Month: December 2022

180 – God’s Questions for You! with Guest Eva Marie Everson, Part 2

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God's Questions for You with Guest Eva Marie Everson on Write from the Deep Podcast with Karen Ball and Erin Taylor YoungOne of the best ways to develop a deeper and more intimate relationship with God is to go on the journey he invites us on—the path of questioning. Guest Eva Marie Everson shares how by exploring—and answering—the profound questions God has for us will change our lives and writing.

About Eva Marie Everson

Eva Marie Everson is the CEO of Word Weavers International, a CBA bestselling author of fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books, and multiple award-winning author and speaker. She is the director of Florida Christian Writers Conference and a frequent speaker at writers conferences and women’s events. Eva Marie and her husband make their home in Central Florida where they are owned by a cat named Vanessa.

Thanks to our sponsors on Patreon, we’re able to offer an edited transcript of the podcast!

Erin: Welcome, listeners, to the deep. We’re glad that you’re here with us in this Christmas season. We’re going to be continuing our very cool interview with Eva Marie Everson, and we’re just gonna jump right in. So come with us!  

Eva Marie: The question “Where did you come from and where are you going?” which was the Genesis 16 question to Hagar, took me weeks to answer. I would write a little bit, put my journal away, write a little bit, and put my journal away. 

Because when it comes to the “Where did you come from?” question, that’s an answer that you can start with, well, this is me: “I come from a small town along the low country of Georgia called Sylvania, right outside of Savannah.” And that could be my answer. 

But then I started looking into who my parents were, what my home life was like, my teachers at school, my Sunday school teachers. My friends, activities, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, all the people who poured into my life, who made me who I am, and who helped shape some of the decisions that I made along the way. Some of the choices that I made along the way, the good ones and the not so good ones, you know? 

It took me a long time to answer that and this is the conclusion I came to. Here I was like, you know, in my late fifties, early sixties at this point, and I was like, “My whole life I have flown by the seat of my pants. I never made a logical choice in my life.”

I didn’t realize that until I answered that question. Then here I am now with the “And where are you going?” part of the question. Well, now I know where I’m going. I’m going to sit down and make some logical decisions. That’s where I’m going. 

It truly changed the way I responded, or acted instead of reacted, to things. It changed my ability to make decisions, and to make decisions not just for the betterment of myself, but for the betterment of everybody around me, so that everyone else wasn’t getting caught up in my train wreck. That was a hard question to answer. 

Erin: It takes a lot of courage to wrestle with this. You know, you think of Jacob wrestling with God all night long. That’s the kind of wrestling that we’re talking about here. Wrestling to answer these things and to go into these questions. I think it’s so valuable. Just reading through some of the questions you have in the book, you can just see the potential. 

I love the question, “Who do you say I am?” If writers struggled and wrestled over that question, what a difference it would make in the peace they have on their journey. 

Eva Marie: That’s right. And on that story of Jacob wrestling, at the end of the wrestling, there was a question. God asked him a question. He said, “What is your name?”

Erin: Yes!

Eva Marie: Because at the beginning of this whole brouhaha, he passed himself off as Esau. “I am Esau.” Back when Isaac said, before he gave his blessing, “Who are you? Who is this?”

“I am Esau,” Jacob said.

Now, oh, this makes me cry every time I think about it. Now, God is saying, “What is your name?” 

And Jacob says, “I’m Jacob.” 

Erin: He admits to being the usurper. 

Eva Marie: Exactly. He admits it. “I’m the usurper. I’m the conman. I’m the scoundrel.”

And God says, “Yeah, you are, but I’m going to give you a new name. Israel. Because you wrestle with God and man, and you overcame.”

That’s so powerful. My eyes tear up, my nose clogs up because I just cannot imagine that moment with him. You know that when God said, “What is your name?” that Jacob surely thought, “Oooh… that’s what this is about.”

Erin: Yep. I like that. I like, too, when God says to Moses, “What is that in your hand?” That’s powerful because what does Moses have? He’s just been given this commission, to go tell Pharaoh to let the people go, and here’s what you got. You’ve got God. But also, you’ve got this staff.

Eva Marie: You’ve got a staff. But that was the tool of his trade, right? And he was going to shepherd these people. And that’s why I said that a pen is the tool of our trade. Or our keyboard. Are you willing to throw it down and pick it up in a new and different way? In a way that might be dangerous?

