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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jennie Allen is the founder and visionary of IF:Gathering as well as the New York Times bestselling author of Get Out of Your Head, Made for This, Anything, and Nothing to Prove. A frequent speaker at national events and conferences, she is a passionate leader, following God's call on her life to catalyze a generation to live what they believe. Jennie earned a master's in biblical studies from Dallas Theological Seminary. She and her husband, Zac, have four children.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

RESTLESS

BECAUSE YOU WERE MADE FOR MORE

By JENNIE ALLEN

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2013 Jennie Allen
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8499-4706-3

Contents

PART 1: THE CALL...........................................................1. A Call to Dream.........................................................32. Tangled Threads.........................................................93. Die to Live.............................................................164. Permission to Dream.....................................................255. Uncertainties...........................................................326. Pleasing God............................................................447. A Parable...............................................................54PART 2: THE THREADS........................................................8. The Process.............................................................639. The Project.............................................................7210. The Immovable Fabric...................................................8011. The Starting Place.....................................................9012. Threads of Gifts.......................................................9813. Threads of Suffering...................................................10814. Threads of Places......................................................12015. Threads of People......................................................13016. Threads of Passions....................................................14217. The Tailor.............................................................15018. Your Threads...........................................................160PART 3: LIVING ON PURPOSE..................................................19. Untangling a Dream.....................................................16720. Shrinking Back.........................................................17721. When Women Dream.......................................................18622. Focused and Steady.....................................................19923. The End of Mundane.....................................................204How to Find God............................................................209Leaving Behind & Moving Forward............................................211Acknowledgments............................................................213Notes......................................................................217About the Author...........................................................221

CHAPTER 1

A CALL TO DREAM


As I stared at the ceiling, I saw the scrape marks. Right afterwe had moved into our first house, Zac, my husband, scrapedoff the popcorn-textured ceiling. You'd think that would be somethingyou'd never really notice—the ceiling—but it was somethingI stared at every afternoon. I stared as my newborn son slept. I hadnowhere to be. Nothing to do.

I would lie on my beige sofa and stare at the marks that hadbeen left in, trying to make something perfect of it. And in thequiet, surrounded by everything I thought I'd ever wanted, I feltthat everything I'd ever wanted was strangling me.

I loved my family, but in the process of making a family Ihad somehow lost myself. Passions were pushed aside, dreams hadtrickled away, and the needs of other people outside my familyhad escaped me. My entire former life had been shut down for theimmediate demands of one little person. I wondered if it was wrongto care about anything or anyone outside of these four walls. I wonderedif I would feel permission to dream again.

I didn't need to find a career or even a calling. I had one.Motherhood. What I needed was a sense of purpose. I felt restless.

Was this feeling pushing me toward something bigger, or cripplingme from loving the life I was given?

Maybe it was both.

Something in me still feels restless.

As we stare at the marks on the lives we have tried to makeperfect, we ache a little.

The word calling has always seemed to tease me, like a mysterioussecret containing the answer to my ridiculously restless spirit.We wonder if we are missing some mystical, great, noble purposethat was supposed to squeeze into the holes of our ordinary lives.

We feel numb.

We feel bored.

Let's assume that if we are breathing, then we have a purposefor being here. Every one of us with breath in our lungs still hassomething left to do.

I want to dream of what our purposes may be.

The conviction to write this book was born out of conversationswith many of you. Since I wrote the first book, Anything, the mostconsistent thing I have been asked is some version of this question:

"I am in. I am all surrendered to God. But now what? I don'tknow what he wants me to do."

Every single one of us is designed to fit into a unique space withunique offerings. God's will for every one of us will look different.There is a framework within the commandments of Scripture, andwithin it we are free to create lives reflecting God and his passionshere.

As I have wrestled with calling and purpose and dreaming thisyear, I have fallen deeply in love with the life of a man who surelylived restlessly in Scripture. Joseph's story, told throughout Genesis37–50, is the story of a life that at times felt wasted, and yet Godwas working in every moment that felt mundane and unfair anddark, moving all of the mess into his unique purpose and calling.

This is a book about God.

