Earlier this year, I traveled to The Book Expo in New York where I met the folks from Red Lightning Books, an imprint of Indiana University Press. When I saw how cool their books are, I had an idea. Actually, it was more like a vision, a complete download from God of the kind of book I could write for them.
Breathlessly, I pitched my idea to the publisher: The book would be all about cast iron cookware, from the history of it to the care and use of it. I could even include a bunch of recipes that are easy and relatively healthy—with professional photographs, of course. And to make it even more fun, I could visit the Lodge Manufacturing Co in Tennessee and explain how they’ve made cast iron cookware since 1896.
The publisher loved the idea! (Yippee!)
Once the contract came through, though, I had a moment of truth: would I be able to tour the Lodge? While they host a public tour once a year, that isn’t until April, and my deadline is the end of this year. I could call and ask for a personal tour, but who am I? I’m not a big-time chef or retail giant. Would they even answer my request?
And how would I secure a professional photographer on a budget (not to mention cook all the food for the photographs!)?
And did I mention that I’m expecting our first child in November?!
Still, my vision for the book was so clear that I could only move in one direction: forward. So I said a few prayers, sent some emails, and made a few calls. Thankfully, God’s favor continued to go before me!
Not only were the folks at Lodge receptive to my request, but they gave me a lengthy tour of their new foundry and let me take photos for the book! I couldn’t have asked for a better experience, and I know my readers will appreciate all the fun info I can now share with them first-hand.
As for the photographs, I’ve had the pleasure of working with a wonderful family photographer with an eye for food photography. It’s been a joy getting to know her and her family, and the pictures have turned out great!
Get What You Want
I’ve prayed for a lot of things in my life, from “Lord, please help me get to work on time” to “Lord, please let me win the lottery!” While many prayers have come true, many have not. For those prayers that went unanswered—or for which God said “No”—I used to wonder if I just didn’t have enough faith. After all, didn’t Jesus say that we could move mountains with the faith of a mustard seed?
As my walk with God has matured, though, I’ve learned a secret: faith is only a part of the equation. There are actually two steps we need to take to get what we want out of life.
1) Want the right things.
“Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday” (Psalm 37:4-6 NAS).
My flesh wants to win the lottery so I can spend my days in leisure and isolation. God wants me to work for Him to expand His Kingdom.
My flesh wants to be able to do whatever it wants to do with impunity. God wants me to be disciplined and to work as if for Him, not unto man.
And therein lies the rub: God won’t give you something He doesn’t want to give you. If you’re praying for something that doesn’t align with His will, He’s not going to give in…no matter how much you beg or how much faith you have in His ability.
The key, then, is to want what God wants—and for that, you’ll need to surrender your earthly desires to Him. Only then He can place His desires in your heart and work to bring them about in your life.
So how will you know if a desire is from God? By “delight[ing] yourself in the Lord.” Spend time with Him and in His Word, learn to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, and become sensitive to the very mood of God. If that sounds like a tall order, it is. It requires discipline, discernment, and the expense of personal time (but trust me, it’s worth it).
2) Ask for what you want.
Remember the story of the blind man in Mark 10 who called out to Jesus, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”? How did Jesus respond? He asked the man, “What do you want Me to do for you?” Certainly Jesus knew what the man wanted! Not only was Jesus fully God, but it was clear that the man was blind; what else would he be begging for? And yet Jesus wanted the man to state out loud what he wanted:
“‘Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has made you well.’ Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road” (Mark 10: 51-52 NAS).
It’s not enough for us to know what God wants for us and to want it for ourselves. We must actively ask God to fulfill His will in our lives!
It takes an act of faith to pray for God’s will to be done, even if we’re certain we know what His will is. However, when we take that step of faith, we become partners with God as we help to bring about His will on earth. Not only is this a crucial step in getting everything we want out of life, it’s necessary for our ongoing spiritual development. For like the blind man in Mark 10, we’ll be compelled to follow Jesus wherever He goes.
What do you want?
What do you want…I mean really want? Do you want to publish a book of your own? Do you want live in another town or get married and have kids? Are you stressing over a budget that won’t stretch anymore?
The secret to getting what you want out of life really isn’t a secret at all; it’s clearly outlined in Scripture for you to read and understand. Start by making a list of your desires and determine which ones are of the flesh and which ones were put in your heart by God. If you’re not sure, spend time with God and in His Word until you have clarity. Then pray for all the things that God wants for your life, from the small (like a pay increase) to the ridiculous (a huge promotion).
Then enjoy a life in which your heart’s desires become your reality!
[Click to Tweet: If you want God to give you the desires of your heart, then make sure your desires come from God.]