Thoughts on Getting Dumped, a Guest Post from Bob Goff

Donald Miller

It’s a week of guest posts on the blog. But fear not, next week is already loaded with great, slightly controversial and certainly fun content. Today, another guest post from my long-time friend Bob Goff. I asked Bob months ago if, before his book Love Does comes out, I could feature some of the content. So, you’re reading it here first. You’ll love the book. When he sent me the final chapter last year, it cost me a day. I say it cost me a day because I couldn’t work anymore. I was that devastated. Love Does is a collection of simple (read “hits you from the side”) essays about faith, love, forgiveness, frustrations and ultimately God. Bob paints a hopeful picture of a life of faith, but it’s the kind of faith that takes action (great characters do things.) Anyway, another excerpt from Love Does:


I was in college and thought I wanted to be a forest ranger and later, a surfer. Then I got my first “dear Bob” letter from someone I really cared for who didn’t want to date a forest ranger or a surfer any more.

I’ve learned that God sometimes allows us to find ourselves in a place where we want something so bad that we can’t see past it. Sometimes we can’t even see God because of it. When we want something that bad, it’s easy to mistake what we truly need for the thing we really want. When this sort of thing happens, and it seems to happen to everyone, I’ve found it’s because what God has for us is obscured from view, just around another bend in the road.

In the Bible, the people following God had the same problem I did. They swapped the real thing for an image of the real thing. We target the wrong thing and our misdirected life’s goal ends up looking like a girl or a wide-brimmed hat or a golden calf. All along, what God really wants for us is something much different, something more tailored to us.

It’s in my nature, maybe all of our natures, to try to engineer things. So I skew the answers to get what I thought I wanted. But when I do that, I also get what I don’t want, too, like a cot and a room full of guys. The first time I wanted someone to care for me as much as I cared for her, she picked someone else and I tried to talk her out of it. If I had been successful, I wouldn’t have experienced love in the unique way that I have. I wouldn’t have found who and what God tailor-made for me.

I’m kind of glad I didn’t end up being a forest ranger or a surfer. I’m even glad things turned out the way they did after I drove away from UCLA. While painful at the time, I can see now, many years later when I look in the rearview mirror of my life, evidence of God’s tremendous love and unfolding adventure for me. I’ve received many letters since then in my life that started out “Dear Bob.” Some were letters so thick they had to be folded several times to fit in the envelope. They left me feeling as folded when I read their words with shattering disappointment. Still, whatever follows our “Dear Bobs” is often another reminder that God’s grace comes in all shapes, sizes, and circumstances as God continues to unfold something magnificent in me.

And when each of us looks back at all the turns and folds God has allowed in our lives, I don’t think it looks like a series of folded-over mistakes and do-overs that have shaped our lives. Instead, I think we’ll conclude in the end that maybe we’re all a little like human origami and the more creases we have, the better.


* You can pre order Love Does today. It’ll be out officially on May 1 but rumor has it they’ve already shipped tons of them, so you may get it much sooner.

Donald Miller

Donald Miller

Donald Miller teaches the StoryBrand workshop. Register today and you’ll get an entire marketing education in 2 days. Follow Don on Twitter (@donaldmiller) and Instagram. To read more of his posts on the Storyline Blog, click here.

  • Kari

    I can’t wait to read this book. Thanks for featuring it here–I might not have ever found it otherwise.

  • Jen

    This was lovely… and I tend to like books and people that hit us sideways because we never see it coming… surprise at it’s best! Definitely going on my reading list.

  • Lee Ann

    This made me cry. It is full of hope. Thank you, Bob!

  • Judy

    Reminds me of the verse in Psalm 106:15 about getting what you want, but with it comes “leanness of soul.” Heard it preached in college when I wanted someone so badly, like Bob did, and it scared me silly. Did I want something/someone more than I wanted God. Yep. Grateful God knows the whole story and saved me from myself and spared me from the leanness, too. He’s good indeed.

