-8326-7


Contents

Before We Get Started, xiii,
1. Five Quarters and a Tide Detergent Pod: Give What I Have, 1,
2. Mulligan Day: Give Obediently, 9,
3. Introverts Unite!: Give Through Relationship, 17,
4. Instead I'll Say, "I'll Be Thinking About You": Give Prayer, 23,
5. Déjà Vu and the Car That Wouldn't Start: Give It a Go, 33,
6. Don't Focus on the Family?: Give and Take, 41,
7. No Bleachers, No Bench: Give Together, 49,
8. All I Wanted Was Some "Me Time": Give Me a Minute, 57,
9. The Name Is Bond: Give Credit Where Credit Is Due, 65,
10. Mom Brain to the World: Give a Hoot, 73,
11. Why Apple Crisp and the Fragrance of Christ Smell So Good: Give Because He Gave, 81,
12. I'm Still Afraid of the Dark, Among Other Things: Give Me Jesus, 89,
13. Starved World: Give Anyway, 97,
14. My Affair with List Making: Give It a Rest, 105,
15. One Quarter Short of a Laundry Load: Give Us Our Daily Bread, 113,
16. Your Breath Smells Like Gospel: Give a Call, 121,
17. Don't Be Surprised When He Answers: Give Him a Chance, 129,
18. "Love Ya": Give It a Moment, 137,
19. Past the Scattered Feminine Hygiene Products: Give Attention, 145,
20. Golf and Power Outages: Give It Up, Ya Loser, 153,
21. Would the Neighborhood Miss Us?: Give Someone a Hand, 161,
22. Chicken Soup for My Soul: Give Freely, 171,
23. Give the Gift of Stress This Christmas: Give Gifts, 181,
24. Let There Be Peace at the Magic Tree House: Give Peace a Chance, 189,
25. Control Enthusiast: Give Way, 197,
26. The Sidewalk of Motherhood: Give Life, 205,
27. But Do They Deserve My Gift?: Give a Mouse a Cookie, 215,
28. Open-Soul Surgery: Give Me Twenty, 225,
29. Where's the Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll?: Give the Gospel, 233,
30. Too Early for a Pregnancy Test: Give Patiently, 241,
And Since Then?, 251,
Acknowledgments, 257,
Notes, 261,
About the Author, 269,


CHAPTER 1

Five Quarters and a Tide Detergent Pod

Give What I Have

It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.

— Mother Teresa


Pay for someone's laundry.

It was a fleeting thought, something I could easily push past, ignore, and forget about as I got on with the rest of my morning. But I had been praying again recently. I say "again" because it had been far too long since prayer was a regular part of my day. It was one of those things I easily buried beneath the unscrubbed dishes, stinky diapers, and dirty laundry. I was like, "Prayer? Ain't nobody got time for that!"

I had my moments of being a prayer warrior princess. Like that time when I was giving birth to Baby and cried, "Just get it out!" And like that other time when we were going to move back to the United States from Guatemala and we begged God to give Husband a job so we wouldn't have to live with my parents forever. I think that prayer was, Just get us out!

But prayer was becoming more than a desperate cry for help. Recently I had been praying for some inspiration from the Lord, for ways I could be more alert to His voice, for inventiveness in how I could share His love with our neighbors.

I believe when people pray, the Lord answers. Sometimes, like the prophet Elijah, I expect God to answer in the great and powerful winds, the earthquakes, and the fires. But sometimes God chooses to speak in gentle whispers (1 Kings 19:11-13).

Gentle whispers, like God saying:

You are wonderfully made (Ps. 139:14).

I will take care of you (Ps. 55:22).

Trust Me (Prov. 3:5).

Remain in Me (John 15:4).

Follow Me (Matt. 4:19).

I love you (John 3:16).

Share My love with others (Mark 12:31).

Give to others as I gave to you (Matt. 10:8).

His tender voice can be heard in Scripture, in prayer, in the wise words of a friend, and in those beautifully ordinary moments of the day that surprise me like an affectionate kiss on the cheek. God doesn't always shout or post billboards or share Facebook memes like I wish He would, but He speaks.

