1 Week “Ask & Seek” Challenge

Posted by on Jul 23, 2013 in Blog, Gary | 30 comments

Ask & Seek Challenge

“I not aware of any God-given desires or passions written on my heart. If I did, I don’t think I’d know what to do with them. What do I do?”

Several weeks ago, I did a live Q&A discussion with the Online Calling Course class on chapter 7 of It’s Your Call – Awakening Your Desires. Several people asked this question in various forms.

Though I offer various ways to interpret the voice of God and the voice of our heart in the book and course, God is the source, the revealer and the implementor of our calling.

So, I put out a challenge to the class that I want to challenge you with:

ASK and SEEK: For one week (starting today), ask God (each day) to reveal what He has created you to offer to the world – your glory, you splendor, your brilliance, your strength, your beauty…your effect.

For it is God who is producing in you both the desire and the ability to do what pleases him. (Phil. 2:13)

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. (Psalm 32:8)

WATCH / LISTEN: Then stay vigilant throughout the day for everything that captures or stirs you heart – things said to you or overheard, things you read, things you see, things that happened to or around you, “random” thoughts, etc.

He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. (Isaiah 50:4)

At any time in the next seven days, when God reveals something to you about the desires He has written on your heart, let us know through a comment on the blog which you can get to by click the GO button below.

Here are a few thoughts from It’s Your Call about God’s awakening and deepening process:

Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Ps. 37:4).

David’s expression, the desires of your heart, literally means “that which the deepest, truest part of you continually seeks or prays for.

Awake, awake, O Zion, clothe yourself with strength. Put on your garments of splendor [glory].(Isa. 52:1)

God’s call to His people has been, Wake up and walk in your glory. Wake up because most of us have deadened our desires. Not deadened as in they no longer exist, but rather as in the expression “he’s dead to the world,” as when someone is in a deep sleep, oblivious or unconscious to what’s going on.

You cannot kill your truest, deepest desires, for they are written into your very being – your heart – but you can sedate them. Therefore, there is a universal process that God takes us through with our desires in the development of our glory: He awakens desire, then He deepens desire, then He fulfills desire. So much about our lives makes sense when we understand this process and so much clearer the journey becomes.

Share with us what God has revealed to you comment in the comment box.


30 Responses to “1 Week “Ask & Seek” Challenge”

  1. John Hard says:

    First, I think this idea is brilliant. I can’t wait to dig in and see what God reveals this next week. Second, I just had a phone conversation with a friend/client and in the space of about 15 minutes saw something that made my heart come alive, but also something that actually deadened it some. So, I am going to start tracking both…what makes it come alive and what deadens it. I think that will be very revealing too.

    • John, I know that theses type of things happen to you all the time. I’ll be excited what further clarity you receive in the next 7 days.

    • John Hard says:

      I think our “week” officially ended yesterday, so here is a summary of my results.

      The first thing that struck me is how few times in one week my heart came alive. In all but one instance, connecting with another person was key. In that connection, it was being allowed into the other person’s story (whether on a deep or shallow level) that made me come alive. Once in their story, I wanted to give encouragement, guidance, warning, etc. It was “shepherding someone along the trail of their own journey.”

      What also became painfully clear was that I don’t engage with other people enough. There are things I need to do at work to allow this to happen more, plus, I need to more actively pursue my friendships.

      I also learned some new things about what to avoid. I found myself engaged in a conversation on a topic the other person was passionate about but that I had no interest in at all. It frustrated me to discuss something that had no significance to that person’s story, and to not be able to bring something of encouragement, guidance etc to the conversation.

      This has been a very good exercise to do. It’s something we should do several times a year, just to guard, protect, and understand our own hearts and calling.

  2. Gary,

    This is so timely! I have actually been walking this path for about 3 weeks. It started with an OUTSTANDING book by R.A. Torrey titled “The Holy Spirit Who He Is and What He Does”.

    It definitely plays into “Calling” however his explanation of how key the Holy Spirit is within your Calling and how the Spirit is quenched makes it a worthwhile read plus it sheds light into several facets the Holy Spirits continued enpowerment.

    Together the book and particular versus have been key to my walking in a straight path towards my Calling and trusting in God’s promises delivered through the Holy Spirit.

