I’ve known Lisa Whittle for a few years now and we’ve done all sorts of crazy fun things together. I see her (and Mary DeMuth both) as writing mentors to me. Both are only a few years older than me so I feel like their little baby writing sister at times. I’m grateful for both of them and I’m excited that Lisa has just published a new book.
It’s about Soul Revival.
1) What led you to write I Want God?
I wrote I Want God at a time when I was really sick of my struggles, my fears, myself, basically – I call it the heartcry of the sick of me life. It was at a point of desperation and wanting to quit the ministry that my heart just cried out for God to consume me more than my life currently was and what started out as a blog post turned into an anthem for many of my readers who wanted God in that way, too. (That blog post, by the way, is included as a little bonus in the back of the book.) I remembered that the only way I’ve ever gotten better about anything in life is to focus on God harder, and that is really what I Want God was and is for me.
2) What’s different about I Want God, compared to the other books like it out there?
You know, there are so many great books out there. Truly. I think what makes I Want God so beneficial is that it is very bottom line, simple even, and tells the reader specifics rather than a lot of fluff they have to figure out. Maybe it’s because I’m basic and straight forward, but I just think people crave some core truth in a world where there is so much information out there it causes us to be on overload. I Want God is a book I still pick up for myself to see where I am off when I find myself in a place I don’t pursue God like I should.
3) Your book is filled with Scriptural truth. Can you share a favorite Scripture from the book and a unique perspective God gave you about it?
Wow. That’s tough. I love the passage in Haggai (1:3-6) that God gave me for the book because it shows how other things we chase have failed us…I love the Revelation passage in chapter 6 that shows us how to have a soul revival from Jesus’ own red letter words…I love John 1 where Jesus asks the question, “what do you want?” because I have realized it is maybe the most important question He ever asked. A favorite is the verse I share in the intro, Psalm 142:5, “Then I pray to you, O Lord. I say, “You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life.” It’s really my heart’s cry and my prayer for the readers of the book.
4) Who did you write your book for? Who can benefit from its message?
I wrote it for the person in a place of lack – starving, desperate, need-God-to-consume-them-more-than-what-is-currently-consuming-their-life. I wrote it for the person who lives in a place of plenty but it’s still not enough. I wrote it for the searcher and for the one on the spiritual roller coaster – wanting God one minute then not as much, the next. I wrote it for the spiritually dead – the believer who is stifled in their relationship with God and can’t figure out why.
5) What was your goal when you started writing I Want God? Was it achieved?
My goal for this book is that it would be a guide for years to come to help readers see where they are when they find themselves spiritually off course. I wanted it to convict, inspire, and most of all, help the reader remember their God. My biggest hope is that someone will read it and need to stop and put it down and get on their face before God. To hear that it has done those things for early readers means a great deal. One of those early readers, Jill, calls I Want God “a wrecking and a revival and a resurrection, all at once.”
6) What was the most personally meaningful thing to you in the book? How has God used it in your life?
Again, this is a tough one – it’s like asking me to pick between my kids when I love them all! ☺ God spoke to me so loudly in the writing of this book I actually mourned it when I was through. (Usually, I’m honestly just grateful to have met my book deadline!) I think chapter one will always hold a special place for me because it still convicts me just as powerfully everytime I read it. Several of the stories – the one of my tattoo is meaningful to me in a big way. But I probably cry the most when I read the beginning and end of chapter 6. Chapter 6 opens with a huge vulnerable story from me and ends with a story of my dear friend, Jennifer, who passed away. It reminds me that no matter what, God is Who I always want most.
7) What do you feel is the greatest obstacle people must overcome in order to make a deep desire for God a priority?
You know, that’s a good question. My first instinct is to say that everyone has different obstacles. For me, it is my desire for comfort. For others, it may be a desire to have people’s approval. So to a degree, we all have a different “issue” we face that most keeps us from God. But as I think about it, probably it can boiled down to a universal issue of self. Self is our greatest obstacle and most often keeps us from God.
8) What is your prayer for anyone who reads I Want God?
Absolutely, that God will use it to change them in some way. We have enough stirred believers, and that is a spiritual waste because it doesn’t have lasting impact. I pray that their prayer will become that of David’s in Psalm 142:5. That right in their living room, on the beach, wherever they read it, a soul revival will begin. I’m trusting God for that to happen!
9) What are some practical ways your readers can implement the principles found in I Want God?
I think daily choice is super important. So if they will first find out what they struggle with the most (I have questions in the back of each chapter to help them identify this for themselves.), go into every day with that awareness and just be honest about it, and then choose that day – each day – to do something that lessens that grip, I believe over time they will see change. And of course, prayer. I mean, prayer is everything, and that will always be the most important.
10) Is a soul revival really possible?
How does that happen? Yes. For sure it is. Jesus talks about this soul revival – which is really just a renewed passion for God, in Revelation 2, which I explain in the last chapter of the book. I believe all revival happens first in individual hearts. I believe it can happen in your office at work, carpool line, in the middle of Starbucks…that place where you know God is messing with you and you stop telling Him no and giving excuses and finally let Him. And yet I believe that a soul revival is ongoing. I don’t believe we have a quick moment, are stirred and then it’s over. Many believers swing from one high spiritual experience to another but never see their life change. The kind of soul revival I’m talking about is the one where be become aware of God again, our life is altered, we confess the places that need to change, and then we stay with God daily to see the revival fires continue to be fanned.