Does a bold idea have to be big to serve its intended purpose? William Paul Young would say no. His book The Shack was meant to share his understanding of God with his kids. God blessed the bold idea in Paul’s family, but then expanded its impact for His own purposes. Knowing daily grace and being blessed by others’ testimonies, Paul is simply along for the ride.

Who is William Paul Young? Paul was born in Canada to missionary parents and spent his formative years in West Papua. Upon returning to Canada in his teen years, Paul continued his education and put himself through Bible college and seminary. He married Kim, had six kids, and worked in a number of fields to provide for his family, all the while writing for himself and those he loved. His bestseller The Shack has sold 22 million copies and impacted thousands of lives, but Paul is satisfied that it served its purpose as a Christmas present to his kids just over a decade ago.

William Paul Young has had a variety of experiences—good and bad—that have shaped his unique perspective on God. Working through some painful experiences, Paul became aware that his view of God was skewed because of his poor relationship with his own father. In healing from that, Paul has been able to know God more and share God’s grace with others. He has found a confidence in his own identity and a deeper trust in God.


“The things that matter to me—identity, worth, value, significance, security, meaning, purpose, destiny, community, love—all of those things were in place before I wrote the book. So the book hasn’t added any of that to me. What the book has done is given me an invitation into the holy ground of other people’s stories in a way I had never experienced before.” —Paul

“It took me 50 years to wipe the face of my father off the face of God.” —Paul

“We are so self-condemning that we think God looks at us the way we look at ourselves, and we end up with this distant omnibeing who is opposed to us and who may love us because He has to but doesn’t like us.” —Paul

“If you don’t know you are significant because of who you are, then you will suck significance out of what you do.” —Paul

“We are not designed to be future trippers. We only get grace for one day. When you start taking today’s real grace and spending it on things that don’t exist, you get into all kinds of fear-based anxiety. We create these incredible imaginations of failure […] that actually don’t exist. We’re designed to be the child, to live inside the grace of one day and deal with what’s right in front of us. When you learn to do that, there will always be enough. And tomorrow you will get the grace for whatever tomorrow holds.” —Paul

Action plan:

  • Take steps forward on bold ideas that seem to have a small impact. Minister to those around you.
  • Realize that your own significance is not tied to your performance. If it were, you would be diminished as a person.
  • Do not be frustrated by waiting for a bold idea to come to fruition. God is preparing the way. He knows if you are ready for the next steps or not.
  • Accept both praise and criticism with gratitude. Don’t camp on either side of the continuum. Trust God’s grace for each day.

Resources mentioned:

Ways to get involved:

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