Neighbor, Love Yourself

Discover Your Value, Live Your Worth



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June 18, 2024 | ISBN 9780593910283

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About the Book

God loves us, but do we love ourselves? Having listened to hundreds of life stories, Bryan Crum realized too many people carry regret. With a foreword by New York Times bestselling author Bob Goff, Neighbor, Love Yourself reminds us all that we are worthy.

“This book, a guide to self-love, is filled with wisdom, humor, and invaluable insights that will empower you to live life with newfound confidence and authenticity.”—Mark Batterson, author of The Circle Maker

God gave us divinely sophisticated tools, so we could live the powerful life he intended. The problem is most of us don’t know they exist . . . or how to use them. The result is an inner worth we aren’t aware of and a life unknowingly lived at half capacity.

Neighbor, Love Yourself launches an internal expedition to uncover the hidden features installed within us bearing our Maker’s fingerprints. Though we’ve forgotten how to use these custom parts, they still work. They’re not rusty, just dusty.

Bryan Crum spent a decade as a hospice chaplain. His time at the bedside of dying people gave him a front-row view into how God designed us. He discovered that most people felt they never reached their full potential. Their longings and regrets led to incredible insights about what’s most often missed—the power of love.

Filled with memorable stories and timeless takeaways, Neighbor, Love Yourself reveals how understanding our inner value changes the way we live on the outside. Before we can truly love our neighbors—or anyone else—we must learn to love ourselves as God intended.

If you’ve doubted your design, felt unfulfilled, or are unaware of the divine features inside you, this book is like finding a lost owner’s manual to your inner workings—one that invites you to take joy in your pricelessness instead of wondering about your worth.
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Praise for Neighbor, Love Yourself

“Crum uncovers the Maker’s fingerprints on our inner selves, reminding us that our self-worth is not lost, just waiting to be dusted off. This book, a guide to self-love, is filled with wisdom, humor, and invaluable insights that will empower you to live life with newfound confidence and authenticity.”—Mark Batterson, New York Times bestselling author of The Circle Maker

“I started reading Neighbor, Love Yourself because the author asked me to; I finished reading it because I couldn’t put it down. As one who has lost so many I love, I found that this book puts words to the truths I want to live out before forever begins.”—Rachel Wojo, author of One More Step and Pure Joy

“Crum has done a great job of outlining applicable, hands-on ideas for how we can use our God-breathed wiring to improve our lives and the lives of others. He has deep reservoirs of wisdom, but he also tells a great story. One of his stories made my family snort-laugh over dinner as I read it to them, and when we finished laughing, we talked about the good, true things we learned in that same chapter. Neighbor, Love Yourself is that kind of book.”—Kimberly Stuart, author and public speaker

“Bryan Crum and I have been talking about Neighbor, Love Yourself for a while now, and it’s got all the pieces important to a great book. It has relatability, authenticity, and applicability. It will make you laugh. It will make you cry. It will make you think. Neighbor, Love Yourself has tools for helping you moving forward, and I really think you are going to like this book.”—Bob Goff, New York Times bestselling author

“Bryan Crum has always had a gentle and witty way of telling the truth while encouraging me to seek God’s direction in my life. In Neighbor, Love Yourself,he does just that. While reading about his real-life experiences, I can hear himurging us to love how God has uniquely and purposefully made us. God has big plans for us all . . . we just need to engage with his plans.”—Nate Harmon, lead pastor of Louisville Baptist Temple, Louisville, Ohio

“In Neighbor, Love Yourself, Bryan Crum helps us uncover the potential hidden deep within us. He weaves stories of lessons learned from those nearing the end of their lives to encourage us to make the most of the life we have. I highly recommend this enjoyable book to all who desire a deeper, more fulfilling relationship with Christ.”—Dr. Mark Milioni, president of Baptist Bible College

“You’re holding an absolute treasure. If you struggle with self-compassion or wrestle to see yourself the way God sees you, this book is pure gold. You’ll find your heart softened, your mind opened, your soul lifted. Crum pulls you in with his storytelling, hands you a precious souvenir to carry with you from each chapter, and points you in the direction of unending love.”—Amy Seiffert, Bible teacher and author of Starved and Grace Looks Amazing on You
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Neighbor, Love Yourself

Chapter 1

Unearthing Our Inner Worth

When I learned about a real-life treasure buried in the ground, my first instinct was to pack a bag and go looking for it. A chest filled with 265 gold coins, hundreds of gold nuggets (two of them as big as a chicken egg), Chinese jade carvings, an emerald ring, and a bag of gold dust was closed and hidden away somewhere in the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Hidden by a man named Forrest Fenn, this collection of valuables, worth an estimated $2 million, birthed a modern-day treasure hunt.

Perhaps more interesting than the story of the treasure is the story of the man who hid it. Diagnosed with cancer and not expected to live, Forrest Fenn neared what he thought would be the end of his life and decided to leave behind something for people to find. Incredibly, Fenn survived cancer.

Alive, Forrest chose to leave the treasure where he buried it, and up until June 2020 it was still up for grabs.

Fenn published a poem in his autobiography with nine clues that led to the treasure. I’ve never buried a treasure, but I guess after you’ve dug the hole, placed the riches, and left the clues, you do what Fenn did. You wait for people to find it. Fenn waited, but he did something else that caught my attention. He delighted. Fenn delighted as people came searching to find the wealth he had hidden. Every day, Fenn received calls and emails asking about the poem, the clues, and the whereabouts of the hidden chest. Fenn says one person was within 250 feet of the treasure but didn’t find it. More than 350,000 people looked for the treasure; some came close, some didn’t, but all searched for something they hoped would improve their lives. The reward was great, and the risk was also great—five people died while searching. Fenn, however, said his intent behind hiding the treasure was to give people hope.