Erin: Yeah. 

Eva Marie: You know, pick up a snake by its tail, and it’s gonna bite you. 

Erin: Right?  

Eva Marie: But that’s what Moses was supposed to do. And if you do it in a way that you’ve never done it before, then God’s like, “Watch what I’m going to do with it. I’m going to bring it back to its original purpose and it’s going to be powerful. It’s going to lead people out of slavery.”

That’s what I want my pen to do. I want my pen, whether I’m writing fiction or nonfiction, to lead people out of the slavery of sin. That’s what I want. 

Karen: In response to these questions, the first reaction is fear. The enemy has got us so tied up in fear about exposing ourselves, about speaking the truth of who we are. About saying what we have, and fearing that what we have will be taken away.

We all need to go back and get solid in our minds the answer to “Who do you say that I am?” Because this God is not a God who’s trying to trick us. He’s not a God who’s trying to take away the best thing in our lives. He’s trying to give us the best, if we will let go of what is less than. 

Erin: Right. And the question, “Where is your faith?” We need to ask ourselves that. When we’ve got the God of the universe with us as he promises to be, how does our faith slide? Where does it go? These are questions that we need to be pondering. They need to be secure in our heart.

I love the way you’ve been talking, Eva, about that deeper intimacy and going deeper. The answers need to be deep in our hearts. The whole idea that God is asking us these things is so that can happen. 

Eva Marie: And about the time that you think you’ve answered the question, you realize there’s more. That’s why I love the journaling. It’s because I get to come back to it and come back to it and come back to it until I’ve just literally poured myself out.

Then there are times when, I don’t know, months could go by. Then all of a sudden something in that question from three months ago will rise up, and it will niggle at my heart, like there’s more to answer. There’s more to this, and I gotta go back to it, and that’s okay. 

Erin: Yeah. 

Karen: First time I did a prayer labyrinth, I was on a silent retreat. As I walked the path and was meditating and praying, it struck me so hard that I was far from the first person to walk this path. That I was walking in the footsteps of countless others who had come to the same place to walk and contemplate and pray and seek God. 

I thought of the history, the legacy, both of the prayer labyrinth, and of the family of faith. And that we never have to face these things alone. We have God, of course, but there are so many others that God puts in our path.

As I put my feet down with each of the changes in each of the angles and the turns, I thought, “People have been here before. People will come behind. I’m a part of something that draws us closer to God.”

Eva Marie: The thing about the prayer labyrinth is you do have to watch your feet. Otherwise, you’re gonna go off course. Then I think about the verse that says, “Your word is a light unto my path and a lamp unto my feet.” But it’s only right where I’m walking. Only right where I’m stepping. I can’t look beyond right where I am. I’ve gotta be in that moment, and that’s what’s so beautiful about a prayer labyrinth. 

Erin: Yeah, and I think the silence. We touched on that a little bit before, but it’s so hard to come by. Not just is it hard to come by, but I think our culture is becoming more and more afraid of silence. For some it’s, “Well, I don’t wanna hear what I’m gonna hear when I’m silent.” 

For others, noise is just the constant in their lives. It’s a distraction. But I feel like it’s almost become the great numbing drug, this constant noise.

So I really like the idea of having that focused silence where you’re not getting input from your phone or news or whatever. You’re specifically focusing on just getting input from God and that’s all. I think that’s a real challenge for us. 

Eva Marie: I say in the book to take your phone and turn it to silent and then put it in another room. Get away from the darn thing because you will inevitably go, when your brain starts thinking about something, “Huh, I wonder where that is…” And now I’m over here checking. 

Karen: Take it off of vibrate, too. Don’t let it vibrate because you still hear that. 

Eva Marie: It could be someone who needs me!

Erin: It’s just a testimony to how our brains really are being rewired by things like the Internet and social media. All kinds of things like that where our brains are expecting that constant new thing to stimulate us. That’s a difficulty we need to overcome. 

I think you’re right, Eva, that literally putting the phone in another room on silent is a good call. Or going outside. We will actually feel discomfort with being away from our phone because we’re so used to being so connected to it. I know Karen had to go without Internet for a while at her house, and that must have been terrible.

Karen: It was brutal.   

Eva Marie: Yeah, we experienced that during Hurricane Ian. I live here in Florida. I picked my fifteen-year-old grandson up from school, maybe a week after Ian, and I asked him, “How did you guys do? That was a pretty intense storm.”

