What Happens When You Say You’ll Do Anything?
Holy cow, it’s been two years since I released a new episode of this show!
Last time I signed off with “I can’t wait to talk to you next week,” but I had no idea what was about to happen.
You see, sometimes our plans don’t play out the way we think they will.
Let’s back up to December 2015, when I released YST063, Mission Creep. I recorded that episode in the basement studio of our old house on Covington Ridge in Auburn, Alabama. My plan for the next week was to release YST064, History Poems, but before I even got downstairs to record it something amazing happened.
To make a long story short, Lisa and I read a book called Anything by Jennie Allen, got a job offer we couldn’t refuse, moved from Alabama to Wyoming, and we’ve been on a bare-knuckle adventure ride with God ever since.
Shortly after we accepted the job offer, we packed up our stuff and my studio equipment made it into boxes that didn’t get unpacked for almost two years.
But, Beautiful Feet Studio is back, and it’s time to get after it for 2018!
The funny thing is, despite not having a new episode released in two years, people are still downloading this show over 100 times a day, and it’s been downloaded in 28 countries in the past two months. So, You Start Today is still resonating with folks.
That’s what motivated me to restart the podcast, the fact that people all over the world are still rallying to the You Start Today cry to get serious about real life change.
But remember: You can’t change your life until you change your mind. It’s not brain surgery, and I should know, but it’s pretty close.
In this episode, we’re going to take a hard look at what happens when you tell God you’ll do anything to find a better plan for your life. Lisa and I did, and our story is amazing.
Yours will be too, but you better get ready.
Because when you say, “I’ll do anything” to God, you never know where He’ll take you.
But when God calls you into something big, he doesn’t wait around for you.
He wants you to start today.
Welcome to You Start Today, the weekly podcast for real life change. If you’re ready to become healthier, feel better, and be happier in your mind, body, spirit, work and relationships, keep coming back every week. And every day, start today.
I’m Dr. Lee Warren, a brain surgeon slash writer who knows that life is harder than brain surgery. I’ve been on the ropes, but I’ve learned the secrets of not just surviving the war of life, but how to thrive. You can too, but you have to start today. You can get the show notes and more on my website at www.wleewarrenmd.com/064
You can’t change your life until you change your mind. Sometimes you need a brain surgeon to help you do that. Let’s go.
What Happens When You Promise God “Anything”
Well, it’s a new year. 2018 is here, and it’s fresh and awesome, brimming with possibilities.
But maybe it doesn’t feel so fresh to you. Maybe you woke up today wondering if anything will ever change for you. Maybe this year feels like all the rest and you’re trying to figure out your next move, or you’re starting to think there’s no reason to believe anything big can happen in your life.
But let me tell you something, my friend: it’s a new year, and no matter what the past has looked like for you, it CAN be different in the future.
How can I say that so confidently?
There are two main reasons:
1. A huge factor in how we approach our days is how we FEEL. When we feel bad, we have a negative outlook on things, and we’re much less likely to take chances, engage in new behaviors, and dream big. When we feel good, we’re more hopeful, more excited, more able to believe that positive changes are possible for us. AND, Neuroscience research is absolutely clear that the biggest determinant of how you feel is how you think. In other words, if we can change our thinking, we can change our emotional state, and in so doing, we can literally change what’s possible for our lives.
I’m not talking about “name it and claim it,” like some preachers talk about, and I’m not talking about this notion that you can make the universe give you success just by having a positive attitude.
I AM talking about the absolute fact, though, that when you change your thinking, you change your neurochemistry, your emotional state, your attitude, and your behavior, and THOSE changes will inevitably lead to more opportunity for you to change your life.
In other words, as your friend the brain surgeon says, you can’t change your life until you change your mind. This type of thing is essentially self-brain surgery.
Now before we go to the second reason I’m so sure that 2018 can be your best year ever, let me clear up one thing:
You might be a skeptic, or a non-believer, or a person who doesn’t really think much about spiritual things. That’s okay. In fact, several of my best friends think I’m a little nutty for being a Christian. But let me tell you why. If you want the long answer to why I’m a believer, go back to episode 24 of this podcast, www.wleewarrenmd.com/024, You Bet Your Life. The short answer is this: as a person who spends every day looking at the amazingly well-designed human nervous system, there is NO WAY it could be an accident. AND, I’ve seen way too many impossible things happen through prayer to doubt it any more. Check out my first book, A Peek Under the Hood: A Brain Surgeon Looks at Life for more on that.
The other reason I’m sure that 2018 can be different for you?
2. It’s a promise from God. That’s right. Jeremiah 29:11 says it plainly, that God has a plan for you, a plan to bless and not to harm you, a plan to give you hope and a future.
SO, let me tell you a story that’ll set the stage for you to believe that 2018 can be your best year ever.
Really, it’s all Lisa’s fault. Seriously, this all started because of a Bible study.
We’d figured out that we needed a new long-term plan. Since ObamaCare passed in 2010, it became increasingly obvious that the government intended to make it impossible for doctors to be in solo or small group practices. Just like Netflix made it impossible for your neighborhood video store to afford to stay in business, government regulation is making it unaffordable for small clinics to survive.
And so, even though our practice was busy and successful and even growing, we both knew that we couldn’t work 100 hours a week forever, and that our lives were way out of balance.
And we knew God wanted more from us than to work ourselves into old age too early.
Then, Lisa discovered a book, Anything: The prayer that unlocked my God and my soul by Jennie Allen.
Please read it; you’ll thank me later.
We read it, prayed through it, and tried to see what God had to say to us through it.
We realized what was wrong: we were working too much, listening too little, too busy to hear that God was telling us to slow down, pay attention, find balance, seek Him first.
