I’m just going to start this off by saying that I’m completely wrecked. Sort of at a loss for words (which I hope I can get figured out enough to write what God wants me to say). Scared out of my mind. Already feeling major attacks from the enemy.
But, at the same time, I’m so full of joy. Awe. Astonishment. Reverence. Freedom. More than I’ve ever been in my life.
About a year and a half ago I received this book as my graduation gift titled, “Anything: The Prayer That Unlocked My God and My Soul” by Jennie Allen from a woman I greatly respect and look up to. I read a few chapters, but soon got intimidated and sort of angry. So, I put it away on my bookshelf.
When I got home from college this summer, so on fire about who God is and how He had been pursuing me, I decided I needed some soul food. I wanted to glean some wisdom from these books I’ve collected but never put in the time to read. So, as I ran my eyes across the stacks of books, God placed my eyes on “Anything” and said, “Finish it.”
So I did.
In summary, I think I underlined 90% of the words and cried about every 3 pages. In a good way. I’m also super emotional most of the time so that doesn’t surprise me very much.
After some pretty world-rocking events took place the beginning of this year, I was wrecked, and NOT in a good way. But God met me in that low valley, and carried me up the heights of the mountain. He gave me eyes to see my life, situations, and relationships in it that were toxic and keeping me from surrender. I couldn’t even begin to give myself any credit for my growth the past 6 months, even if I wanted to.
God’s provision and re-molding of my heart has been the hardest, yet most beautiful seasons of my life.
In the past couple months; I realized that I had been holding on to control of things in my life that I had no jurisdiction over. That I was choking out with my grasp.
It was time to let go, FOR REAL this time.
I started praying every day that God would use me to do big things for His Kingdom. I had huge ideas and so much passion. So much excitement to get this show on the road. But, as a common theme of my life has shown, life doesn’t really go as I’d plan it to very often. Instead, God has been using this time as a waiting period. I know it’s for His glory and my good, but it’s a hard pill to swallow for me.
Although there has been so much growth and goodness in this waiting season with God, a lot of sin in my heart has been revealed to me. ESPECIALLY through “Anything”. Here’s some bullet points.
I have a sickeningly prideful heart.
I want to do big things for God… why? I’d like to say that 100% of the time it is to glorify God and serve to help restore His Kingdom, but after some serious soul searching, I can say with confidence that that percentage isn’t even close to accurate. Instead of glorifying God through Him using me, I want to glorify myself. I want people to notice me. Praise me. Shower me with compliments.
Unfortunately, this fact about me isn’t super surprising. I’ve always loved the center of attention. Most people that know me tell me REGULARLY that I’m the most dramatic human being that they’ve ever known. In some ways, being dramatic is totally a part of who I am and I love how it brings laughter and fun. But on the flip side, it is tremendously dangerous.
I’m still scared of what people think of me.
Even though I’ve spent years and months rooting my identity in Jesus and how He loves me, daily I find myself enraptured and entrapped in the sin of comparison and worry about how another person sees me as. It takes up much more of a space in my heart than I’ve been able to see before.
I am a perfectionist. To an absolute fault.
I know, as you read this you’re probably like “whatever” and rolling your eyes, but I’m dead serious. Because I am such a perfectionist, I am not good at forgiving myself. I hardly do at all for that matter. I have such lofty expectations about where my relationship with God should be, how well I should know and memorize Scripture, and how much I should be doing to serve the Kingdom, that it actually prevents me from truly embracing my sweet Jesus and His work to save me. It defeats the whole purpose of the Gospel I say I stand by. It discourages me beyond belief.
Thank God that He is faithful to reveal our innermost qualities that express themselves as soul sucking sin issues. There is freedom in knowing that.
Thankfully, God is doing much more than only revealing my sin to me.
- He is teaching me the astounding joy of true surrender with every passing day.
- He is affirming me that I am His beloved daughter who has a PURPOSE.
- He is reminding me that there is so much more to life than having a safe routine. Job success. A successful marriage. Obedient children. Nice friends. A supportive friend circle. A comfortable, non-challenging, easy, beautiful life.
We were given life in order that we may glorify God. THAT is our purpose. Our call. Our mission. God didn’t give any of us life in order for it to be wasted or easily floated through. He has called us to give it all to Him.
As Jennie Allen put it: “The very thought of doing anything demands EVERYTHING.”
It demands our plans. Our comforts. Our safety. Our reputations. Our ideal daily lives. But oh, it is worth it. It is more than worth the risk.
“All my life I thought I had God’s stamp of approval because my life wasn’t going badly. Now I was faced with the fear that it might actually be the opposite. What if my lie was going so beautifully because I wasn’t chasing after God?”
The call we have as believers is no joke. Like, take up our cross and follow Him? Uh, how? Most people never experience this type of intimacy with God that they find joy and freedom in taking up their cross and following God. Praying prayers like “anything”. It burdens me to the core & breaks my heart.
This is not a drill. Seriously. This is not a joke to get Christians riled up. It is clearly spelled out in Scripture. It’s time to wake up!!!!!!
Once we surrender our plans and our lives to the one who created us, He WILL unleash His wild plan. He WILL use us. He WILL uphold us with His steady hand. He WILL challenge us, but at the same time give us the most purpose-filled freedom that we could ever receive.
“For believers in our eternal God, it shouldn’t be unusual to risk our entire lives for Him. It should be the norm for everyone who claims Christ.”
We are given such a gift, if we choose to receive it. Everything is on the line here. Our fulfillment in this life, our place in eternity. Are you risking it all? Praying prayers that ask God to use you to do anything & everything that He desires for you?
This question has brought me to my knees in conviction. I pray it does for you too.
I have given God my “yes”. I am now daily surrendering to Him, in an even deeper sense. I am willing to risk it all. I am eager to embrace suffering if it means that God is receiving His utmost glory through it.
I’m awake. I am ready for anything.
*Any words in italics are direct quotes of Jennie Allen.