He said, “We didn’t lose electricity, but we lost Internet.”

I said, “Oh, I didn’t realize you lost Internet.” 

He said, “Oh my gosh, I thought I was gonna lose my mind.” 

Erin: Yeah. It’s just that we’re trained. 

As we’re starting to run out of time here, Eva, do you have some final words of wisdom or encouragement that you want to give writers, especially as we’re pretty much in the Christmas season?

Eva Marie: Not a single word.

Karen: Okay, then thanks! Good having you here. 

Eva Marie: Words. I need a word. I just posted this picture of a Shakespearean-era writer with his quill, and you can tell he’s just so intense. I wrote, “What caption would you put under this?”

My caption was, “Word! Half my kingdom for a word!” 

We’re going into the Christmas season and one of the nice things for those of us who are writers not just, you know, for a hobby but are professional writers, is that this is kind of the season where everything slows down and it’s nice. It’s nice to get away from the frenzy of it all and just to take some time and be quiet and reflect.

That’s what the whole Advent calendar is about. To think about who came. It was the Word. The Word came. And the Word was God and the Word was with God. I love that because it’s all about the spoken Word and then the written Word. 

Just take some time to breathe and not get caught up in the frenzy. Take some time to be silent. Take some time to ponder the questions that God asked. Not just in the Bible, but the questions he’s speaking to your heart during this time as to why he came. And the beautiful way he came. And who he wants to be in your life. 

The question that I’m working on right now, and have been working on for a little over a week, actually comes from the Easter story. It was when Jesus was in the garden, and the Roman soldiers and the temple guards came with Judas into the garden of Gethsemene. Jesus asked them this question, “Who is it that you seek?”

They said, “Jesus, the Nazarene.”

Now, most of our translations say that Jesus said, “I am He.” 

But the original transcript says, “I Am.” 

And they fell. They stumbled back and fell on the ground because he had just declared the holy name of God: I Am. 

Erin: Right. 

Eva Marie: When they stood up, Jesus asked them again, “Who is it that you seek?”

They said it again, “Jesus, the Nazarene.”

He said, “I told you, I Am.” In other words, why are you still looking? But the question led me to who I Am is, and who do I want I Am to be in my life. Am I just seeking all that I Am can give to me? That part of the I Am? I Am, the Creator? I Am, the all sufficient one. I Am, the all-encompassing one. I Am, the all-giving one. Is that what I want?

Or do I want more of what Paul said? I want to know Christ and I want to know his sufferings. I want to know the power of his resurrection, but I want to know his sufferings and be like him in his death. So what part of God am I seeking? Is it just the easy part or is it the hard part? 

And then look at what came on that first Christmas morning, or as we celebrate it, that morning of his birth. Who came? What came? What are you seeking? Just like the shepherd. The little drummer boy. 

Who is it that you seek? That’s a good question. It’s a hard question. 

Karen: It is. Well, I hope that everybody who’s listening, I hope that all of us, even the three of us here will take all of this to heart and to seek within ourselves, “Who is the I Am to me ? How do I know him better? How do I come into a place where I accept all of who he is and not just the parts that are easy?”

Thank you, Eva. It’s been wonderful.

Eva Marie: Thank you. 

What are the most powerful questions God has for you? Join guest @EversonAuthor as she shares the deep questions that will change your life and writing journey. #amwriting #christianwriter Share on X
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

Who is the I Am to you?

BOOK BY EVA MARIE EVERSON

The Third Path: Finding Intimacy with God on the Path of Questioning by Eva Marie Everson

The Third Path Finding Intimacy With God on the Path of Questioning by Eva Marie Everson

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179 – God’s Questions for You! with Guest Eva Marie Everson, Part 1

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God's Questions for You with Guest Eva Marie Everson on Write from the Deep Podcast with Karen Ball and Erin Taylor YoungWe often talk about the questions we have for God, but do you realize God has questions for you? Questions that will rock your faith and world. Questions that will draw you into a more intimate relationship with the God of the universe. Join us and Guest Eva Marie Everson, who discovered this amazing journey of questions as she researched prayer labyrinths. God is inviting you to walk the path of questioning with him, and you’ll never be the same…

About Eva Marie Everson

Eva Marie Everson is the CEO of Word Weavers International, a CBA bestselling author of fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books, and multiple award-winning author and speaker. She is the director of Florida Christian Writers Conference and a frequent speaker at writers conferences and women’s events. Eva Marie and her husband make their home in Central Florida where they are owned by a cat named Vanessa.

