It Is What You Make of It

Creating Something Great from What You’ve Been Given

by Justin McRoberts, Justin McRoberts

On Sale: 2021-06-01

Book Summary

Dare to move beyond “it is what it is” thinking and become an agent of love and redemption in your household, neighborhood, and workplace.

About the Book

Dare 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 we’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.

Reflection questions are available in the audiobook companion PDF download.


'It Is What You Make of It' is a must-read for creators who feel stuck and uncertain of their next move. Justin McRoberts uses his familiar humor-filled tone to pull artists out of performance-based performance and into the understanding of transformational art (and life) making with and for others.
'If good art is hospitality (and it is), this book sets the table.'
--Joy Ike Singer, songwriter, creator

'I find myself audibly saying 'Yes!' to so much of Justin's work, and this book is no exception. It Is What You Make of It is a call to move beyond simply allowing life to just 'happen' to us. Justin invites us to ask the question, What are we willing to do to make our life an adventure of creation and cocreation? Each story will challenge you to ask, What if there is more? What if each failure and success is moving us beyond just saying 'it is what it is'--and into 'it will be what we make it'? This book is a memoir, a challenge, and a divine invitation.'
--Sarah Heath Speaker, pastor, author of What's Your Story?, and podcast cohost

'In this amazing book, McRoberts does what all great artists do: he invites us into the transformation that he's been willing to do first. That transformation is the hard, vulnerable, and life-giving work of not letting things just be as they seemingly are, but performing the alchemy of turning it into creative gold. The journey of learning how to do this is essential, and McRoberts is the best of guides.'
--Scott Erickson Author of Honest Advent: Awakening to the Wonder of God-With-Us Then, Here, and Now

'Justin McRoberts is a consummate storyteller, and through story It Is What You Make of It imparts its gift--to remind us that we are made in the image of the Creator, that we are beloved works in progress with infinite opportunities to make more of what we have and who we are.'
--Cameron Dezen Hammon Author of This Is My Body: A Memoir of Religious and Romantic Obsession

'Justin McRoberts is one of the most prolific and gifted creators I know. It Is What You Make of It is a generous, heartfelt exploration of creativity, art, and the human experience. I was surprised by Justin's honesty in this book, and his clear desire to help us--to help me--become better artists and better human beings. Highly recommended.'
--Matt Mikalatos Author of Journey to Love

'Justin's ability to convincingly insist that there truly are no dead ends is both wondrously and painfully inspiring. It springs forth hope, even in the places I didn't want it to grow. Sometimes, to hope is to hurt, and It Is What You Make of It refuses me the permission to lay down my dreams and simply settle into what is. It calls me forward to keep reaching for what could be and to resist giving in to that sinister temptation that I am nothing more than a helpless victim in this dance called life. I think it will do the same for you.'
--Mike Donehey Songwriter and author

'Justin's real-life storytelling strips away all pretense and enables us to access a creative wisdom we all need. It Is What You Make of It hits you at the heart level and invites you to take an honest look at the motivations and inspirations that drive us forward.'
--Stephen Roach Host of the Makers and amp; Mystics podcast and The Breath and amp; the Clay creative arts movement

'Most books on creativity are forgettable, and most books on purpose feel derivative. It Is What You Make of It is neither of those. Justin McRoberts has written an original, memorable book that will change the way you understand meaning and imagination. His stories and insights are more than regurgitated truisms; they are birthed from the experiences of a person who has spent years doing the hard work of actually creating. This book weaves together humor and advice, peppering each page with practical wisdom that any creative can incorporate into their own life rhythms. If you believe the world as it exists can be better and more beautiful--and if you feel called to help midwife that future--then you can't afford not to read this book.'
--Jonathan Merritt Contributing writer for The Atlantic; author of Learning to Speak God from Scratch

'Throughout the years, Justin's words have deeply resonated with me, and this book is no exception. With humility and honesty, Justin opens our eyes to see the often forgotten truth: we are beloved children of God, created by a God who created us for more than we can imagine. Throughout these pages, we are beautifully reminded that our time on earth deeply matters, and this life is not for nothing but most certainly for something. If you're looking to be inspired and encouraged, this book is for you.'
--Tanner Olson Poet and author of I'm All Over the Place

'With humility, humor, and hard-won hope, Justin invites us all to take an honest look at how our experiences (even the cringeworthy ones) spark our creative spirits and shape our souls. It Is What You Make of It is like hanging out with a friend who manages to ask deep questions while making you laugh (and rethink some things) along the way.'
--Kayla Craig Author of To Light Their Way; host of Upside Down Podcast

Product Details

  • Imprint: Thomas Nelson
  • On Sale: 2021-06-01
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson
  • Publication Date: 2021-06-01
  • Trim Size: Trim size data not found for this book.
  • Weight: Weight data not found for this book.
  • Category 1 : RELIGION / Christian Life / Inspirational
  • Category 2 : RELIGION / Christian Life / Personal Growth
  • Category 3 : SELF-HELP / Creativity
  • Category 4 : SELF-HELP / Motivational & Inspirational