Pay for someone's laundry.

My Monday morning had been extremely ordinary until that point. So far I had vacuumed Sunday's crumbs, washed Sunday's dishes, and planned what I was going to cook for Monday night's dinner. Next was laundry. I had just returned from a nine-day trip to Guatemala and come home to the realization that almost everything made of fabric in our apartment was due for a good washing. I gathered the blue mesh bag bursting at the seams with our dirty laundry with one hand, straddled Baby on my hip with the other, and dragged everything down two flights of stairs to the laundry room. It was while I was dragging and heaving and sweating that this idea brushed my mind.

Pay for someone's laundry.

Now, random thoughts cross my mind all the time. I think it is part of being an introvert. If I'm not going to talk to other people, I might as well talk to myself. (Am I right, Self?) Most of the time I just brush it off and go about my day like I'm not crazy, but this thought was different. I decided to stop ignoring and start listening.

Pay for someone's laundry.

Nothing fancy, nothing life changing, nothing — ironically — worth writing a book about. Nothing terrifyingly reckless for my introverted self to do, like speaking words out loud to a stranger. Nothing deeply sacrificial, except donating quarters, of course. It was only twenty-five cents, but now that we lived in an apartment building with coin laundry, trying to find quarters was like trying to mine for diamonds in the parking lot.

While my mountain of laundry was in the dryer, I scribbled on an obnoxiously yellow sticky note, Dear Neighbor, Please enjoy a free load of laundry. I prayed for you this morning, and I hope you feel Christ's love throughout your day. Simple. Encouraging. Not too creepy, I hoped.

Next, I needed quarters. After scrounging through the coin jar, my wallet, the car, and the couch, I found only five.

Well, that's extremely lame, I thought. Five measly quarters? Enough to fill only one of the two laundry machines and neither of the dryers? Why am I even bothering?

Give what you have.

The second whisper, and my first lesson. Then my adult temper tantrum. But, Lord, I wanted to be able to give more; I wanted to give enough for two laundry machines and one dryer. I wanted to give fourteen quarters, not five! And I wanted to be able to do it all by myself!

Give what you have.

Sometimes I think things like, If I can't do it all by myself, then I'm not going to do it at all. I let either my pride or my insecurities get in the way of giving. But the reality is, I don't have enough of anything to do it "all by myself." I'm only expected to do my part, to give what I have, no shame or pride, no matter how humble or glamorous it is. God has equipped me with exactly what I need to accomplish His will. He can still do great things with whatever I am able to offer up in worship.

I think about that boy and his five loaves of bread and two fish (Matt. 14:13-21). What if he hadn't brought them forward when Jesus had a hungry megachurch congregation to feed? What if he had decided to be a little punk and say, "Well, that's extremely lame! Five measly loaves and two scrawny fish? I wanted to be able to give more, to feed all five thousand! All by myself!" First, that's just absurd. Second, the boy would have missed out on an opportunity to share in Christ's miraculous demonstration of His power. It may have been a humble offering, but did that make the outcome any less effective, any less miraculous?

Jesus again emphasized the concept of "give what you have" to His disciples as they watched people present their offerings at the temple:

Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything — all she had to live on." (Mark 12:41-44)


I can't always give a lot, but that is no excuse to keep from giving. I can always give what I have, right now, in this moment, and trust God to provide the rest. My time, my money, my talents, and when I'm really feeling it, my mojo. Some days it might be enough to buy two loads of laundry and feed five thousand; other days it might be less.

I stuck the five quarters in the washing-machine slot and weighted the sticky note with a Tide detergent pod. Throughout the rest of the morning I kept the promise I wrote on the sticky note. I prayed this gift would bless whoever needed it most in our building, and for the discovery to be timed in a special way that would point him or her to Jesus. Maybe I was expecting too much out of five quarters and a Tide detergent pod, but I figured if they weren't meant for performing some sort of miracle, at least someone else in our apartment building might appreciate not having to mine for quarters in order to wash his or her laundry.

