christian books

"Restless" by Jennie Allen: 4 Quotes That Helped My Heart

Hey guys! Remember when I shared about One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp? Well, Shelton Interactive sent me another incredible book to read: "Restless" by Jennie Allen (affiliate link). They sent me the DVD based study kit which included the study guide, the leader's guide, a discussion card set, and the DVD. While I didn't do this study in a group setting, it was set up perfectly and I would totally recommend it. The ability to relate to the topic and the way Jennie has woven in scripture is just awesome!

Let's jump right in, shall we? Like the title states, I want to share 4 quotes that helped my heart. I know that kind of sounds cheesy, but I simply mean 4 quotes that stopped me in my tracks. Moments when I quickly highlighted every little bit of the sentence because they were that. good. See, I couldn't fit that in the title of this post now, could I?

"Restless" by Jennie Allen: 4 Quotes That Helped My Heart

I'm currently sitting in a recording studio in Nashville with Crystal Padilla Music and I think, "how did I even get here?" Please know I don't share this in a boastful way -- I'm just truly grateful that God has given me (us) this opportunity! As I went over the quotes I wanted to include in this post (I had a bagillion to narrow down), this one stuck out to me right now because as a little girl, I dreamed of being a musician. God put that desire in my heart at a young age when I would sing Mary Poppins at the top of my lungs. Am I making tons of money as a musician? No, but I'm experiencing and being a part of something so much bigger than me. God is all over it, and without Him, our ministry would cease to exist. What is your dream? Do you allow yourself to dream or have you suppressed those dreams? In the past few years, I feel myself suppressing my dreams because of responsibility, bills, and fulfilling the world's expectations of what my life should be. I shouldn't do that, though! God has placed these desires, dreams, and passions in my heart and there's a reason they are there. I have to respond.

"Restless" by Jennie Allen: 4 Quotes That Helped My Heart
This quote gave me chills. Read that again and let it sink in. My heart is His and if my motives are for His glory, I have the freedom to dream! Will all of those dreams come to be? Not necessarily, but He can do anything! A few pages later Jennie writes, "Two people can accomplish the same thing with different motives and one will please God and one won't." What is your motive or your "driving force?" If my motives are for my glory or for other people, I will only get so far and I'll end up completely unsatisfied. May my focus and motive always be for His glory.

"Restless" by Jennie Allen: 4 Quotes That Helped My Heart
I over-analyze everything, guys. It paralyzes me. Like I shared in last month's Uncertainty post, "The enemy will always use your uncertainty to distract you from what's important." Sometimes I just have to snap myself out of a funk and focus on the fact that God is God and I am not. I don't have to know all the answers and I don't have to know the future to know that God holds my future, and He has better plans that I do!

"Restless" by Jennie Allen: 4 Quotes That Helped My Heart
Are you feeling a sense of restlessness? Maybe it's there for a purpose! Maybe God is moving you towards more. We need to live worthy of the calling we have received (Ephesians 4:1-2). I love how Jennie says, "The stirrings of a revolution are in the works," (after all, my blog name is Revolutionaries for a reason), because I believe that God is calling this generation to be more and to become change. We are called to live awesome, epic, incredible lives and do awesome, epic, incredible things for His glory. What is He calling you to?

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Like I mentioned before, there are so many other quotes and scripture that I could reference, but it would make this blog post wayyyy too long. Give "Restless" a read and let me know what you think! 

What have you been reading lately?! Give me some ideas of what I should read next!


Share Your Story Sunday: One Thousand Gifts + a Giveaway!


Happy Sunday! Today Share Your Story Sunday will look a little different. I was contacted by Shelton Interactive to review the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I plan to do the review portion first, but I also want to share what the Lord taught me through this book. To top it all off, Shelton Interactive is offering to giveaway a copy of the book for you to read, too! So, let's dive right in!

Overall

I loved it! I was a bit nervous about reading the book because of some bad reviews. Yes, the main theme of the book is thanksgiving, but I don't believe that Ann believes it is the key to salvation. May I also say that I was discouraged by other believers that continually tear this woman down in reviews? Yikes!

I will also say that this may not be an "easy read" for some. While I adoreeeee Ann's poetic writing style, I had to re-read some things to kind of "get it." My writing heart loved her style, and I actually appreciated that I had to re-read some sentences-- it allowed her words to really sink in. And oh my, do they sink in, guys. 