    • Great. I can’t wait to hear what the Holy Spirit reveals to you in the next 7 days.

      • Gary,

        Matt 7:11 and Luke 11:13 come to mind among other things.

        I’m hearing the following:

        You are a beloved not an aquaintance so act like it.

        Faith is in the promises not your feelings.

        Don’t just know my promises, embrace them!

        Expect if you seek me each day you will find me. Encourage others to do the same.

        Compare your desrire with mine and be flexible in acticipation of custom made plans for you.

  3. The verse in Philipians 2:13 always gives me such hope. I have this crazy crazy desire to pick up and move to Uganda for an extended period of time, to help our native friend who has an orphanage school, astonishing faith,and big,big dreams for so much more.I can be in a little village in Africa, bandaging wounds, helping with medical needs, holding babies,and I lose all track of time. I would do it at all hours..with no pay. I love it.It excites me to no end, and terrifies me to no end(I mean really,who WANTS to do that??) My husband is on board as well( me more than him)I have asked God,if this is not from Him, to take the desire. It looks impossible from a human standpoint, we are pinned down with some major debt, but then I remember..He who gives the desire,also will make a way…And that is just the beginning…

    • Ok, you’ve got me excited about this need / opportunity / ministry. Perhaps this week’s focus for you is for God to speak to the season for this dream/desire. I love your sentence: “He who gives the desire, also will make a way.”

      • Oh, thank you for that.I will focus on that!

        • Rosa:

          Get some of Dave Ramsey’s books and start getting out of debt today. When we are free from debt, more opportunities become open for us. My wife and I paid our last debt (except the house) in 2009. I often think about what opportunities we may have when we are also out of house debt.

          Going somewhere full time isn’t always the answer. What if you and your husband were able to work six months – make enough to live on – and spend six months in Uganda without needing a salary or support?

          God bless,

  4. Jason Reid says:

    So I asked God this morning what He wants me to offer the world. The word “Fierceness” came to mind. This is unnerving because I know this is in my DNA, but I don’t handle it well. I have never seen it as a good thing, rather something to kill.

    Out of the blue that’s what came to mind when I asked the question. Freaky.
    This makes me think there is a long road in front of me, not in a bad way, but in a rigorous way.

  5. What great inspiration! I feel fortunate in many ways because I have known and pursued my calling of music since I was 16 (over 30 years now). It has taken various forms and become varied over the years as I have tweaked and refined it with what the Lord was teaching me.

    I was a slave to sex for 35 years, from age 8 to age 43. I describe it this way, since I was a virgin until my wedding night and I have never cheated physically on my wife: “My 35 years as a monogamous sex addict.” I believe God has given me an idea for my 2nd book that will tell my story. My first book tells the story of my being molested as a child and how God brought me to forgive the man. I know that abuse probably had a big impact on why I became an addict.

    Why do I write that? Simply for this reason. The last three years – after gaining freedom from slavery to pornography, masturbation and impure thoughts with the Lord’s help – have been the three most productive in my life. I realize what a drain on my mental and spiritual resources that addiction was. There are other men in the same boat I was in. Get help today, especially as you go through this process of finding God’s calling.

  6. This morning I ran across this great blog:

    What if Being “Content” is Ruining Your Life?


    God may be up to something with me in this. I’ll continue to ask Him.

    • Gary,

      I read the blog. Wow, Good for her.

      I was struck by the clarity she had to identify the real desire beyond the want.

      For me personally it strikes a chord by listening for the desires God has planted within me that are new and being open to pursue where it leads.

      There is also a strong pull to follow the Spirit’s lead in relationship. This morning in my quiet time I read John 15:15. I am beginning to see how much more personal my relationship needs to be with the Holy Spirit no matter what direction my Calling takes.

  7. Mick Pitts says:

    I went to a job interview yesterday because I am desperate to incorporate my new found understanding of my calling into every aspect of my life. I took Gary’s advice and not only sought God’s leading, but listened to what my heart said along the way. Interestingly, my heart was pricked by three different things, but none had anything to do with the job opportunity itself. This is especially intriguing because the job opportunity would be a great and lucrative one in my field.

    I know I need to say no, if I am offered a position, and continue to seek an opportunity that aligns better with my calling. I have never had such clarity and focus in my life and am greatly encouraged by it. But, I must say, I am chomping at the bit to align my career with my calling!

