The Variable Life // REVIEW


As the editor of The Rising, you should know two things about me. One: I love books, and I read a lot of them. And two: I love my writers. The people that share their words here on this site are some of the most talented, brilliant, big-hearted, and incredibly people I know. It's a special treat to be able to share a post today that combines two of those things I love so much: Rising writers and books.

One of our Rising contributors has written a book! 

So cool, right?! This book is really, really good. I don't say that about every book I read, either. I chatted with John Weirick (you can read his post on The Rising here!) about this book and what it was like to write it, which was super fun. You can preorder the book on Kickstarter now and help John bring this dream to reality, which would just be the best gift I think we could all give him this Christmas.

Here's our conversation:

Who would you say you wrote this book for? If you could dream up the person you most want this book to land with, who would they be? Why them?

John Weirick: The Variable Life is a book for people who feel scared, stuck, who are questioning what they believe or the direction their lives. It's for the high school senior, who's debating which college to attend and which career to pursue. It's for your friend who's dating a girl or a guy and they're wondering if they're ready for a commitment like marriage. It's for introverts who want to feel OK in their own skin and still build good friendships with people they care about. It's for extroverts or ambiverts who want to find a better way to connect with and care for their introverted friends. It's for your family member who's not sure where to turn when things don't go as expected.

Young adults especially are the people who can gain the most immediate food for thought and practical insights by reading The Variable Life. When I wrote a lot of these stories and thoughts, I remembered being a senior in high school and an underclassman in college, wondering what in the world I was going to do with my life. I had so many options, like we all face, and the trick is not to fall into the paralysis of analysis—getting lost in the details, or giving into fear or failure. Reading books helped me hear from others, “me too,” when I wondered if my life would ever make sense or reveal answers. With this book, I hope others experience that “me too” moment. There’s something powerful and unique about those years of emerging into adulthood, discovering who we are, what God is like, which people we’ll surround ourselves with, and what really matters.

In the midst of our routine, staying faithful in the daily grind of our work, our play, and our living, God meets us in a way we did not expect. He always brings changes. The changes are rarely what we expect, but they are ultimately for our good because he is.
— John Weirick in his book "The Variable Life"

The book is called The Variable Life -- can you briefly explain what some of the key variables are and why we should care about them in our lives?

JW: We live in a world full of options and variety. It’s impossible to chase every opportunity and go every direction. It’s essential to rethink and reshape our lives, perspective, relationships, and our search for meaning beyond ourselves—without getting lost in the details.

The key variables in life are change, conflict, and relationships. Those things put us on the fast track to growth if we’re willing to lean in. We are compelled to grow the most when we face inescapable change, when we endure inevitable conflict, and when we embrace the transforming power of relationships. It’s how we find clarity and confidence in a world of choices. Changes and overwhelming options don’t have to paralyze us; we can enjoy the journey despite the risks, failures, and challenges we face in the maze of variables life offers. All of this matters because the choices we make determine the course of our lives.

Our variable lives make more sense the further we go, gaining the perspective hindsight offers and allowing us to mark the course we’ve been traveling.
— John Weirick in his book "The Variable Life"

If you had to describe what this book is about in one sentence, what would you say?

JW: The Variable Life is a collection of stories and observations for people who want to find their way through the maze of variables, choices, and complexities of modern life, without losing sight of God or themselves.

How long have you been writing, and in what capacities? How long have you been working on this book?

I started blogging regularly about six years ago, and the past three years I’ve written for publications like The Huffington Post, RELEVANT Magazine, with my work being referenced on Lifehacker and Donald Miller’s Storyline Blog, plus dozens of sites that have millions of visitors. It’s been rewarding in a variety of challenges and opportunities, ranging from web marketing copy, video scripts, and screenplays to daily reflective readings and commentary on faith, culture, and personal growth.

More than four years ago, I started writing the book because I thought it was a cool thing to do—to figure out who I was, what my relationships and faith and career were about, and to help others make progress in their lives, too. After finishing the bulk of the writing, I moved across the country, started a new job, connected with new communities of people, and built a life in our new city—so the book was on hold. Over the past year and a half, the manuscript has been through four or five new drafts, and I’ve worked with an editor and a designer to make sure it’s on the right track. And now it’s undergoing one last copyedit before we send it to be printed, and the first final copies will be shipped out to everyone who pre-ordered through the Kickstarter campaign, which runs until 9am ET on December 24. It’s exciting to have worked on it, through all the changes over four years, and to finally have something ready to hand readers.

What's the core message or feeling you really want people to take away from reading this?

JW: After reading The Variable Life, I want people to step back into their routines, work, relationships, and everything with a greater sense of agency—the ability to admit things may be challenging, but the struggle is worthwhile and they can walk forward despite the tension. They can feel permission to be themselves and to face changes, conflict, and all the choices in the world with a sense of empowerment, hope, clarity, and confidence to face whatever’s next.

God is present in our stories, and we’re better for it when we make space to listen for what he might say.
— John Weirick in his book "The Variable Life"

John Weirick is a freelance writer, introvert advocate, and author of The Variable Life: Finding Clarity and Confidence in a World of Choices. A transplant from Minnesota and Oregon, he now lives in Greenville, South Carolina, where he's still learning euphemisms like "that dog don't hunt" and "bless your heart." Pre-order his book on Kickstarter before December 24.