And this is a book about us and God. And this is a book aboutthe moment we close our eyes and see God. This is a book aboutfacing the God of the universe and answering to him about the lifeand resources he gives us while we are here.

And because I think we all want that moment to go well, this isa book about discovering ourselves and getting over ourselves all atthe same time. This is a book about being brave enough to imaginea better world, and how we may be used to make it that way. Thisis a book about changing the world and changing diapers. This isa book about fears and suffering and joy and gifts. This is a bookabout all that lies in our control and how nothing is in our control.This is a book about vision and obedience.

I feel a weight.

An indescribable burden.

A holy, God-given passion burning in my soul for you, for us,for our time here. Because I know we will blink and be togetherwith God forever and there is life to be lived here, in our generation,on this earth, with our breath.

So I humbly ask you, dream with me.

We will lay out the unique threads of our lives that feel random,potentially even tangling us up, but we will lay them out anddream about eternal purposes for seemingly mundane momentsand consider that it is possible to waste our lives.

And then let's not.

I'm not good with catchy titles. I just name projects based onhow I feel ... so here it is—here is what I feel, and I have a hunchI am not the only one:

Restless ... because you were made for more.

I believe this is from God, and I pray it will spark something inyou ... a vision, perhaps, of the unique reason God keeps issuingyou breath.

I am going to ask you to join me inwhat might be a very uncomfortable process:I want you to dare to believe thatGod has a vision for how you are to spendyour life. Because finding and accomplishing this vision is quitepossibly the greatest responsibility we have as a generation, secondonly to knowing and loving God.

I wish I could promise magical moments with angels scriptingvisions in the sky just for you. I wish I could promise that at theend of our time together, you would never feel empty, numb, orbored again. I can't. But if you go here with me—I think we willsee God move.

We have a call to dream.

The Old Testament described a day in the future about whichGod said:

I will pour out my Spirit on all people.Your sons and daughters will prophesy,your old men will dream dreams,your young men will see visions. (Joel 2:28)


God promised a day would come when his people would befilled with his own Spirit. And when they were full of God, Godhimself would give his people dreams and visions.

Dreams and visions.

This day has happened. The Holy Spirit flooded the earthat Pentecost, and immediately after, Peter reminded them of thepromise of that day:

No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

"In the last days, God says,I will pour out my Spirit on all people.Your sons and daughters will prophesy,your young men will see visions,your old men will dream dreams." (Acts 2:16–17)


We live in the last days. We are filled with the Spirit of God, andwe're living on this earth for relatively few days to accomplish the willand work and wonders of God. Why do we do this? So that "everyonewho calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Joel 2:32).

Our creative God has an infinite number of creative plans tomake himself known through us, his image bearers, so he sent hisSpirit to give unique visions to unique people to reach the world inunique and beautiful ways.

The Spirit of God has dreams for you.

And he has given you an abundance of gifts, resources, people,and vision to accomplish his dreams for you. If you do not feel thatway yet, you will.

What if?

What if the things you love to do collided with the plans Godhas laid out for you from before the foundations of the earth?

What if the random relationships and activities in your life allof a sudden had a focus and felt intentional and meaningful?

What if the things that have caused the most hurt in your lifebecame the birthplaces of your deepest passions?

What if you could get past your fears and insecurities andspend the rest of your life running your guts out after his purposesfor you?

The beige sofa upstairs is unthinkably dirty with the stains ofover a decade of beautiful messy life; my quiet, sleeping baby turnedinto four big kids; and my minutes are overflowing now, filled withit all. Life. But I still feel it sometimes ... a whisper of more. Notmore because what I am doing isn't important, but because I sorarely believe that it is.

May this be the place where your restless soul meets God, andwhere dirty, beige sofas become beautiful, and where no life or minuteor breath ever feels small again.

CHAPTER 2

TANGLED THREADS

I was unusually empty and didn't have the patience to give a funnyopening illustration to cut the tension. With scripted notes in myhand and fifty women staring at me, expecting a typical churchretreat in the middle-of-nowhere Texas, I paused. And in the spaceof that silence, I saw the same look in their eyes that I knew wasin mine.