  8. Just checking in with you about the Ask & Seek challenge. It’s Saturday morning…I’m taking some time alone with God…I’m realizing how little in-the-moment focus I’ve had with looking and listening for God in the last 3 days.

    This morning I went back through all the activities and conversations since Wednesday (when I sent this eLetter) asking God if he was saying something to me and analyzing my heart’s reactions. Now I’m asking God to confirm what has come to mind.

    So, hang in there. God will speak, reveal, uncover, stir! Stay alert and oriented…with me.

  9. I met with a recent acquaintance who is in vocational ministry. I was very stirred by his heart, his experiences and his confusion as to what God may be up to in the series of life-disruptions over the past several years. As we concluded our time, I told him how I desired to take this message of the heart and calling to others in vocational christian work, but have not found an open door. These words has an unusual weightiness to my own heart – so, I wonder if God may be resurfacing this desire because He wants me to either pursue it or prepare for it.

    I had a conversation with a friend who I’ve not seen for years. A brief part of our conversation touched on the struggle concerning a person’s calling within marriage. As we were talking, I thought about my own questions on this and how many times this has come up in other conversations. Once again, there was a weightiness to this particular part of our conversation with my heart – so, I wonder if God may be directing me think and communicate more intently on this.

    An opportunity (an offer) came up for Leigh and I to get away – just the two of us – for fun, friendship and beauty. My first thought was, it’s too soon, too far away and too expensive to get there. And then God spoke quietly in my heart: “Do you remember what we talked about several weeks ago when you went camping? Go play and I’ll provide the way. Enrich your hearts so that you have more to give to others.” (See my video blog on the right of this page: “Thoughts about summer, work and play”.) And then it occurred to me that we had enough frequently-flyer mileage for the tickets – so, Leigh and I leave for vacation in two weeks.

  10. Kathy Donnelly Tabasso says:

    Worried that I may be the “problem child” when it came to this asking and seeking I have had to break agreements that I had believed that God would not “show up” for me and show me my desires. While walking and talking this over with the Lord, I came upon a lone flower growing on a vine within a bush. This flower had been my favorite from when I was a child, a morning glory.

    This spoke to me deeply, giving me hope. It was like I heard God’s voice speaking to me with this flower.

    He was reminding me that I do have a glory, that I matter and that He sees me, that He will reveal to me more. I anticipate this “more” that I will hear from Him.

  11. Gary,

    I’ve seen you speak several times over the past decade. I purchased every one of your CD series. I bought your book – downloaded the guide. Printed it and bound it…took with me everywhere. Your message of calling deeply resonates with me. However, I’ve wavered between peace and frustration about not having “found it” yet. I just turned 50 – and have wrestled with it for years. The last four years of my professional life have certainly been the most challenging. On three different occasions, I came within one conversation or letter of resigning. Something told me to stay.

    I’ve been asking, seeking, and knocking intensely for the last two years. Then, I realized several factors have kept me from my calling. First, I was in a long season of emotional healing. I now realize that was key before I was ready to pursue a call. (That was the call at first – gain healing). Although we’re always healing – that season was important. Second, I’ve been told (and experienced) much opposition to my call. (I can truly relate to the diminishment and disqualification aspects. Third, I’m pretty dense. There’s been some very obvious indicators about who I am and what my call is – but I didn’t get the clue.

    I believe I know what it is now – and just need more courage to pursue it. I’m working on that.

    That said, I truly appreciate the consistency of your message. It seems that I read something of yours at just the right moment. Or, over a period of weeks, something will “drip” on me enough to soak in more.

    Thanks for this challenge and encouragement. It’s a rare message in a soupy sea of information in which we’re drowning ourselves. Thanks for embracing your calling.

    • Kirk,

      Well said.

      I can relate as I have taken time too for healing and forgiveness to soak in. What I hear from you resonates with me as I see the Holy Spirit bringing wholeness through events and circumstances in your life. I believe we will be more effective in our Calling as we are nourished, empowered and healed by the Holy Spirit.