Thanks to our sponsors on Patreon, we’re able to offer an edited transcript of the podcast!

Karen: Hey, guys, welcome to the deep today. We’re just delighted to have you here because we have a guest: Eva Marie Anderson. We’re so happy to have you here, Eva!

Erin: I get to introduce her! Eva Marie Everson is a CBA bestselling and multiple award-winning author and speaker, and she’s got stuff like being a Christie Award finalist, a Silver Medallion winner, a Carol, several Maggies, Golden Scroll Awards. The list goes on and on. Inspirational retailer’s choice, on and on, you guys. 

She also is one of the original five Word Weavers members, which began way back in 1997. Now she’s the CEO of Word Weavers International, and that serves writers primarily as a national and international group of critique and educational chapters.

Eva Marie also serves as director of the Florida Christian Writers Conference, which I know you’ve heard us talking about before. In 2022, Eva Marie was awarded the Yvonne Layman Legacy Award and the AWSA Lifetime Achievement Award. She is a graduate of Andersonville Theological Seminary and the Tzemach Institute, and we are just delighted to have her with us today. Welcome, welcome, Eva!

Eva: Thank you, thank you!  

Erin: Of course we’re going to start with our favorite question. What does the deep mean to you, Eva? 

Eva: Hmm. I’m so glad you asked me that. One of my favorite Scriptures, and I think this answers the question, one of my favorite Scriptures comes from Philippians when Paul said, “I want to know Christ.” Then he goes on into this explanation. He says, “Yes, to know the power of his resurrection. And to participate in his sufferings…” And then he says, “Becoming like him in his death.” 

For me, that is so multilayered, but that is about going deeper and deeper and deeper into your relationship and in love with Christ. When you want to know everything about him, not just the good stuff, you know, the power of his resurrection. That’s good, we like the power. But then also to participate in the sufferings and to be like him in his death. That’s getting down to the nitty gritty, and for me, that’s going deep. 

Erin: Yeah. 

Karen: Amen. 

Erin: What you said made me think of Philippians 1:29, “So it’s been granted to you, Philippians, to not only suffer for him…” You know, it’s like, this is a privilege. You get to suffer. Not only do you get to know him, but you get to suffer with him. And what was your verse reference? 

Eva: Philippians 3:10. 

Erin: I love it. Very cool. All right, so here’s the thing, you guys. I have been reading this book called The Third Path: Finding intimacy with God on the Path of Questioning, and it just so happens to be written by our favorite award-winning author here that we’re talking to.

I have really been enjoying this book because it talks about finding intimacy with God. Here we are in December, thinking about Emmanuel, thinking about God with us. That’s all about intimacy and all about relationship. 

I think this is just such an interesting book, and we’re going to talk talk more about it, but let’s just start here at the very beginning. This book is talking about prayer labyrinths. Explain to our listeners what in the world a prayer labyrinth is and why are you interested in them? 

Eva: Why am I so interested? Well, one of the things that I read some time ago was that a labyrinth is a path with a purpose, and I thought that was really cool. You know, it’s different than a maze. A maze is designed to confound and confuse you. You take a path in and then all of a sudden there’s a wall and you’ve got to turn around and go back and figure out which way to go to get to the center. But not with a labyrinth. It’s a clear path.

It is a curved path, but it is a straight path, if that makes any sense. It’s leading you straight into the center and then right back out again. I say straight, not really literally straight, but there are no barriers. You don’t have to concentrate on, “Uh oh, did I just make a wrong turn there?”

There are no wrong turns. There are just curves. It keeps curving into the center and then curving back out. But how I got interested in prayer labyrinths, it happened I think maybe in 2016 or 2017. Somewhere in there I was at the Blue Lake Christian Writers Retreat in Andalusia, Alabama. It’s held in a Methodist camp that is rustic, to say the least. They have indoor plumbing, but… 

Erin: That’s good!

Eva: Of course my idea of roughing it is sleeping on the sofa at The Ritz. But it’s just, you know, very plain, ordinary. You walk in, here’s your room. It’s got a bed, it’s got a desk. It’s got, I don’t think any dresser or anything. It has an open closet and a tiny little bathroom with a shower stall and that’s it.