As a whole, Ann talks about how she starts a journal and begins to list all of the gifts God has blessed her with. She gives thanks, eucharisteo, in the everyday.  Here are a few examples of her first ones:
1. Morning shadows across the old floors
2. Jam piled high on the toast
3. Cry of blue jay from high in the spruce (45)
Simple things that we often take for granted. Through the act of giving thanks, she challenges her readers to "live fully right where you are."

There are so many incredible topics that Ann touched base on, but here are 3 things that really pricked my soul (which, surprisingly, isn't completely focused on thanksgiving):

Perspective

One Thousand Gifts Quote Ann Voskamp

"Without God's Word as a lens, the world warps" (91). Many times my perspective is clouded by my will and what Satan tells me.  

“All God makes is good. Can it be that, that which seems to oppose the will of God actually is used of Him to accomplish the will of God? That which seems evil only seems so because of perspective, the way the eyes see the shadows. Above the clouds, light never stops shining” (88). If I don't see the world through God's Word and His heart, my very world will warp. My life will become one big mess and it would be a Bonnie pity-party every day and all day.

“Who would ever know the greater graces of comfort and perseverance, mercy and forgiveness, patience and courage, if no shadows fell over a life?” (90). Praise God for the shadows that have fallen over my life, for they have shaped me into who I am today and have strengthened my relationship with Christ. In the same way, when I'm faced with trials and temptations, may my perspective go to, "Lord, teach me something through this. You have a plan even in this." Therefore, I can give thanks in every circumstance (1Thessalonians 5:18) because I know He is in control and He has a plan to prosper (Jeremiah 29:11).

Seeking God

One Thousand Gifts Quote Ann Voskamp

"Every moment I live, I live bowed to something. And if I don't see God, I'll bow down before something else" (110). When I read this, I had to ask myself, "What do you bow down to?" Facebook/social media, TV, music, writing, and even... this blog. I have to shift my focus, and like a friend once said, "Who gets the glory?" If it's not Him, I shouldn't be doing it. I have to daily, intentionally, seek Him.

Another topic that Ann talked about is her anxiety and fear. This is another thing that I feel like I "bow down" to. Then, she hit me with this one: “If authentic, saving belief is the act of trusting, then to choose stress is an act of disbelief... atheism. Anything less than gratitude and trust is practical atheism” (148). Do I believe you're an atheist if you're stressed? No, but choosing stress is an act of disbelief in God and who He is. Do I grasp this entirely? Not. at. all. I'm constantly "stressed" and full of anxiety about life, bills, the every day crap-o-la that gets in the way. But I want to trust Him. I want to trust Him so much that people think I'm weird.

"If I deep trusted God in all the facets of my life, wouldn't that deep heal my anxiety, my self-condemnation, my soul holes? The fear is suffocating, terrorizing, and I want the remedy, and it is trust. Trust is everything" (149). Fear suffocates me. It keeps me from doing what I'm called to do, what I want to do, and who I want to be. I have to work on this, or I'll forever be paralyzed.

Humility

One Thousand Gifts Quote Ann Voskamp

"To receive God's gifts, to live exalted and joy filled, isn't a function of straining higher, harder, doing more, carrying long the burdens of the super-Pharisees or ultra-saints. Receiving God's gifts is a gentle, simple movement of moving lower" (171). In traveling to other countries and serving in music ministry, I've already had to learn humility. "HE must become greater, I must become less" (John 3:30). Why is it so hard to grasp that? If I would become less, He could do His thing and it would be so.much.better than anything I have to offer or could even imagine.

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I hope I haven't overwhelmed you with my thoughts! I really enjoyed reading this book and reflecting on everything that God "nudged" me about to say, "Hey, that means you too." He has unbelievable patience with me. With us.

I am so encouraged by Ann to continue to focus on what I'm thankful for and the many gifts that the Lord gives me. She's even created the One Thousand Gifts app that you can download (for free!) to document and share your own list of gifts.

If you would like to win a copy of One Thousand Gifts, enter through the rafflecopter below!

*Giveaway has ended*


Disclosure: I was given a free copy of One Thousand Gifts in exchange for this review. However, all opinions are my own. This post also includes an affiliate link through Dayspring.