Heavenward.

The word ANYTHING is defined as: in any degree, to any extent, in any way, at all.

Have you ever wanted something so badly that you say you’d do ANYTHING for it? Maybe a promotion at work, a new pair of boots, or a Hawaiian vacation. As a mom, some days every day I’d do pretty much anything for an extra hour of sleep or being able to drink an entire cup of coffee while it’s still hot.  

But when you really consider the nitty, gritty of the word anything, what people actually mean is, “anything within reason,” or “anything I deem appropriate.” They don’t really mean ANYTHING.

I’m involved in a mom’s group that meets every other Thursday, and we’ve been reading through Jennie Allen’s book, Anything, and it’s been rocking my world. 

[Jennie, if you’re reading this (you’re not) you are my hero.]

Jennie writes with such passion, such vulnerability, such grace and such encouragement that it’s hard not to desire the kind of relationship she has with the Lord. And she’ll be the first to say, her wake up call began with a simple prayer that was simply focused on one word: 

ANYTHING.

She realized her life was too inwardly focused, too comfortable, too limited. With the God of the Universe on her side, she realized she was able to do far more than she had every allowed herself to believe. But in order to access that ability, she would have to sacrifice her own will. Her own control. Her own plans. So one night on her bathroom floor, she gave it all over to the Lord. Her prayer was as follows: 

“From this point on things are changing. I am living for the moment when I will face you. I want to get to heaven out of breath, having willingly done anything that you – God of the universe – ask…anything.” 

Wow. I mean, really. That’s one simple, but incredibly powerful prayer. When I read those words for the first time, they hit me in the chest like mallet. [And when I say “mallet,” clearly I’m picturing one of those big things Paul Bunyan used…even though I’m pretty sure that was an ax. You get my point.]

Anyway, Jennie’s prayer made me realize, like she confessed, how comfortable my life had become. My kids’ nap time was all about Netflix [although I would usually fold laundry too]. I had begun to take for granted my comfortable house, my comfortable community, my comfortable little town, my comfortable life. I wasn’t venturing out to meet new people, to do new things, to take more risks for God. I have been living comfortably in my own little bubble, and it needs to change. 

A friend and co-worker of mine passed away from a brain tumor in November, and to hear the words shared at his funeral were amazing. So many people talked about his immense love, his undeniable fire for telling anyone and everyone about Jesus, his relentless pursuit of others in their walks with the Lord, and his adoration of his wife and children. He was someone who longed after the Lord, who walked with Him closely, who was willing to do anything for his Father. 

After I read Jennie’s words, his face immediately came to mind as someone who, when meeting Jesus face-to-face, was out of breath from fighting the good fight and running the race as hard as humanly possible. He was a saint. And with everything in me, I desire to be just like him. 

In another section, Jennie adds her own take on Luke 14:

“Wake up! This pursuit of me, it may cost you everything you hold dear, everything you love here. It may cost even your life. And until this life gets small, really small, and I get big, really big, you won’t truly follow me. Because loving this life too much will affect your love for me. It also will affect what you are willing to do for me.”

When I first read those words, they were honestly a little scary to me. This concept of loving God more than anything is RADICAL. But the God we serve is a radical God, friends. So why would I be surprised He wants me to live my life in a way that would be considered radical? 

I really love the concept of choosing a word for your year. Whether it’s something you want to aim for, or as you pray about your upcoming year and  God leads you to a specific word or concept, it can help focus your mind and heart as you enter a new season of life. 

This year, as I was reading through Jennie’s book, I felt like my word for 2018 should be:

[Thanks to my friend Erin for designing that beautiful graphic for me!]

I don’t want to live for my own comfort any longer. I want to live for the moment I will come face-to-face with my Savior.  I want to be out of breath in that moment, from a life well-lived. A life full of fighting the good fight, and running the race with Jesus. 

Now, that doesn’t mean that I will never do things like watch Netflix during my sons’ nap time. I am still going to be realistic about my humanity. I will still need breaks. I will still need to rest. [I’m a mama of littles, after all!] I just don’t want every moment and every day to be focused on when I can finally put my feet up and flick on the TV. 

My husband and I have started praying our own prayer of “anything,” and I’m excited to see what Jesus will do with it. Whether that be something big for God, or simply living out the mundane moments of life WELL. Doing the dishes and vacuuming my house as a way to love my family. Loving my husband by sitting next to him while he watches football [and I read a book…let’s not be crazy]. Praying for my children, giving them grace and telling them about Jesus. Figuring out creative ways to get to know my neighbors and love on them. Texting a friend simply because I was thinking about her. 

I may not be the next Beth Moore [or Jennie Allen], but I can live in my little corner of the world spreading the love of Jesus with anyone who wanders into my life. And if God calls me to something big, then I’ll keep my eyes heavenward and follow Him where He calls, what He calls me to, and give up what He asks me to.

That’s my prayer of anything, and I hope when the moment comes, I can love Jesus more than anything else in my life, because there’s no doubt about it, He’s worth it.