What was I going to do—follow thescript? I sat in a room full of women whowere hurting, doubting, numb, tired,insecure; and their teacher was feelingall the same things. What was supposedto happen here?

I set down my notes.

I was struck with the idea that the lot of us may never be in thesame room again this side of heaven, and, overwhelmed with theneed I saw in front of me, I opened with these words:

"We have a little bit of time together—how about we just getafter it? How about we really deal with our sin and hurt? Howabout we fight to find God here? And then let's dream about howwe display God while we are on earth for a few years."

And I am almost certain everyone was looking at me, thinking,No, seriously girl, where's the funny story?

But then something happened. God's Spirit blew in and, withtheir eyes cutting across the room, hoping maybe it was safe enough,the women slowly let words fall out.

"I honestly don't care about God."

"I don't think God cares about me."

"I am afraid what people will think."

"I want a comfortable life."

"My spouse won't be on board."

"I think I will fail."

"I have nothing to give God."

"I don't think my life even matters this much."

Then, with all the mess of it pooling on the floor of our cabin,I looked around the room and saw a hint of something—a littlesparkle, possible hope in their eyes.

Maybe this isn't life, I thought. These thoughts can't be from God.

The worries that had consumed each person moments beforeall of a sudden looked miserably ridiculous staring back at them.The realization needed no words to help form it. We were faced witha simple, striking image: strong, resourced, rescued people, full ofGod, going through life completely shut down by lies and fear.

Could it be possible there is more to life than this?

We were all certain that there was, and with all the chains onthe floor, we could almost taste what we had been missing. Wewere about to remember what running with abandon felt like, whatpurpose felt like, what dreaming felt like, what freedom felt like.

Do you need to remember that there is more?

How to run freely?

What purpose feels like?

What freedom feels like?

Some of us have decorated our prison walls so beautifully thatwe have altogether forgotten we are sitting in a cell, wasting ourlives. We don't know there are chains that, though they no longerbind us, still seem to tangle us up. We sit and listen to talks or readbooks about God, and we wonder why nothing changes when weso desperately want it to.


WHERE S TORIES ARE BUILT

When I saw Batman Begins for the first time, I kept punching myhusband's arm because I was coming out of my skin. I was so moved,so inspired. (Batman Begins, in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy,is hands down one of the best films on planet Earth.) A youngBruce Wayne watches as his parents are shot and killed, and hespends the next decade of his life seeking revenge, wandering theworld as a restless, unsatisfied, lost soul and committing crimes.Bruce is insanely wealthy, trained, and gifted, but he has nothingto live for—no focus, no drive other than pain.

I picture his life as a bunch of loose threads: his pain, hiswealth, his potential, his training, his gifts, the fate of his cityblowing around in the wind as he tries to escape his pain. Theseare threads he wishes he could cut—they have no semblance oforder or purpose; they seem to be entangling him, certainly notempowering him.

I picture his life when I look into most people's eyes. They havea similar look to them—hungry, unsettled, slightly unsure. But youcan see in others only what you have tasted yourself.

Somewhere in the chaos of Batman's search, the threads of hislife begin to untangle and weave themselves into something new.Something potentially epic. Bruce can't escape the great pain andneed screaming all around him in his home city of Gotham, sodespite his reluctance and suffering, the threads of his life somehowbind together and equip him to meetthat great need. The need finds him.Ironically, his purpose is woven togetherwith the very threads that seemed toentangle him.

Out of Bruce Wayne's deepest tragedy,fear, and pain—Batman is born.

Every one of us has a version of this same story in us. Some ofyou are thinking, Yes, Jennie. I always think to myself, "Batman andI have so much in common."

For the rest of you, here is where all of our stories converge:

You have threads of life blowing around, possibly even stranglingyou—threads that are meant to bind together and becomeyour unique, God-given contribution to a world in great need. Andnot just for a world in need, but our souls were made to find theirhome in God with God's purposes for our life.


ACHING FOR PURPOSE

No unique purpose for your life will fill your soul. The only thingthat will fulfill and settle your soul is God himself.