  12. I work for myself and by myself- out of my home- in my basement! After sitting this morning, reviewing this week, I see how disconnected I am from my heart. Until I am together with our friends my husband and I are doing life with. We met last night. I once again came home filled. So I am asking now-help me to engage my heart more often. I am not an introvert, never have been. So no wonder being so secluded I am feeling lifeless. Feeding once a week is only survival. I want life!

  13. Today is both my birthday and our anniversary. It’s not an original idea. My dad got married on his birthday. So far, neither dad nor I have forgotten an anniversary.

    The celebration of the day this year coincides with the “Ask and Seek” exercise we’ve been invited into with The Noble Heart Ministry. The easy correlation to recognize is in the context of identity as I search out more deeply my sense of God’s defining of my glory, weightiness and calling – all of that in connection with what it is to think about the reason I was born and the life I have to live together with my wife.

    It’s been a fascinating experience trying to be specifically intentional about not only hearing God speak, but trying to receive what He would want me to hear from Him about how best to understand me. There’s just something intimidating about asking God to tell you what He really thinks about you. If I were to attempt a summary insight I’m taking away from this exercise, it would be that God’s context for speaking into my life is not judgment. It’s His deep, unchanging, abiding love.

    Here’s what I believe I’ve heard – it’s four specific, defining words: “Bob, you are brave, strong, humble and genuine. They weren’t spoken all at once, but over several days, and with each one I heard I didn’t know what to do with the information.

    In other words, the entire collection left me questioning God’s grasp of reality. With each word my immediate reaction was to say, “Really?!” I look back over my story and see the obvious examples of the opposite on all four counts. I’m finding myself asking Him if He’s intending to taunt me or something. Maybe it’s not really Him speaking. Or, maybe He’s just not paying very much attention to what my life has really been like. It all seemed like it could only be explained by one of those options…

    …that is until this morning.

    After coming to Father one more time and asking, seeking and knocking about these four words I thought I had heard, this explanation came: “Bob, it’s not that I haven’t been aware of your tendencies toward cowardly, weak, self-aggrandizing pretense, but you haven’t been aware of how that isn’t the true you. The real Bob had brave strength to offer in humbly genuine ways.” That’s when the dots started connecting and I wrote down the following thoughts as an August 1, 2013 journal entry:

    54/26 – two more years left of being single longer than I’ve been married. Today I turn 54 years old on the same day we celebrate our 26th wedding anniversary. In two more years it will reach the point of being an even 28 years of singleness and marriage. Maybe I’ll be about ready to handle the weight of my committed status by then. Maybe by then I’ll be as effective at loving her as I am at loving my own life. That may be the true clarifying test of the deepest kind of love – when you love someone more than life itself. I know this much today – if I’m called on to lay down my life for her, she’s got it coming. Let’s give it another year then and see where it takes us. I don’t want any life besides the one we share.

    So, what do You want me to see and hear and taste today of the abundant life You gave Your life to avail for me, her and all of us? What do You want us to see rightly / receive freely, in man-sized baskets full? (Michael Card clarifies that the Matthew 15 miraculous feeding references seven baskets full of bread pieces and the word used to describe those baskets also describes the one used to lower the man through the roof down to Jesus). Is there an abundance I’ve been denying You the opportunity to give?

    I don’t want to refuse You, Lord. I don’t want to blaspheme You by either turning down or failing to appreciate or simply ignoring the blessing You desire for us to have.

    Help me see more clearly and live more receptively. EnCOURAGE me and STRENGTHen me today. Show me more of Who You are so I can know who I am – so living out of that, I can live out that purpose, that glory, that calling for which You have designed and designated me.

    Let’s keep going guys. There’s life in us needed by those around us.


