I recently finished an incredible book called Anything by Jennie Allen. It's been over a week since I finished and I can't stop thinking about it. I have felt a full spectrum of emotions and been in constant prayer and contemplation.
The book talks about Jennie's prayer that completely changed her life. She felt the conviction one night to pray for God to open up her heart to anything. She didn't want to be held back by fear or privilege or outside expectations. She wanted to do anything God called her to, no matter how outrageous or simple.
This inspires me because I have felt a restlessness in my soul for so long (coincidentally I am now reading another of Jennie's books called Restless). It's not that I'm discontent with my life. I have a pretty great life. My husband and I are on the same wavelength and really more in love than ever before. We have two beautiful children that bless and enrich our lives. We attend a great church with amazing pastors and leaders. Every week that I sit under the teaching of Pastor Rick is a blessing to me. Our house is perfect for us. Alex really enjoys his job. I am loving my current work situation where I get to write from home and volunteer at my kids' school. Listen, life is great and I have no complaints.
And yet... I feel that there's more out there. I have never wanted to live a "normal" life. If you had asked me five years ago that this is where we would be I would have laughed in your face. Sometimes I joke with Alex that we should move to the bush in Africa and work in an orphanage. He's not quite on board with that particular plan, but my point is that I want to be open to anything, anything, God has for us. Thankfully Alex is the kind of guy who says yes to adventures. In our seven years of marriage we've been on quite a few and it's not always been easy, but I see the lessons in every step we've taken.
But back to the book... Over the course of a couple of years Jennie and her husband found themselves in Rwanda with their three biological children ready to bring home their newly adopted son. Her oldest son was playing soccer with his new little brother and Jennie's eyes filled with tears and she "felt God whispering, 'Jennie, what if you had been too afraid to obey me? Look at what you would have missed.'"
Honestly when I read that line it hit me like a ton of bricks. I think I cried (that could have been the pregnancy hormones breaking through). Because if I'm transparent, I feel like that's me. I feel that I missed out because I was afraid. Because I walked away when I should have stood firm. Because I made decisions based on emotion rather than relying on God's faithfulness. I don't believe that I sinned or anything, I just think that instead of making the best choice I made the easy and safe choice. When I shared these feelings with my husband he was sweet and supportive. He reminded me that I went through a difficult time, that I was in a fragile state, battling with postpartum depression and desperate for a breath of fresh air. I try not to beat myself up about it. The past needs to stay in the past. I cannot move forward if I am constantly dwelling on past decisions, but I can't pretend that regrets don't creep into my mind.
Jennie Allen says, "We have become such a pragmatic society with our pros and cons and schedules that when we get to matters of radical obedience, it's easy for us to talk ourselves out of it. We rationalize that if the cost outweighs the benefit, then we shouldn't do it... Those of us who know Christ, we live for a different reality. We live for things we can't see and make decisions based on that different reality. Our reality is a cross, a heaven, and a God who sees us and gives us his Spirit so we can do something while we are here. And that's not building a cute, easy life for ourselves where the pros outweigh the cons. We build for Him."
Alex and I still have no idea what that all means for our family. We just know that we want to be wholly surrendered to Him. We want to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us. We want to press through doubts and fears. We want to listen to His voice, not the voices of nay-sayers. We want to trust God because only He is truly trust-worthy. He knows better than I do how to best live this life. I don't want to quit because it's hard. I can do hard things, not because of myself, but because I have a God who is strong and mighty in me.
So now we pray. And we wait. We wait for God to speak. We wait for vision. We wait for confirmation. It's crazy not having a plan...yet. But I don't want to fall into bad habits. I don't want to try to seize control. I want to put my hands up and say, "Alright God...this is all You. I'm ready and willing whenever You say the word." And then I pray that God would help me to obey because He is worth it.