Gifts of Imperfection

A Great Book for Young Adult Ministries

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Over the last 6 months I’ve been reading as much as I can to prepare for my new tour. I want this comedy show to act as an outreach for the church or ministry hosting. I want to talk about confession, and why we need to be open and honest about what we’re going through. AND on top of all that I want to be able to train leaders and volunteers on how to handle those tough conversations when someone is opening up for the first time.

One of the books that has been the most help is When Your Twenties are Darker than You Expected by Paul C. Maxwell. Each chapter walks through difficulties we can face like depression, regret, loneliness, anxiety, lust, doubt, and suicide. Maxwell does such a great job unpacking what these experiences look like specifically in your 20s.

It’s a great combination of thorough academic research and personal vulnerability.

In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown says “shame hates when we reach out to tell our story. It hates having words wrapped around it —it can’t survive being shared. Shame loves secrecy.”

That quote helped me realize one of Maxwell’s greatest strengths in writing. He is so good at wrapping the perfect words around the darkness. He articulates what the experience feels like and takes the shame out of it so you can begin to deal with it.

“Depression is an entire arsenal of concrete shoes, fixing you to the ground, letting you witness the world but not participate.”

“Regret is the closest emotional synonym we have for the word ‘scar.’”

I think everyone ministering to young adults should have this book in their office. It gives a ton of insight, wisdom, and points you to a lot of other great resources in the footnotes.

I don’t know how to transition here but I just want to share one of my other favorite quotes from the book.

In the chapter on dealing with lust Maxwell says, “There is no higher way to value a human being than to regard their relationship with God as your highest priority.” And I think that’s just a beautiful mindset to have when it comes to lust.

I’m giving away 10 free copies of this book to young adult pastors and ministry directors who fill out a quick survey. DO IT!