  14. Gary, I love your video blogs, books, and writings. Thank you for your heart. I have taken the “1 week of asking and seeking challenge” this past week, then came across this blog entry. My quick back story…I’ve been a lay worship leader in whatever church I’ve been a part of it since the late 90′s. This role intensified in the mid 2000′s, and, after hearing your ‘Calling’ cds I was convinced I needed to pursue being a worship pastor. That this was my calling.I loved playing guitar, singing, and most importantly, I loved the idea of pastoring a team of musicians and introducing the message I had learned from Ransomed Heart and from your writings and speaking. I actively searched for jobs in this field for 2+ years to no avail. Several times I got very close and was even convinced a few times that I would be offered a job but it never happened. Finally, I was asked to be the interim worship pastor at a church and I did this for 6 months. It was a beneficial time but also hard, as I was working another job part time and couldn’t devote my whole heart and attention to it. Again, I was hoping I would be hired as the full-time worship pastor but once again, I was not chosen. By the end of my time, I was glad it was over and I no longer wanted to be a worship pastor. We started attending new church and, since I still loved music and guitar I soon joined the worship team as a guitarist and back-up vocalist and also a substitute worship leader. Recently, our worship pastor resigned suddenly, and one of the first things that ran through my mind was, “Oh no, now the church is gong to ask me to fill in as the worship leader/pastor. I am stunned at my thoughts. I was convinced this was my calling and I really loved doing this 4 years ago. Now, whenever, I’m asked to lead my first thought is, “I don’t want to do that.” When I do lead, I get very positive affirmation from my wife but more importantly, from others who very much like when I lead and support my gifting in this area. I’m confused by these feelings.

    • I hope you don’t mind me jumping in on this… its just that I can so relate to your story.

      I led worship for years and loved it for much of it. I, too, had experiences at a couple of churches, in and out of ‘positions’. Looking back, I have to admit I put way too much emphasis on the ‘role’. Anyway, a few years ago, God began to lead me toward other things. I began to notice my desires shifting. I remember having a quiet time with Him taking a walk late at night. He spoke to me that soon He’d ask me to lay it down. Two months later He asked and I laid it all down. I can’t say at the time I fully knew why I’d have to lay down music and leading – I didn’t have anything pending on the side. Looking back, I see it was a time of growth, discovery and exploration. And, I’m SO glad I took the time. Since that day, I’ve seen myself “come alive” in ways I never could have in the shadow of my old “roles”.

      I understand your feelings of confusion. And I don’t know what God has in store for you, specifically. But I can tell you from experience, some really good things are coming your way.

      And, if you don’t mind me offering, here’s a few words of advice I’ll leave you with:

      Regarding your old “Worship Leader” Roles —
      — Don’t try to force yourself back into another role.
      — Resist the pressure to be what you’ve always been. (Others will unintentionally pressure you through well-meaning “encouragement”)
      — Play for fun. During this time, never pick up your guitar out of pressure or expectation.

      Handling the “in-between” time–
      — Give yourself space to explore. Its actually great fun. Like riding a roller coaster is fun as long as you know the tracks stretch in front of you. Let this be that for you — enjoy the ride because God is in front of you laying the tracks to your next assignment. It’s “OK” to not know what’s ahead.
      — Don’t turn back. (Which means don’t allow yourself to get sucked back into what feels comfortable and familiar unless “desire” drives you back.)
      — Take time (more time than you usually do) to pay attention to what stirs you. Become sensitive to what movies are ‘speaking’ to you.
      — Be patient with the “in between” (the “Mystery” as Gary puts it.) Give yourself grace to not know what the heck you’re doing.
      — Ask lots of questions and don’t try to answer them yourself.
      — Invite a small few to journey with you.

      And, lastly, if you’ve not been to a Calling Intensive or Exploration weekend — GO! You will NOT regret it!

      Ok… I’ve said enough.

      On the journey – one ‘worshiper’ to another,

      P.S. Are you part of base camp? I’d love to chat more with you and see how you’re doing. You can connect with me there (Mark Wager)

      • Mark, thanks sooo much for your reply. I’ve been away the past week or so and just now am getting back to this thread. I will pray and think over what you’ve written. I’ve already had well intentioned friends “encourage me” to jump on this opening at our church and go to the pastor and offer to be “the guy” until a full search is done.

        My desires toward this role of worship pastor have been rekindled somewhat, although not as strong as they were before. Thinking through this tonight, the prospect of being in charge and changing the way the church does worship, i.e., moving music to the back half of the service instead of the front “like we’ve always done it”, making some other creative changes…these seem to be what I’m drawn too right now.

        Funny, I’ve also been strongly considering forming a christian rock band for about a year but have pulled back for reasons I’m not really sure of. I’d love to chat more with you too. I’m not part of a base camp. I’d like to do a Calling weekend. Haven’t looked closely at the dates or costs, though. You can contact me through this website. http://www.truststory.org Thanks again, God bless you, and I hope we can chat again soon.