It’s cement block. It’s just very plain and ordinary, so there wasn’t anything about it that stood out to me. And I noticed while I was there at this conference, spending very little time in my room, I noticed that there was a folded eight and a half by eleven sheet of paper on the desk. Didn’t pay any attention to what it was, not at all.

At the end of the conference, I’d packed my bags and was rolling them out of the door, and I looked behind me to make sure I hadn’t left anything. 

Erin: Good plan.

Eva: I see that piece of paper and the Holy Spirit said, “Pick it up.” 

I mean, I heard it as clearly as I hear myself speaking right now. “Pick it up. Take it home.”

I didn’t know what it was, but okay, I picked it up and brought it home. About three days later, I was emptying out my purse and I found that piece of paper. Apparently, it was about a prayer labyrinth that was at the conference center. One that I didn’t know anything about simply because I hadn’t taken the time to look at the piece of paper.

But this particular prayer labyrinth had four paths. My first thought was, “Well, I’ve heard of prayer labyrinths but I don’t really know what they are.”

When I don’t know what something is, I’m a research hound. I love to research. So I began to look them up. I grabbed my journal and a pen and started writing what prayer labyrinths are and really how far back they go.

In fact, I’ve had several people say to me, “Aren’t they very new age?”

No, actually they’re very old age. They go way, way back to the earliest mothers and fathers of our faith. They were designed to not just center you, but to recenter you. To give you that moment of just concentrating on walking the path and being specific about what you’re thinking about and meditating on as you’re heading toward the center. 

So this particular labyrinth had four paths. The first was the path of silence, which is very important and not something that is easily grasped in our day and time. The second path, as we’re circling around toward the center, was the path of memory. The third path in this particular labyrinth was the path of prayer, followed by the path of questioning. 

Again, as I kept researching this and journaling what I was researching, I did enormous research into silence. Then, you know, kind of figured out what the path of memory is, just kind of when you’re talking about, like, “This is what’s going on in my world, God…” And then for the path of prayer, “These are the things that I need to chat with you about.”

I felt that, I hate to say this, but I felt they did it wrong. 

Erin: All those ancient people, they messed up…

Eva: The prayer should always be the last thing. I felt that the questioning should come third. So I did a little flip flop on that. I just assumed, and I wrote in my journal, well, I’m assuming this is questions that I have for God. 

Now I had at that time three questions for God that I don’t believe will ever be answered this side of glory. My number one question, just to give you an example of what I’m talking about, is, “Why me?”

Erin: Yeah. 

Eva: “Why did you love me so much that you pursued me?” I was a mess. I didn’t deserve to have him die for me. Which leads me to the second question, “Why did it have to be so violent? Why did it have to be so horrific? Why couldn’t you just have eaten a bad apple or something? Why did it have to be under this Roman persecution and be a Roman crucifixion?”

It was just so brutal. I’m just in awe that God would do that for us. That he would pursue that. First of all, that he would send his Son to die in that brutal way. But then secondly, that having done that, as if that’s not enough, he pursues us relentlessly. That he pursued me, as big a mess as I was, just will always be a question. It’s gonna be hard for me to understand my own value in his eyes.

There was one other question that’s just really maybe too intimate for me to go into. But I wanted a prayer labyrinth after all that research. I wanted my own labyrinth. But, I live in Florida and I live in a part of Florida where we have zero property line, so there is nowhere to build a labyrinth.

Now, I actually live up against a conservation area, so technically I’m thinking that, well, my husband could probably go out there and design a prayer labyrinth in the backyard. But we also have alligators, snakes, and so on. 

Erin: You do not want to meet an alligator along the path of questioning!

Karen: Well, those are things to contemplate as you’re walking. “Why, Lord, did you create alligators?” 

Eva: Right? It’s like, don’t let your small animals out the back door, kind of thing. You’ve got fox and bear and other animals. So I’m thinking, “No. No on this.” Because the last thing I want is to be walking and meditating with the Lord and have a black racer slither across my my path. That would not be good. 

Then I thought, “Hmm, we live in a cul-de-sac and there’s a tree in the middle of the cul-de-sac, and I could just walk around the tree a couple of times per path.”

But then I pictured my neighbors calling the authorities.

