It Is What You Make of It: Creating Something Great from What You’ve Been Given – Justin McRoberts

It Is What You Make of It: Creating Something Great from What You’ve Been Given by Justin McRoberts
Published by Thomas Nelson on June 1, 2021
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life
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Justin McRoberts dares you to move beyond “it is what it is” thinking and become an agent of love and redemption in your household, neighborhood, and workplace.
“It is what it is”—a common phrase you hear and maybe even say yourself. But the truth is that there is not one square inch in the whole domain of our human existence that simply is what it is. Justin McRoberts invites you to embrace a new mindset: it is what you make of it.   
With warmth, wisdom, and humor, McRoberts shares key moments from his twenty-plus years as an artist, church planter, pastor, singer-songwriter, author, neighbor, and father, passing on lessons and practices learned about making something good from what you’ve been given rather than simply accepting things as they are. 
Thought-provoking but actionable, It Is What You Make of It declares that love doesn’t just win, mercy doesn’t just triumph, and light doesn’t just cast out shadow. Rather, such renewal requires the work of human hands and hearts committed to a vision of a world made right (or at least a little better). When we partner with God in these endeavors, we love the world well and honor the Creator in whose image we are made.
We will not be remembered for who our parents were or where we were born or what our socioeconomic circumstances were. We won’t be remembered for our natural talents and strengths or the opportunities we were given or the challenges we faced. In the end, each of us will be remembered for what we made with what we were given.

This quick, encouraging read is full of hard-won wisdom, engaging humor, and vivid stories. Throughout the book, Justin McRoberts challenges his readers to work towards justice, wholeness, and healing wherever they are, instead of taking things at face value with an “it is what it is” mentality. He shows us how love, connection, and creativity can make the world a better place, and concludes each chapter with reflection questions and action items for readers to consider. It Is What You Make of It: Creating Something Great from What You’ve Been Given can be a great encouragement for both optimists and pessimists, urging us to be honest about what is broken in the world while also choosing to make the best of it.

McRoberts is a great storyteller and uses real-life anecdotes to illustrate important concepts and make them memorable. He shares memories from his childhood, parenting anecdotes, and stories about his experiences as a touring musician, with both mishaps and meaningful human connection along the way. He also shares Bible stories to illustrate his points, connecting stories of Jesus to how we can serve others in similar ways. McRoberts is also very honest about his flaws, sharing some stories that are entirely at his own expense. He emphasizes how important it is for us to be truly loving to everyone, instead of treating other people like instruments for us to get what we want, and he writes about the importance of using our talents for others’ benefit, not just for self-promotion.

It Is What You Make of It reminds us that because we are made in God’s image, we have the power to “make and remake,” and don’t have to shrug our shoulders and accept things the way they are. McRoberts challenges his readers to improve the world around them however they can, mirroring creation and resurrection on a smaller scale to bring healing to the people and contexts around us. This is a fun, quick read that is full of encouragement, and will be great for lots of different audiences. This book can be helpful, eye-opening, and encouraging whether you’re a graduating high school senior or a senior citizen, and can help readers feel refreshed and ready to make a difference in whatever context they are in.