I gave what I had that day, but I probably learned even more. The funny thing is that the quarters likely were not mine. Chances are they came from a butter tub of quarters my dad gave us when he learned we had to do coin laundry in our new apartment building. And the Tide detergent pod definitely wasn't mine — or at least not originally. My mom gave me a huge box of them when we moved. (My parents, I love them. Also, they think we're poor.)

But isn't that the perfect reflection of what giving is? Is anything I give actually mine? No, what I give is never my own; what I share is never from what I have created or collected or earned or harbored for myself. What I give is always an overflow of the gifts and the love I have been given in Christ.

I didn't know what the impact of five quarters, a Tide detergent pod, and a sticky note would be. While He is able, I didn't expect God to multiply it into five thousand loads of laundry. But even when I have nothing left to give, I always have a prayer to pray. I can pray it will make a difference in someone's day, pray it will point him or her to Christ, pray it will encourage.

I can pray the Lord will speak into my heart again tomorrow, pray I will be paying close enough attention to hear Him.


To Take This Deeper

Give What I Have

Reflect: Have there ever been times when you chose not to give because you didn't feel like what you had was a lot or like it would be enough? Trust that God has equipped you with the perfect amount of gifts, talents, and money. Trust that He can multiply your gift and use it just as it is to accomplish His work.

Take Action: Pray for God to reveal to you an act of kindness you can do for one of your neighbors. No matter how random it might seem, listen to God's instruction and follow through with that act of kindness. Pray that the neighbor you give to will be blessed by your gesture, which says, "I care about you."

Read: Read 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. Be encouraged as Paul talks about Christ's power being made perfect through his weaknesses. We aren't enough all by ourselves, but Christ is. Always.

CHAPTER 2

Mulligan Day

Give Obediently

To trust Him means, of course, trying to do all that He says. ... Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.

— C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity1


I'm not sure why people call four o'clock happy hour. Because there is nobody in the world happier than a two-o'clock mommy who just put her child down for a nap. Beverage of choice? One to two hours of peace and quiet.

It was one of those mornings I could have used a tall glass of Mommy Happy Hour. Baby was cutting molars, and I swear she had turned into a monster. I couldn't even get through scrubbing a medium stack of dishes without her desperately crawling up my leg, sobbing some of the most enormous tears I have ever seen.

It's on days like these I usually declare a Mulligan Day. Mulligan Days are special occasions that happen when the morning starts out like the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. On Mulligan Days I give up — usually by about 9:27 a.m. I make the conscious decision to take the rest of the day off from any motherly and wifely expectations besides things required for basic survival, like changing a diaper or making macaroni or snuggling a crabby baby. I stay in my sweatpants, turn on PBS, and inhale most of the chocolate we have in the house. Basically, I live out an episode of Moms Gone Wild for the rest of the day.

Make some cupcakes for your neighbor.

I heard, but I didn't want to listen. Seriously, Lord? Cupcakes? Now? I cried out for mercy instead. But, Lord, it's Mulligan Day. Can't we agree on something that won't take more than five minutes and a few quarters? You know what Baby is like when she's teething. She is awful. And You want me to play Betty Crocker and make cupcakes? I deserve a break! I'll just try again tomorrow.

Barf. "Deserve." Deserve is such an ugly word. It makes me think somebody owes me something, or even worse, that the Lord owes me something. It makes me think I can keep score, that I can make excuses. That if I endure one hardship in my day, such as Baby teething, I can expect to be gifted with no more hardships the rest of my Mulligan Day. Deserve is unbiblical. It makes my heart bitter. It is the exact opposite of Christ's humility.


In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be
used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness. (Phil. 2:5-7)


If I want to use the word deserve, I need to first remember that Jesus never sought after what He deserved. He is God but chose humanity. He is King but chose servanthood. He is Almighty but chose obedience. I "deserve" nothing.