Karen: “She’s lost her mind…” 

Eva: “She’s just walking in a circle and every so often her mouth moves…”

Karen: “I think it’s witchcraft…”

Eva: “Send the men with the white jacket…”

Then I just continued writing and I thought, “While I’m writing this, why can’t I journal the labyrinth? Why can’t I sit down every day, and have my time of silence, grab a Scripture and meditate on that. And then my path of memory is kind of like, ‘This is what’s going on inside me today. This is what’s happening, this is how I feel about it, God.'”

Then I can go into the path of questioning, and I’ll write my three questions down for the Lord, and then move on to prayer. 

Well, we got to day two of this, and I was very excited until I got to the path of questioning. I thought, “This is going to be very monotonous because these are not going to be answered this side of glory. I’m not going to sit here and write the questions every day. I’m just going to end up going, “Ditto.” You know, like, “You know what they are…” and just leave it at that. 

But as I was writing all of this, I heard the Holy Spirit again speak to my heart and say, “Not your questions. My questions.”

I wrote, “What questions do you have? You’re omniscient. You’re all knowing. What questions could you possibly ask?”

Then I heard the answers. “Where are you? What is this thing you have done? Where did you come from and where are you going? What you want? What do you want me to do for you? Where is your faith? Why were you afraid?”

The questions go on and on and on. 

I grabbed my Bible and a ruler, and I began to go down the columns, looking for the question marks. I spent a year, maybe a year and a half, just poring over questions and writing my answers back to God and growing deeper and deeper in love with him. And my relationship became more and more intimate.

As it was getting about to a year and a half of doing this and not mentioning it to anyone, just doing it, it was about time for me to teach at the Blue Ridge Writers Conference. This is up in North Carolina. I was talking to Edie Melson, the director, and I said, “This has changed my life as a writer and I would love to be able to take this and teach this.”

She said, “Let’s do it.” 

So we did a continuing class, and I only allowed twelve people in. I thought I would be lucky if I had five. I ended up with a wait list. Every year, I have a wait list. I’ve taught this all over now. One of my greatest joys was teaching it at Mount Hermon, teaching it at Blue Lake, where the whole thing started, of course. Teaching it at women’s retreats and things like that.

I was having lunch with Rachel Hauck one day, a New York Times bestseller, and one of my dearest friends, and she said, “Where’s the book?” 

I said, “Where’s the book?” 

She said, “You’ve gotta be kidding! You’ve gotta share this!”

And I said, “Okay.” But that meant I was going to have to pick out the questions I thought would lead to a new path and that was a path that people could walk and then start their own journey. So I pulled twenty-six questions out of the Bible, out of the hundreds of questions that God asked, and I wrote The Third Path. 

Erin: You said that this specifically changed your life as a writer. Can you give us some examples? What has that done for you as a writer? 

Eva: Well, it changed me as a writer because it forced me to go deeper and to think differently. To see myself differently. To understand in ways that I had never understood before that God gave me this talent for a reason and that he didn’t give it to everyone.

You know, we can all sing, but we can’t sing well. We can all draw, but we’re not artists, right? We can draw a stick figure, but we’re not necessarily going to draw a Monet or a Rembrandt or a Van Gogh. And we can all write words, but we’re not all writers. We’re not all publishable. 

For whatever reason, my whole life, looking back on it, I realized I always saw in word pictures. I realized I always thought in word pictures, and I thought in story, and that that was a gift and that it was not to be taken lightly, nor was it to be abused. But in order for me to fully understand that, I had to go to some really deep places and sometimes some dark places, because some of the questions are hard. They’re not easy.

Even some of the easier questions hit hard. For example, the question “What do you want?” or “What do you want me to do for you?” which are two separate questions that Jesus asked. I’m like, “Mmm, you want me to be honest?”

Erin: Yeah. 

Eva: I got to that question and I’m writing it down as if it’s coming from God to me: “What do you want me to do for you?”

My first response is, “Do you want me to be honest? I mean, you know, that? Can I tell you that?” 

Karen: As if God didn’t already know! “I’m God!” 

Eva: Even like we see each other, and we say, “How are you doing?”

“I’m good. How are you?” And actually the answer is, “It’s horrible. My life is horrible. Thank you for asking.” But we don’t say that, right? We don’t answer truthfully.

Erin: Yeah. 

Eva: We just put on these fronts, these airs. We have these pat answers. But when God says, “How are you?” like he asks Hagar, in his second meeting with Hagar that we know of, I think it’s in Genesis 18—first one’s in Genesis 16, but in Genesis 18, Ishmael is dying under a bush, and he comes to Hagar and he says, “What’s the matter Hagar?”