The first time I heard the story of Forrest Fenn’s treasure, I was intrigued by the gold and by the treasure hunt. The thought of a dying man leaving behind a treasure for people to find inspired me, but Forrest Fenn’s intent to give people hope haunted me.

Hope given not just to the one who found the treasure but to all who searched for it. People were so full of hope some died searching for something they believed would improve their lives.

Fenn left clues and delighted for years in all who came to find them.

It reminds me of the treasure hunt you and I are on. At our births, God placed tremendous treasure not in the ground but inside us. Like Forrest Fenn, God does something else, something I hope will catch your attention. He delights. God delights as we search for something he has hidden inside of us that will make our lives better. Like Fenn, God offers hope not just for those who find but for everyone willing to search. Are you ready to put in effort to find the treasure in yourself? God is calling all treasure seekers, people looking for more and wondering how to find it. This is an invitation to an expedition inside yourself, one worth more than any box of buried gold. We have clues to follow and digging to do, and the first step is bringing what’s been hidden out of hiding.

Out of Hiding

My youth group played a cutting-edge game at church lock-ins called hide-and-seek. There were three rules. Rule one, no lights allowed; this meant some areas were very dark. Rule two, stay hidden until you’re found. Rule three, the last person found is deemed the ultimate hider and is given legendary status in the youth group forever. In my youth group, guys wanted to be the last found, and girls wanted to date the last found, and they would have dated them, but they could never find them.

Our God-given components can be hard to find at first because we approach finding them the same way we play hide-and-seek. We’re searching, but we’ve left the lights off. If we want to find the valuable features that bring wealth to our lives, we must start by finding our talents. Getting clarity about the things you are good at is the equivalent of flipping the light switch. Find the things you excel at and do more of them. In the search for the features God has equipped us with, lights are allowed. Identify lightbulbs in your life by first making a list of your natural abilities. Starting an all-out expedition to search inside yourself can be daunting, but the launch of such an endeavor typically begins with something as simple as ­making a list.

My youth group came up with a creative name for the person searching for everyone during hide-and-seek. Some people call this person the seeker, but we were trendsetters, so we called this person . . . It. The game started with kids scattering everywhere, looking for places to hide as soon as It began counting to five hundred.

One kid achieved legendary status that night at the lock-in by being an expert hider. When the hide-and-seek game started, John seemed to become part vapor and vanished like a dissipating fog.

It reached five hundred in his count and shouted, “Ready or not, here I come!”

Everyone froze.



It was so quiet I remember trying to make my breathing slow and shallow, so afraid It might hear me.

No sound at all until finally, I could hear footsteps.

It was in the sanctuary, and he walked to where I was hiding.

If he dropped to one knee and looked under the pew, I would face the ultimate shame of being found first.

Then salvation came as someone across the sanctuary knocked a hymnal onto the floor. The echo boomed through the auditorium, followed by muffled laughter. The seeker’s feet moved quickly away from me and headed for the giggling hiders.

One by one, people were found—everyone except John.

In no way am I suggesting this is safe or recommending it should be tried today. I’m merely explaining that John achieved legendary status from which I’m sure he has drawn years of self-worth and a more prosperous life of personal glory.

He was still hiding.

We searched for three hours. Eventually, everyone was searching. John was hiding so long the chaperones started to worry. One chaperone walked through the church, speaking to the air and telling John the game was over and to come out.

John would go down in history as a hide-and-seek legend that night as the entire youth group and every chaperone collectively gave up and sat down on the front pew all together in the dark. Every person searched for him, and we had no idea where he was. As we sat on the front pew, the big sanctuary became silent. We had looked everywhere and discussed every possibility. We were stumped, so we sat in the quiet, big, dark church until finally one sound broke the silence—the sound of a single drop of water.

Water dripped in the baptistery on the stage behind the pulpit. Everyone jumped to their feet, rushing with realization, climbing onto the stage, looking over the baptistery wall, down into the water.

It was pitch black.

We all stood there, silence again settling over us as we peered into the dark space until It said, “Hand me that broom.” It commandeered a broom leaning against the wall and began to poke at the water with the handle.

First, nothing, and then, as if a great sleeping crocodile had awoken, a thrashing sweep of water as John cried out, “Ah, you found me!”

John had submerged himself in the baptistery and breathed through a straw. He had waited underwater for more than four hours. When the lights came on, we saw John shivering; his fingers were prunes, and his clothes looked like they would never stop dripping. As John stepped out of the dark baptistery, we realized he had done something extraordinary. John had earned legendary status as the ultimate hider.

Legendary status as a hide-and-seek player is funny, but the truth is you and I already have legendary status; we were made legendary. There’s a sleeping crocodile, a legend, waiting to be awakened just below the surface of ourselves, and we can wake it.

Have you ever felt the disconnect between who you are and who you could be? Those feelings are the legend inside you growing restless in its hiding place. Our true selves have been underwater and need more air than the little straw we’ve been breathing through can provide. To remain hidden is to be content with a less fulfilled life, one in which we never realize our full potential, one that makes it hard to love ourselves. Follow the breaths of fresh air in your life—the things you are good at, the things God has wired you with talent to do. God has equipped you with talent in certain areas, created you with skills and natural abilities. It’s time to seek them out and wake your legend.

About the Author

Bryan Crum
Decorative Carat

About the Author

Bob Goff
Decorative Carat
Random House Publishing Group