If you’ve been reading for a while, you may have heard me mention something called “The Ask.” The full post is here, but a quick synopsis of what the ask is: at the beginning of 2012, my church urged us to ask God for something big throughout the year. My ask was to be free of anxiety & worry. Today, I want to cover how that ask changed my life and reveal my ask for 2013.
When I was prompted to create an “ask” in 2012 – now over a year ago – I knew without a doubt what I needed to ask. My church urged us to pray about what we should ask for. The church provoked us with the question, “If you could ask God for anything, what would you ask of Him?” But it was already clear to me what my biggest problem was at the time: worry and anxiety. The concept of asking God to free me from what binds me was nothing new to me. Committing to pray about it over the course of a year was, though. I can honestly say that following through with this ask changed my life completely. Here’s why:
- It made me more prayerful. Before I made this ask, I was lacking in prayer about my biggest struggle – being worried about a lot and then becoming anxious because of it. This ask forced me to learn how to bring my worries to God on a daily basis, not just when it got “bad enough.”
- I learned a lot about myself. I was lead to some great Christian books about anxiety, worry, fear, and perfectionism that helped me unlock the truth about my personality. By understanding how I am made (to naturally want everything to be perfect, to be prone to worry), I can understand how to embrace the way I am (a perfectionist) and also tame the things I do not want. I learned what anxiety is and is not. I learned that worry is not a good habit to have and that it points to a lack of faith in Our Creator. I learned that surrendering worry, however hard it may be, is the most useful thing I can do for my well-being.
- I am following God’s plan for me. I didn’t really know it at the time, but He did. And He knew that this ask would take me from where I was a year ago to where I am now. The progress seemed slow at times, and sometimes seemed to regress too, but overall I have grown to know God in a more intimate way, relying on Him more.
- I became connected with others around me. Everything about the ask was very open in my church. All of my friends at church knew about my ask and could hold me accountable for it (and still do – thanks, friends!). Some of my friends also struggle with anxiety and worry, so I was able to relate with them and share what I was learning about it at the time. I also feel that my blog is another way I’ve connected with others about worry and anxiety. Blogging about it and choosing imperfection as the topic of my blog has also helped grow me as well.
By the end of 2012, was I free of all worry and anxiety? No, I wasn’t. I am not 100% carefree 100% of the time. And I accept that because I am human and flawed, perfection is not what I am capable of. But because I have relied on the Lord’s strength and gave Him my worries, fears, insecurity, and doubt – I am much more carefree much more of the time. Although I am not “free of worry and anxiety,” I consider my 2012 ask answered. The point of the ask was not necessarily to get it answered anyway. The point was to walk through something big with God, which is exactly what my ask lead me to do. The biggest thing I learned about faith and God this year was that God does not desire unattainable perfection for me. If I fail every day with the same mistakes and sins, He still loves me. He will still pursue me, speak into my life, and lead me where He wants me to go. He does not abandon. His love never fails. His mercy is new every single morning. With that said, I am still asking God for freedom in this area of my life. While this ask is not finished yet, I fully believe that He will carry it to completion.
A New Ask
This year, I was a little more unsure about what to ask for than I was last year. It didn’t take long for me to listen to God’s whisper in my life to know what He wanted me to do, though. This year, I am asking for a “grown-up” job (if you will). Side story: I graduated college last July, took some time off, and then got a retail “fun job” before the holiday’s. I still work at the retail job, but I am truly desiring a job that utilizes my degree and my talents. It was nice to take some time off after graduating, but I did little job searching and became discouraged quickly. My degree is in English Writing and I greatly desire to have a writing job. So my official specific ask is that the Lord would provide a part-time job for me, specifically in writing.
What lead me to ask this is actually that I am scared to death of this coming to fruition. When I searched for jobs after graduating, I became so discouraged and frustrated. The concept of having a full-time job scares me so much. When will I have time for x, y, and z? I wonder. Won’t I be exhausted? Ultimately, I am pretty fearful about this whole situation. But I know that the Lord would not lead me to ask something like this if He didn’t know I am capable of taking this on. I am asking specifically for a part-time job, though, because I already have a part-time job. So two part-time jobs + the blog = full-time to me!
I honestly can’t wait to see what God does with this in my life. I acknowledge that I am weak in this area and so I bring it to Him in hope for change and good. Hopefully, in months or a year from now, I can look back on this and see all my fear disappeared and all His glory in my life.
- Question for you: What one thing are you lacking? Acceptance, time, money, a job, a relationship? Would you dare to ask Him to provide that for you?