  • Clara Jane

    Thank you. And might I add, my grandmother, Ada Landon (Goff) Tenny, I think would have also approved. She married my grandfather for all of 6 months – long enough to give my dad his father’s name. Then she raised my dad with help from her sisters. She died in 1981, when I was just a baby. And yes, I frequently imagine what it would’ve been like to go on long walks with her and engage in deep, philosophical conversation. But I know her a little through my dad and through the letters her sisters and my dad saved. Anyway, to avoid veering too far off topic, she wanted to stay with my grandfather, but if my father had been raised any other way, he wouldn’t be the man I know and love today. And to clarify, I do like to think you and I are related. After all, Clara Jane (Hocker) Goff, my great-grandmother, had 14 children. Apparently that branch of the family was very fertile.

  • Greg

    I have always told my kids that the benefit of age is hindsight. Your post rings so true in my life. Every time I reflect on my own”Dear Greg” moments I can see the hand of God. I am who I am in many ways because of these moments.

  • Paul

    It’s crazy how we/I walk in the mire of selfishness, what’s crazier is knowing the truth and avoiding it for the desire or wants of my own. I’m reading the rest of the book when I can get my hands on it. This subject has been holding me back for far too long! Thank Donald and Bob

  • Saleemah

    The more creases ‘I’ have… the louder I laugh – or try to anyway, since many of my folds are spread out over an almost 60yr spann. I could go all hard – but I’m thankful & glad that the messages in my life have healed me

    This sista will buy Bob’s book & read it. Thanks for sharing!

  • Tom Golden

    Thanks for featuring Bob’s book. I cannot wait to read it. Also looking forward to reading Blue Like Jazz this coming week on vacation and I really enjoyed A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.

  • kristen

    bob – already pre-ordered! can’t wait to get it!!

  • anonymous

    I’ll keep reciting this to myself until i’m a lonely old man sitting on a barstool somewhere.

  • Brenda Branson

    Excellent and so true. I’ve found that regardless of whether I willingly give up something or someone dear to me in exchange for God’s best, or have it snatched away by circumstances out of my control, there is a lot of pain and grief to process. Even though I may have wisdom to trust that God’s plan for me is best, it doesn’t take the devastating sting out of the loss. But each experience,where wisdom and pain holds hands,teaches me greater dependency on God and leads into deeper intimacy. That is worth more than everything I lost in the process.

  • Kaitie

    Love the “human origami” picture … the more creases the better. :) Thanks!

  • sherri b.

    “… evidence of God’s tremendous love and unfolding adventure for me”
    I can’t wait until someday some of this life makes sense.

  • Erin Szczerba

    I love you, Bob Goff, and I am going to take you up on your invitation to jump off your pier!
    I so very much love that a wise and thoughtful man wrote about this. I have received more Dear Erin letters than I care to remember. They hurt. And even though I hate to admit it, I have swapped the real thing for an image of the real thing too many times.
    I am eager to read Love Does.
    Thanks for doing, Bob.
    Thanks for sharing, Don.

  • John

    Knowing when to back off and knowing when to keep working towards a goal is a tricky balancing act. Randy Pausch’s words from, “The Last Lecture,” come to mind. He talks about how walls and obstacles in our life are sometimes there to prove/discover how much we want something. I’m thinking of that quote in terms of achieving something more than I am with respect to the relationship emphasis of the blog post. I look fwd to reading this book.

  • James in StumpJazz

    So Bob, When we finish your book, where do we send the handwritten letters?

  • Sonya Denyse

    I heard it said once that man’s rejection is God’s protection. This post is a grateful reminder.

  • Robyn

    Donald thank you for sharing this post. I read A Million Miles in a Thousand Days at the recomendation of my friend Chris Brogan (since then I have read your other books as well.) and i’m a regular reader of your blog. So when you first mentioned Bob’s book knowing how important he is to you I pre-ordered it then. Thank you for sharing this excerpt – it is powerful and what I need right now.
    Bob, I can’t to read your book – this excerpt has certainly made me crave more. I appreciate your transparency in the post above and the best way I can describe it – it’s a blessing. I’m now looking forward to the release date even more!

    Thank you both,

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  • Shyla

    Quintessentially humble straight-talking Bob. Thank you. (Smile)