  15. Ok… I know this article has been up for a while… but I felt the need to join in (even late).

    I read about this challenge about 2 days into it. I liked the idea, but couldn’t wrap my mind around it quickly enough to get in right away. Still, it nagged at me and after some time passed (and when I could clear my heart, mind, and schedule enough to focus) I decided to join in.

    I spent the week doing just what the challenge suggested – (A) Ask God to reveal what He has created me to offer the world, and (B) watch and listen. Each day I logged words, thoughts, scenes, my surroundings, whatever stirred me and came to mind. Even though late, I am posting my journal entries here as Gary suggested.


    Day 1:
    My 1st thought is how opposed this is. My week has been a landslide. There must be something to this. There must be a glory the enemy does not want me to see!
    — I notice how I’m stirred by words… how they are put together… how they communicate a thought.
    — I notice how drawn I am to technology
    — I love helping people and making them feel included and heard. (I see this in my engagement as people have come to the house to visit.)
    — I tune in when I hear people talking about unique endeavors, discoveries, and when they talk about desires.
    — I easily get sucked into how stuff works (technology, nutrition, business, anything!)
    — We had a big wood cutting day and invited a bunch of people over for a BBQ after. I loved sitting around the group and listening to all the varied conversations.
    — In the evening, I happened upon the tail-end of “Far and Away” (a favorite movie). Two scenes really grab me.
    (1) I tuned in right when the main character “Joseph” is feeling hopeless and lost. He is on a train bound for another job… He lays in his bunk listening to the others laugh at the sight out the window — a wagon train of settlers headed for the Oklahoma Land Race. They laugh at the “dreamers”. Then all of a sudden clarity floods back into Joseph’s heart… he grabs his gear and jumps from the train. His mates yell out, “Where you goin’!?”. He answers, “I was on the wrong road!” (He joins the wagon train to OK.)
    (2) Then another scene moves me. Joseph arrives late to the land rush, just 1 day prior. He needs a horse, but only two are to be found – one a “green broke” horse and the other a “reliable” horse. The first is wild and energetic and full of life but scary. The second horse is placid, safe. He first chooses the safe horse, but just before the race, it dies of old age. So he returns for the green broke horse — its hard to handle, rears, won’t do what he wants, won’t go the way he wants to go, but it is FAST and he learns to ride it in all its wildness.
    There is something in these two scenes and the words that seem weighty and allegorical to me.

    Day 2:
    — Sunday AM news is on. The stories stir me about people who had always wanted to be something specific… Michael Bolton – Singer; Marisha Pessl – Author.
    — I’m engaged figuring a game plan of how to hunt an area for deer this season
    — Looking through loose notes tucked in my journal, notes about calling and heart and desire and walking with God. But I sense these were notes less about my own discovery and more about helping convey these ideas to others. There is a big part of my life that lives to ‘give it away’ to others.

    Day 3:
    — I read Morgan Synder’s blog about book recommendations. He says, “Indeed, they are lampposts, treasures and fuel I’ve found along the way.” There is something in these words that stir my heart. It is hopeful and adventurous.

    Day 4:
    — Feeling down today. I turned to a blogger I follow and a quote stirred me. I grabbed my notes and started to write. I wrote for myself… and I wrote also for someone who would one day read my words.
    Note to self: I must remember and believe — its good what I’m offering, not everyone will respond, not everyone even hears about it. But, don’t give up.

    Day 5:
    Work. I’ve been going to work all week as I’ve done this Ask/Seek Challenge. And only today has it dawned on me as to how “work” ties into all this. As a category, work seems “other”… like it doesn’t count in this. Weird that I would think this way. And suspicious that I only came to this realization today.

    I’m not sure what to make of it. Is it because work is so inline with my glory that I don’t even notice it? Or, is it something else?

    Work doesn’t feel “significant” in the big scheme of things. But, I do enjoy it. It’s creative, problem solving, technical, varied, and interesting — all inline with who I know I am. I’m not sure, but this realization seems significant.


    That’s it. I spent 5 days, focused. I was amazed at how such a subtle shift in my attention can reap such insights into my life.

    Thanks, Gary, for initiating this. I’m not sure what it all means yet, but I think having this in my journal (and in the front of my mind) will be of great effect.



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