April 28, 2012
Last night as I was reading, I came across a blog linked to a book called Anything by Jennie Allen. The basic thought is that if we believe in a God who freely gave His everything for us, then how can we hold "anything" back from Him. I haven't read the book, but the concept from what I read on the site is to simply pray the one word prayer to God, "anything."
Lord, I'll give you anything. I'll do anything.
What a challenge. There is a website link for the book (www.whatisyouranything.com) that asks for people to post what their "anything" is. I read a few stories ranging from people who struggle with comparisons, are praying for a spouse, needing direction, or facing physical moves away from home; to people who have lost a child or a loved one and struggle to let go and continue to believe God is good. I cried as I read the story of one pregnant mom who had previously had a miscarriage and was struggling with fear and worry that this might happen to the baby she now carries. I too have felt that pain. It is not easy to give that to Jesus.
What is it that you have trouble giving to Him? What might happen if you truly released your "anything" and gave it to God? What would the result be?
So I was convicted, by the concept, and by reading the testimonies of these people who were daring to pray this prayer and give God their all.
I took a deep breath, and I asked the Lord, "What is my anything? Is there anything in my heart that I have not given to You? Am I withholding anything? What is my "anything?" What do you want from me?"
There are times in my life where I've truly felt totally surrendered, withholding nothing. Honestly, when I first prayed, I felt the answer from heaven would be nothing. I thought, "I'm good here."
But, it was only minutes later when I felt the gentle thumbprint of the Lord pressing firmly down upon my heart, and I knew what my "anything" was.
Failure, more specifically, the fear of failure.
I can't say this is something new for me. My fear of failure goes back longer than I can remember. I can think of no reason or cause for it. No sad story from childhood or bad event in life to blame it on. It's just sort of always been around.
It drove me to achieve, even over-achieve (I won't bother to list the ways, though I could.) It drove me to be the best I could be. Wait, I hear you say. Those are good things, right?
Achievements are great. They make us feel successful and good about ourselves. We can gain a sense of value, even an identity from them, so what's the problem with that?
Here's the rub. God never meant for our sense of value or identity or even our success to be measured by what we have (or have not) achieved.
He means for our value, identity, sense of achievement, and our success to be tied up in one thing alone...Knowing Him.
In fact, Paul writes to us about this in Philippians.
Philippians 3:8-10 (ESV)
Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of KNOWING CHRIST JESUS my Lord. For His sake, I have suffered the loss of ALL THINGS and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law [what I've done or not done]but that which comes from faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith-that I may KNOW HIM and the power of His ressurection.
Paul tells us to count everything as loss for the worth of knowing Christ. For Him we are to suffer the loss of ALL THINGS and count them as rubbish to gain Him.
Which brings me back to my anything, that fear of failure.
This fear permeates so many areas of my life, but none so much as my fear of failing to be a good mother to my children. Motherhood is full of loads of successes and failures, not just over the lives of our children, but in a single day, sometimes in a single hour! At the end of the day, I just find myself hoping the victories outweigh the defeats; but, I don't think that God is in heaven watching my day and hoping that I measure up to some standard He has set for me to attain.
He just wants me to KNOW HIM. To TRUST HIM. To know and to trust that He is big enough to cover my failures with His precious blood poured out on the cross to cover all my sin and failures. To trust Him to cover my children and lead them to a relationship with Him.
The truth is that in the chasm of my failures, God's grace fills in the hole. He makes up for my weaknesses and deficits.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (ESV)
But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamaties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 11:30 (ESV)
If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
So I guess like Paul, let me boast in my weakness! Because when I feel like the biggest failure, when I am at my weakest moments, God's grace is filling the void, and His strength bares the weight that I cannot bear alone.
My achievements (or lack thereof) do not give me my value or identity. God showed my worth and value when He sent His son to die for me. Jesus gave His all, His very life for my sins, weaknesses, and yes, even my failures.
He freely gave His all, how can I hold back anything?
Fear of failure, as a mom, a wife, a missionary, a Christian, the list goes on and on (And I'm sure you have your own areas in which you struggle,) I think it's time for you to go.
1 John 4:18 (ESV)
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.
Please let your perfect love cast away this fear of failure in our lives. Your love is unchanging and constant (Micah 7:18, Lamentations 3:22.) Let our identity and value be in You and what You did on the cross and not on our own achievements. Our achievements don't make us great or worthy (or horrible or unworthy!) You stoop down to make us great!(2 Samuel 22:36, Psalm 18:35.)
Thank you that Your grace fills in the holes left by our failures. You cover us fully (Psalm 139:5.) You are strong when we are weak. In our weakest moments, may we remember Your strength is there for us, and takes over when we fail. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
Lord, may we give these things to You. Count them all as rubbish, in order to gain Christ and to KNOW HIM.
And now, may we press on to make You our own. (Philippians 3:12-13) Let us forget the fears and failures that lie behind and strain forward to what lies ahead...Your perfect love, Your all sufficient grace that is perfected in our every weakness.
In Jesus Name, Amen
Paul says in Philippians 3:15, "Let those who are mature think this way and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to You."
Perhaps in reading this, God may reveal to you that there is an "anything" in Your life that you have yet to give Him.
May I challenge you to give it to Him now. Pray, ask Him to reveal your "anything." Then pray for Him to give you the strength to let it go.
I know it may seem impossible. It may seem too big. I've been there. But, if you will make this step of faith, I know He will heal, deliver, and restore You. He will touch You. I know it because I KNOW HIM, and He wants YOU to KNOW HIM too. He will never leave you or forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5) His promises are true. (2 Corinthians 1:20) Even when we are faithless, He is faithful, He cannot deny Himself. (2 Timothy 2:13)
Beloved, You are HIS. He will take what you are holding and transform it into something beautiful.
Will you take the risk? Will you give Him your "anything?"
I would love to pray for you if this message is touching something in your life. You can share your "anything" in a comment below or send me a private message if you would like. You can be specific if you, but that is not necessary.
Pray for me too. We are all in this race together and surely can all benefit from prayer!