With my attitude in check, I took a deep breath and prayed, Lord, which neighbor? And what message do You want me to send with this random batch of cupcakes? The neighbors who lived right below us popped into my head. I thought maybe these cupcakes could be a peace offering for all the racket Baby makes through their ceiling every day. Unfortunately, giving someone cupcakes anonymously makes it hard to use them as a two-for-one "We're So Sorry" and "Jesus Loves You" gift.

But here's one funny and noncoincidental thing that made me want to break out in the "Hallelujah Chorus": I had a box of cake mix in our house. We had planned to use it for Baby's first birthday and never did. I said thank you to the Lord for not making me take a special trip to the store with Baby Lucifer. Then I baked: I mixed the powder, eggs, oil, and water; I scooped spoonfuls of batter into muffin cups. And I did it with Baby on my hip, of course, because when she cuts teeth, there is no setting her down. It got all #SuperMom up in here real fast.

I still wondered what kind of message to send until I remembered that the reason for cupcakes is almost always to celebrate. I wrote, Hey, Neighbors, You are worth celebrating! You are a beloved child of God, and He loves you so much! I hope you enjoy these cupcakes and feel Christ's love throughout your day. P.S. I prayed for you all morning! I had no idea if my neighbors needed to hear this, whether or not they needed a pick-me-up, or if they knew Jesus. But this was an act of trust, choosing faithful obedience and knowing God would take care of the rest. No matter how random the task, or how unmotivated I was, or how monstrous Baby was.

At least, that's what I kept telling myself as I waited and waited like an anxious puppy for our neighbors to come home and find the cupcakes outside their door. While I enjoyed the whole anonymous-giving thing, I did not enjoy waiting for the gift to be received. I can't even say the number of times I went up and down the stairs to check on them the rest of the day, because it's a number called Embarrassing. Even after I ran errands later that evening, the cupcakes were still there. The worst part was that their lights were on and someone was home. (No, I promise I'm not the kind of neighbor who should be prosecuted.)

But that was when I went a little haywire in holy conversation with the Lord. Is this whole pray-and-listen thing a bust? Are You not using these acts of giving like I hoped? Are You just telling me to be patient? Don't You remember I'm not a very patient person? What if they leave the cupcakes sitting outside the door forever until they mold and get nasty? What if the whole building starts talking about the anonymous, molding, Jesus cupcakes sitting in the hallway? What if they aren't taking them because this is South Chicago, not small-town wherever, so people don't eat anonymous food from anonymous strangers because that's a really stupid thing to do?

Later that evening, Husband asked if I was the one who put the cupcakes outside our neighbors' door. I explained what I was up to, that both the quarters I'd left in the laundry room yesterday and the cupcakes had gone unnoticed so far, and that I felt dumb about the whole thing.

With the careful politeness and political correctness that a husband uses when his wife is in a fragile state, he looked at me and asked, "Are you sure you can handle giving things to people anonymously? I mean, it's only Day 2, and you keep checking on the quarters and cupcakes. And it's driving you crazy."

Yup. Thank you, Polite and Politically Correct Husband. I knew it was true, but as an introvert, this had me conflicted. I liked the idea of easing into this whole giving thing within my comfort zone of privacy. However, that also meant letting go of knowing what happened on the receiving end. Which of those did I want more, and which was I willing to give up? And if my desire was to learn to love my neighbor, were those really the right questions to ask?

My actions were intended to demonstrate faith. Faith acts in obedience and trusts God to take care of the rest. Faith prays before it crumbles into doubt. Faith doesn't worry about success or failure. Faith sets down the dang cupcakes and doesn't look back.

There's a whole chapter in the Bible about faith, about heroes of the faith. Imperfect yet faithful people who chose to obediently give of themselves. People who gave even though "they did not receive the things promised" (Heb. 11:13). Like Abel, who gave the best of his resources as an offering to God. Like Enoch, who gave of his passion to walk with God. Like Noah, who gave up his reputation to build an ark with God. Like Abraham, who gave up his own map to follow God.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Here Goes Nothing by Kendra Broekhuis. Copyright © 2017 Kendra Broekhuis. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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