Anything.

In August of last year I spent 20 minutes on the phone with a woman I had never spoken to or met.  Less than 15 minutes after that phone call I had an email in my inbox with an attachment called ‘Anything’.

Less than an hour after that I sat down on my couch and opened the document, and spent the rest of my evening peering into the heart of a woman who loves God, like, really loves God.

What I had in my inbox was Jennie Allen’s book Anything.  It’s the story of her life.  It’s the story of a prayer that was put in her heart by the Spirit of God: God, we will do anything.  Anything.  That kind of surrender has a way of unraveling everything in your life.  That kind of surrender has a way of setting you free.

That night, curled up on my couch, I got to know a woman I had never met; a woman who knew the same God I know.

I finished the book, and still sitting on my couch I drafted the following email back to her:

First of all, I love you and feel like you’re my best friend already.  For serious. Thank you so much for sharing this with me and with the world.

You write like you’re my friend and I love that.  I loved it because I felt like I was reading a living, feeling version of Platt’s Radical.  Your book was disarming  making me confess that I wasn’t radical, and then vulnerable – allowing me to let down my guard and then challenging – calling me and motivating me to actually be radical.  That’s really neat.

Gosh.  I feel emotional and convicted, and like I need to spend some time praying anything tonight.

It’s amazing to me how powerful one woman telling her story with honesty and conviction can be.

That night I lay face down on my floor and prayed: anything.  

I ran smack into Jennie Allen’s Anything less than a month after I lost my father.  My cry to God that night on the floor was an empty and broken sound.

In a way it felt easy.  After all, I didn’t feel like I had anything left to give to God.

In a way it was impossible.  After all, I knew the weight of ‘anything’.  ‘Anything‘ can include watching your dad waste away right in front of your eyes without the love of God in his heart.

That night I prayed the prayer I will have to pray a million times again before this life is done.  God, let me say these words and let me mean them.  Father, let the cry of my heart be: anything.  

I’ve never done a blog give away before.  It feels weird to me for some reason, but I want to do it this time.  Because I want you to read this woman’s story, and more than that, I want you to find yourself facedown praying to our sweet God that you would be able to lift your voice and in worship say: Anything!

So, if you want to get a copy of this amazing book, do any two of the following things:

#1 Go to www.whatisyouranything.com and share the one thing you’re most afraid to lose, (and comment below letting us know too!)

#2 Tweet your thoughts, linking either to this blog post or to the book directly!

Don’t forget to comment and let me know what you did so I can include you in the give-away!

#3 Skip the giveaway and buy the book for yourself!

16 thoughts on “Anything.

  1. Thank you for the post! I think the website was having some technical difficulties as I wasn’t able to post my “anything” on whatisyouranything.com. Regardless of the giveaway, I wanted to post here in order to just simply reflect on what you said… in an abbreviated way. 🙂

    I am a missionary living in Bogota, Colombia. I am 22 years old and I have a lot of these “losing” – type fears… too many to count. They are the kind of fears that never fail to grip my heart, as if squeezing all of the life out of me. I have spent many a quiet time reflecting on these fears, inevitably sobbing with the paralysis that comes with them. I am so afraid of losing my parents while living here. I am afraid of losing control of my future. I am afraid that the Lord will not call me back to the United States. I am afraid of sacrificing my dreams. I am afraid that the Lord will ask more of me than what I am able to give.

    More than anything, however, I am afraid of believing lies about my God. I am afraid that if I lose one of the things I am most afraid of losing, that I will no longer believe in my heart of hearts that He is good and that He loves me. I think I’ve already got a taste of that already, and I have hated every second of my sinful heart’s betrayal.

    I am in the process of reading David Platt’s “Radical Question” (the shortened version of “Radical”) for about the 10th time, trying to soak up as much truth as possible. I want to be free from the gripping fear that only comes with the idea of losing (fill in the blank). I want to experience true freedom in living for Christ above ALL else… believing with everything I have that He is GOOD and worth everything… everything I have and more.

    1. Hi everyone!

      My name is Amber McGinty and I am the web director at Shelton Interactive. We are working with Jennie on whatisyouranything.com and wanted to check in and make sure everyone who wants to share on the site is able to.

      We are getting a lot of great shares and everything appears (from our end) to be working well, but if you have trouble sharing, please email me at amber@sheltoninteractive.com and I’ll help you troubleshoot.