It became crystal clear that we were not where God intended for us to be. Sure, we had achieved a high level of success in Auburn, but the cost was just too high. It was taking a toll on our family and our faith.
We realized we had been striving so hard to control our lives by working harder and harder, despite the signs that the new law and our local hospital’s leadership were not conducive to a solo practice neurosurgeon continuing to be highly successful. We were so far out of balance we didn’t know how to fix it.
And we kept coming back to the only thing that made sense, Jennie Allen’s words in the book Anything. Listen to this quote:
“We want to earn the feeling that we are okay. We want to climb ladders and have everyone tell us how proud they are and how much we deserve everything good, so we can nod and smile as we agree. If we are really extra bad, like the prostitute or the men just out of prison, grace is the best thing we’ve ever heard of. But for the good kids (meaning people who are trying hard to live a life like God wants), it feels a little different to think we may need God in a desperate way. When God gives us grace, he is also taking something from us. He takes our control. True grace threatens our control. But it gives something too. It gives something better.”
If you’ve read my book, No Place to Hide, you’ll know that I have a long history of struggling with trying to control everything. It’s funny how we have to learn the same lessons over and over, but by July 2015 Lisa and I both hit a wall of realizing that things were never going to be okay in Auburn, and that something had to change.
And so we took Jennie Allen’s advice, and we prayed, “God, we want to serve you, have our lives be about you. We’ll do anything you want. Anything.”
And then we waited for God to answer.
Boy, did He.
We felt like Abraham, when God said, “Go,” but didn’t say where. Abraham made the decision that he would obey, and he started walking.
That’s what we did. We told God yes. We said we’d do anything to please Him, live for Him, serve Him.
Then, when I was absolutely frustrated with our practice and the struggle against increasing regulation and a hospital that was never going to try to help make it better, Lisa reminded me of a letter we’d received from a physician recruiter asking if I had any interest in looking at jobs in other parts of the country.
I sent one email, “I’d be willing to move for the right opportunity.”
I also sent in my CV, the fancy doctor word for resume.
In 24 hours I had invitations to interview in over 30 hospitals literally from coast-to-coast, Maine to Florida, California to Washington state, Texas to North Dakota.
The first place we interviewed was Casper, Wyoming, and we immediately knew it was for us. We prayed hard about it, and then cancelled the rest of our trips.
Two years later, here we are in Wyoming. A new place, a new beginning, and the balance we’ve always known God wanted from and for us.
What would that look like in your life?
Wyoming has brought us new opportunities to minister, be ministered to, to serve and grow and help and learn.
Wyoming has been a promised land for us, a place where we’re set free from the prison of working harder to work harder, delivered from a never ending self-employed opportunity to spend all our waking hours trying to find more time to do even more.
We’ve been embraced and accepted here more than we ever imagined, we’re both involved in major leadership already- Lisa is on the board of the hospital’s charitable foundations and I was recently asked to join the hospital board of directors. My practice is very successful and we’ve made deep friendships here with people who are equally yoked with us.
We’re happier than ever, all because we said we’d do anything for Him.
When you feel like you don’t know what your life’s about, where you’re headed, why you’re working harder and finding less peace, maybe it’s time for you to start saying, “I’ll do anything you want God. Anything.”
Hear me, friend. We make our plans, we do our best, we strive and toil and work hard, but sometimes we can find ourselves in a situation where it’s just not working.
But I promise you, God has a plan for your life that’s BETTER than your plan.
Proverbs 19:21 says it like this: People can make all kinds of plans, but only the Lord’s plan will happen.
When you’re tired of working hard and not seeing the results you want, maybe it’s time to make a change.
Tell God you’ll do anything. Maybe He won’t move you two thousand miles. Maybe He will.
But I promise, if you ask Him, tell Him you’ll do anything, He’ll answer you.
He always does.
Start asking Him.
We did, and on this new year we’re in a new place, with a new life, a new start.
It can happen for you, I promise. Sometimes you just have to tell God you’ll do anything. Maybe that’s all he’s waiting for.
It’s a brand new year. What better time to make the change your heart’s telling you it needs? Even if you’re listening to this later, after New Years, why can’t today be the “New Day” you’ve been working so hard to create for your life and your family, your future?
Maybe it’s time for you to decide you’ll do anything to be where God wants you to be.
Listen: you can’t change your life until you change your mind. And sometimes in order to change your mind, you have to decide that your own plan might not be the BEST plan for your life.
Sometimes, you have to be willing to do anything. The answers don’t come, though, until you ask. The answers are in the asking, but you have to be ready for the answers. You have to be ready for anything.
You can do it, just like Lisa and I did. You can do anything, but you have to start today.
If you have a question or a comment, email me via firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember: Life isn’t brain surgery; it’s harder. It’s a war. But even though life is hard, God is faithful. You can have the life you were created to have, but sometimes you have to be willing to tell God you’ll do anything, and you have to start today.
Hey, a lot of people have been asking me how they can get signed copies of my book, No Place to Hide. Now you can. Go to www.wleewarrenmd.com and right there on the home page you can click on my books and order them from the site! Make sure to put how you want me to sign it in the notes before you check out!
And if you like my podcast, you’ll love my newsletter. Every Monday I give you my best prescriptions for a better, healthier, happier life, for free. Check it out and join the community at www.wleewarrenmd.com/newsletter.
I’m Dr. Lee Warren and you’ve been listening to YST. Be sure to subscribe via iTunes so you automatically get new episodes.
You can get the show notes to this episode and links to the books and other resources I mentioned at www.wleewarrenmd.com/064
I can’t wait to talk to you next week, but you start today.
Like the music at the end?
Blue Highway by Podington Bear, license courtesy of Creative Commons. http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Podington_Bear/Soul/Blue_Highway