I am writing while neck-deep in the midst of what some maythink is a great purpose. Zac and I are running hard toward Godand doing our best to complete the works he is putting in our pathfor us to do for him. We are doing our best to raise our kids to loveGod and not be little punks. Zac is leading a church full of peoplewho are hurting, and he spends most of his days looking people inthe eyes and listening to their needs. I am writing and speaking thethings God has given me to say. On some days, our threads seem tobe meshing into something useful. I have never felt more peace andmore joy, and yet life has never been more difficult.

Like today, for instance, I fight a deep desire to shut down thiswork, crawl back into bed, and live like this isn't important. I stillfeel restless. I struggle to keep pace withGod, and I still fight my sin.

That's how I feel today. Now let metell you what I know.

Our God is real.

Our God is coming.

Our God has plans for us.

Our lives are short.

We must get after it.

Because heaven is coming fast.

And what we are about to do here is urgent.

It's more urgent than we could ever imagine. We get to playlittle parts in the epic story of a God who put this whole universein motion with a word.


IF I FIND IN MYSELF A DESIRE WHICH NO EXPERIENCEIN THIS WORLD CAN SATISFY, THE MOST PROBABLEEXPLANATION IS THAT I WAS MADE FOR ANOTHER WORLD.

C. S. LEWIS

Figure out what it means to run after God. Throw off what isholding you back. Find and live your part in his story. That is whatwe are going to do here in this journey together. And if ten of usdo the work, it will all be worth it. Our generation could mark thisearth and stamp it with the brand of a God who we all decided wasworth it.

We tend to think that if we can land on our perfect purpose forour lives, we will finally be satisfied. Hear me: we have completeaccess to joy and purpose right now. Even with no grand vision fromGod, we have access to our Creator, and he is not hiding happinessfrom us. He gave it to us in the form of Christ. Everything we aregoing to talk about is just a response to our God. Our matteringdoesn't depend on a stellar performance. We matter because we arechildren of the living, breathing, reigning God of the universe. Wematter because we were bought with the blood of the Son of ourFather God. He set us in our spots and in our time. He numberedour days and counts our hair. And we matter because he says wematter. This isn't a book about you suddenly finding a secret wayto matter; it's about realizing you already matter, and therefore youcan deeply desire to make your few days here count in light of allthat is ahead for us as children of such a God.


* * *

I've wasted a lot of my life. I grew up with a sickening chase to winpeople's approval that I could not ever catch. And so I have givenmost of my life to the cause of being liked. God was never enoughfor me.

It's not a noble cause. It's embarrassing,and I am sorry, because you probably weredeeply hoping you picked up the book of asaint. You picked up the book of a sinner—likelya sinner worse than you. But chances areyou aren't noble either, and likely you have wasted your life on ...something.

But what if we just stop? What if we wake up? We are buildingmansions on sand when an enormous, steadfast, unmovable rocksits right beside us. This is why I will not put down my work andcrawl into bed today, and I will stay and speak these words to you.Because for years I ran after uncatchable wind and built homes onsand, until I finally noticed that wind never stops escaping us andsand never stops shifting.

After a childhood observing a God I didn't need, at seventeenyears old, I stood in front of three crosses at Kanakuk Kamp. Ilooked up at them and wondered at my own crimes, which hadalways seemed small until that moment. I looked at the crosses, andat the Jesus I had heard about all my life, and it occurred to me thatI hung him there. I did it with my heart that loved people morethan God—my heart that was black from building monuments tomy reputation. I was haunted by pride and self, captivated withit all, bound by invisible chains heavier than the ones this worldshames.
(Continues...)Excerpted from RESTLESS by JENNIE ALLEN. Copyright © 2013 Jennie Allen. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.


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Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ 0849947065
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Thomas Nelson (January 14, 2014)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 240 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 9780849947063
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0849947063
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 9.6 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.5 x 0.63 x 8.5 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.8 out of 5 stars 669 ratings

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Jennie Allen is an award- winning and bestselling author of Anything and Restless, as well as the Bible studies Stuck, Chase, and Restless. The founder and visionary for the IF: Gathering, she is a passionate leader following God’s call on her life to catalyze a generation of women to live what they believe. Jennie has a master’s in Biblical studies from Dallas Theological Seminary and lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, Zac and their four children.

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5
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