      One thing to note about the site is that in order to upload an image, you need to do this from your computer–phones and tablets do not have the ability to upload to the site. You can still check out the site from your phone or tablet, but sharing requires a computer.

      Really appreciate this excellent discussion and please let us know if we can help!

      Amber McGinty

  2. [posted on Jenny’s website] I am almost 28 years old and completely, utterly single. I never imagined my life going this way – in fact, I always dreamed of being a wife and mother, and thought for sure I’d be one of those girls who gets married right out of college. Yet, here I am, living with 3 other girls and reminded daily through facebook of just how many of my friends are now happily married (some with kids).
    I fear that if I trust God completely, that I won’t ever get the human affection and love I crave. I fear that He wants to teach me a “lesson” about depending on Him alone, and I am not sure I want to learn that lesson. I want to cut corners and procure my own happy ending for myself – I am afraid if I trust God, I may lose the opportunity to find someone to share my life with. BUT I do (theoretically) want to let God have control, and I know that if I can just learn to trust Him in this one area that He will prove faithful, even if the ending doesn’t turn out exactly like I’d planned.

  3. It’s stupid, esp. when I get it out in black and white (another reason to journal!) but I’m scared to give my dreams to God. Somehow I think His dreams aren’t as wonderful as mine.
    I’m an English teacher in Poland, and need so much to know/pray more about ‘anything.’

  4. I am also having trouble posting at whatisyouranything.com. What I was going to post was that I am afraid that my career plans are slipping out of my hands (or that God is yanking them out) and that things are just not going to work out career wise.

  5. I tend to focus on what I’m afraid I’ll never have: stability, a family of my own, a place to belong, intimacy, significance, a sense that I matter and am making a difference. After my brother’s death 5 months ago, I’m more aware of what I could lose and at times I find myself wondering who/what God will take from me next. I end up thinking that there is so much I desire that God hasn’t given me that he shouldn’t take the few things I do have.

    Yet at the same time, I know that none of these things (that I’m afraid to lose or I’m afraid I’ll never have) really satisfy the deep longings of my heart. I find myself crying out with David:”my soul thirsts for you, my flesh faints for you as in a dry and weary land where there is no water… My soul thirsts for God, for the living God, when shall I come and appear before God… I believe that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”

  6. This is a difficult one, I can’t beleive I’m putting it here on the net!
    The thing I am most afraid to give God is my heart….the things I feel in my heart for fear that they do not really matter to Him….after all He’s God and I’m not. That how I feel and what I think does not matter to Him

    1. I am most afraid of losing the need and hunger for Jesus. I fear those days when I wake up and I think I can do it all on my own, that the things of the world will suffice. Those are scary, dangerous days because I am not giving Jesus my whole heart, sometimes not even part.

  7. It is hard to know where to begin and I am not even sure this applies to the post but either way I will share my Anything.
    I think it is not really about what I am afraid of losing but what I am afraid will not be won for Christ. My husband was raised in the church and was a “good boy” until he went off to college.
    We started dating a few years ago and shortly after I came into a relationship with Christ for the first time and it had appeared that my husband had come back into a relationship with Christ. But as we got closer to the wedding warning signs and concerned friends began to voice their worries about his faith.
    I was too young in my faith and he and I were too entangled for me to see clearly. After the wedding, my relationship with Christ exploded exponentially. It quickly became apparent that my husband was not in-love with Christ, probably did not believe and thought Christianity was a bunch of rules and expectations that he could never live up to. This absolutely broke my heart.
    Anything. Oh God ANYTHING! For if you are in Christ you know the sweetness He brings to everything: every moment, every breath, every friendship, every day, and every word. Just to think about our heavenly Father brings joy into our lives, that goes beyond any happiness, any worldly fulfillment, or any earthly satisfaction. God, I would give ANYTHING if my husband could taste even one once of the joy and sweetness that I have tasted. Anything, that this precious life would come to know YOU, Father, through your Son; that he would not make it till the end apart from you.
    I wish and pray God strip me bare and take everything, that my husband would see the light. I pray that God would use me in ANY way he sees fit to help grow my husband. I am so afraid that he will be lost into the darkness, that his heart has grown hard and cold. I am afraid his soul will not be won for Christ. And I am sometimes afraid to give my husband over to God. What if He doesn’t give him the right scripture, the right song, or the right sermon? What if God wants to save him but his file got lost somewhere?
    But I know that there is nothing that I can do to save him, nothing I can do to bring him to Christ. I want to give him entirely up to the Lord. And from here where I stand I will offer him up and I will also offer up my own heart! Lord, ANYTHING!! EVERYTHING!! I will do anything for the glory of Your name and Your Kingdom. Lord, ANYTHING that Your will would be done!

