Growing up in the church world, it was commonplace to hear people tell God that they would be willing to give up anything for him. For all that I know, I would say my odds of doing this would be quite high with all the youth camps, revivals, and countless relationships that needed mending. “God, I’ll give up anything you ask me as long as you let this one person hate me less,” would often be my words. If we are being honest with our heart, we know that it happens all the time.
I have made a concentrated effort to start reading books written by women. I have nothing against women authors, it is the simple feeling that I could relate to men better. While that is a true statement, I took a chance and could not be happier. The words of Anything by Jennie Allen wrecked my world. It seemed as if she was speaking directly into the situation that I had found myself in for a specific season of life.
I had told God that I would gladly give up anything for him to use me, but what happened when he took those things away? What happened when things in my life were removed by force? Could I still cling to the word “anything” when we were ecstatic with news of a baby only to suffer a miscarriage? Were my words true even when I lost my job? Could it be that I really didn’t mean anything, but rather I wanted to bargain to God for an anything but scenario?
Hear me out before we get too much farther, I don’t believe God took the baby from Leighann and I but rather things happen as a result of this fallen world we live in and there is nothing we could do to change that. The job, on the other hand, could have been God answering a prayer. I had prayed for God to provide a way out of the company I worked for and He provided, just not in the way I wanted. There are things we will never know this side of Heaven and even there some questions will be left unanswered. I try not to think about those things.
Jennie tells her story of how she came to say yes to anything. She also goes on to recount the times that God has asked her family to say yes to giving something up for his glory and the struggle of continuing to do this. Like Jennie, I would not say that it has always been an easy process, but the payoff has been spectacular. Through the encouragement and challenge she provides, I have learned to give things up when God asks rather than holding on to them. I have learned that what we need will be provided in due time.
If you have not read this book, please do. The impact it will have on your life will be one that will last decades.
Official Book Description of Anything by Jennie Allen
Safe. Comfortable. Happy.
Words we all love. Feelings we want. Even crave. We may love God, but being that he’s invisible, words like comfortable seem to feel better faster.
We are all chasing something. Our hearts were made to run hard and fast after things that move us. But as a generation we are all beginning to stir and wake up, identifying that these words don’t satisfy for long, especially when compared to God. If God is real, and we are going to live with Him forever, shouldn’t He be everything?
Caught in this familiar haze of worldly happiness and empty pursuits, Jennie Allen and her husband Zac prayed a courageous prayer of abandonment that took them on an adventure God had written for them.
“God, we will do anything. Anything,”
Anything is a prayer of surrender that will spark something. A prayer that will move us to stop chasing things that just make us feel happy and start living a life that matters. A life that is…
Surrendered. Reckless. Courageous.
If we truly know a God worth giving anything for, everything changes.
From Publisher’s Weekly:
“Bible teacher Allen (creator of the new Stuck DVD Bible study) comes out of the gate strong, displaying accessibility and purposefulness in her first book. With an eye to the fears and doubts teeming beneath the surface for many female churchgoers, she compels her audience to figure out what’s stopping them from using their God-given talents and to be willing to do anything that God asks of them. By giving readers a glimpse of her own introspection and the interior life she’s revealed on her personal blog, she employs heartfelt honesty to connect with readers. Tales of loved ones who have taken the “journey to total abandonment” show how giving one’s life over to a higher purpose can “wreck” comfortable lives-and allow people to seize more important opportunities. Though the book is aimed at women who must balance their calling against more practical tasks like finishing the laundry and shopping at Target, Allen’s friendly yet urgent messages will have the wheels spinning in the minds of all audiences and may be the tough medicine that propels them to action.”
“Jennie Allen is a visionary, a girlfriend, and a Jesus-chaser. I can’t think of three qualities I appreciate more in a woman. I loved this book from cover to cover and have been really contemplating the way a one-word prayer can affect one’s heart and ministry in this life. I want to be an ‘anything’ kind of girl, and I appreciate and respect the example Jennie has set in pursuing God and what he desires in us. It’s just a word on a paper, but it’s a lifetime choice that can make all the difference. You in?”
– Angie Smith
Speaker, Women of Faith
Author, I Will Carry You and What Women Fear