  8. I desperately wanted to say something other than the one thing I know God is whispering for me to type out because it seems SO silly and has been a struggle for far too long. I struggle with giving God my future spouse and then trying to take back control again because it hurts to have him not around.

    Needless to say I would LOVE (and let’s be honest, probably hate it in the process) to have book. It’s time to hand over my anything.

    Tweeted here: https://twitter.com/#!/EmbracingErica/status/190846133449404416

    Thanks 🙂

  9. It is hard to know where to begin and I am not even sure this applies to the post but either way I will share my Anything.
    I think it is not really about what I am afraid of losing but what I am afraid will not be won for Christ. My husband was raised in the church and was a “good boy” until he went off to college.
    We started dating a few years ago and shortly after I came into a relationship with Christ for the first time and it had appeared that my husband had come back into a relationship with Christ. But as we got closer to the wedding warning signs and concerned friends began to voice their worries about his faith.
    I was too young in my faith and he and I were too entangled for me to see clearly. After the wedding, my relationship with Christ exploded exponentially. It quickly became apparent that my husband was not in-love with Christ, probably did not believe and thought Christianity was a bunch of rules and expectations that he could never live up to. This absolutely broke my heart.
    Anything. Oh God ANYTHING! For if you are in Christ you know the sweetness He brings to everything: every moment, every breath, every friendship, every day, and every word. Just to think about our heavenly Father brings joy into our lives, that goes beyond any happiness, any worldly fulfillment, or any earthly satisfaction. God, I would give ANYTHING if my husband could taste even one once of the joy and sweetness that I have tasted. Anything, that this precious life would come to know YOU, Father, through your Son; that he would not make it till the end apart from you.
    I wish and pray God strip me bare and take everything, that my husband would see the light. I pray that God would use me in ANY way he sees fit to help grow my husband. I am so afraid that he will be lost into the darkness, that his heart has grown hard and cold. I am afraid his soul will not be won for Christ. And I am sometimes afraid to give my husband over to God. What if He doesn’t give him the right scripture, the right song, or the right sermon? What if God wants to save him but his file got lost somewhere?
    But I know that there is nothing that I can do to save him, nothing I can do to bring him to Christ. I want to give him entirely up to the Lord. And from here where I stand I will offer him up and I will also offer up my own heart! Lord, ANYTHING!! EVERYTHING!! I will do anything for the glory of Your name and Your Kingdom. Lord, ANYTHING that Your will would be done!

  10. In this period I’m in the middle of some changings in my life. I experience Gods work within me and I really feel that He is molding me. It’s hard and super neccesary! It’s my deepest desire to walk with Jesus every day and to feel the gracious love and acceptations of the Father.. even so the joyous work of the Holy Spirit. These changings make me really happy and more thankfull than ever. But the more I experience God and realize that He is preparing me for life with/for Him, the more I see myself standing between God and me. It’s so hard to trust God always and not to trust myself or other people. Sometimes it feels like I have to work that hard to stay with God.. and when I act like that, it even brings me further of God. I know that when God works, He’s gonna finish it and will never drop it.. and I have to remember myself that I need Him every single second of every single day. I need Him to hold me close to Him, cause naturally I’ll walk away from Him.. I need Him in everything.. I need Him to hold myself back and not to go between Him and me.. what a gracious God He is..!

  11. In the past weeks I realised that I have been doing a lot of things in my effort especially where my career is concerned. Well its not going that great and as a child of God when times are tough I run to Him but now I have to give Him my dreams, my complete trust and I’m actually afraid because It feels like I am giving Him my all, like I’m going to have to rely on Him completely, like I wont be incontrol anymore and I dont know what that is like. May God help me to do that, give Him my all.

  12. I’m going to go ahead and skip the contest and just buy this book for myself ASAP! I just watched the video and am immediately convicted that I need to give up the dream and plan I’ve had for myself to be married and have a family by this point in my life. There is obviously nothing I can do to make it magically happen, and I’m afraid to give up the fear that it might never happen. I’m turning 30 this year and I’m afraid of hitting another decade knowing that it could end in the very same way – single and without a family. I need to give those fears up. I need to give my dream up. I need to just begin living a different dream and dreaming a new dream for my life that isn’t about me.

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