“Oh, nothing.” You know…

Karen: She was a Christian in church. “Oh, nothing. Do you need help with food today or…?”

Eva: “Doing fine, doing fine. My son’s over there dying under a tree, but other than that, everything’s great…”

But what I love about that question is not only did he care, but he called her by name. So when I wrote that, I wrote, “What’s the matter, Eva Marie? What’s the matter?”

Because every day of our lives, something is the matter. There’s something that’s weighing heavy on our hearts every single day. And God’s like, “Well, tell me.” 

Erin: What do you think is the barrier? Obviously we struggle with this. Why do we struggle? Why do people struggle to know what they really want or to admit it? Especially writers. 

Eva: Yeah, well, you know, we certainly don’t wanna reach for the stars for heaven sakes. But isn’t that what happened with blind Bartimaeus when Jesus said, “What do you want me to do for you?”

Blind Bartimaeus could have said, “I want enough money to get through the week. I want people to quit picking on me. I want enough money to get through the month, the year.”

But he went for broke. “I want to see.” 

Because if he could see, everything else could be given to him. So he went absolutely for the stars. “What’s the best you got for me, Jesus? That’s what I want. I want to be able to see.” 

Jesus healed him and he could see.

Karen: We’re so conditioned to not tell people what we really want. 

Eva: That’s right. 

Karen: We’re afraid that we’ll seem prideful. We’re afraid that we’ll seem ungrateful. There are fears, and I think those fears come from the enemy. He plants them inside of us because he doesn’t want us to recognize that when the God of the universe is coming to us and saying, “What do you want me to do for you?” it’s not a trick question. It’s not like he’s waiting for us to give the wrong answer and then he’s gonna pull the rug out from under us. 

God doesn’t work that way. He knows what we want before he even asks the question. But what he wants from us is our honesty. Our gut level, transparent honesty. 

Eva: And maybe a little conversation, you know? 

The interesting thing is, I have my “What do you want me to do for you?” answer. I was teaching this in Northern Arizona at a writer’s group and I said, you know, this is what I want. And this man sitting way in the back called out, “Why?”

Well, I hadn’t explored that yet. So I had to go back and kind of re-journal, and say this is what I want and this is why I want it. Now let me be honest about that. 

Erin: Yeah. 

Eva: And not just, “Well, it’d be kinda cool.” 

But more like: “What do you want me to do for you? I wanna be able to see.” 

“Why.”

“Because I’m blind. Because if I could see, I wouldn’t have to beg on the side of the road every day of my life. If I could see…”

I mean, do you remember that when Bartimaeus first was calling out, “Son of David…”? He was literally saying, “You’re the Messiah. Messiah, Son of David, have mercy on me.”

What were the disciples and all the people around him saying? “Hush! You’re bothering the Rabbi. You’re bothering the Master.” 

Karen: “You’re bothering the rabbi. Stop it. Don’t do this!” 

Eva: “What are you thinking?”

Erin: What’s so interesting is that they were trying to shame him, really. “You don’t deserve to talk to him.”

Karen: Right. 

Erin: I think that still sneaks in. Like we still have that shame that came way back in the Garden of Eden. Like, why do we still think God’s gonna pull the rug out from under us? Because somewhere, way back when, even Eve thought that. You know, “Oh, God’s holding out on me. I can’t eat that fruit because then I’ll be like God…” 

How can we get rid of that shame? I think one of the great things about asking these questions, going through this and being honest, is that it really helps us take a look at that. “Why do I feel ashamed? Why do I think God’s going to think this or that about me? Why am I so afraid?”

Eva: Like he doesn’t already know. 

Erin: And he does. But the key is we don’t. 

Eva: That’s it. That’s it. I mean, until somebody said to me, “Why?” I had never explored the reason why I want this. 

When I did explore the reason, it opened up a whole new room of other questions and future answers and more conversation with God on this. You know, it’s like, “Okay, yeah, we got the surface down here. But now let’s go a little bit deeper. Let’s go on. We’re gonna go a little bit deeper and a little bit deeper.”

Karen: Wow, guys, I don’t know about you, but this conversation has been amazing and inspirational. The good news is we’re going to continue it in our next episode, so make sure that you tune in. You don’t want to miss what else Eva has to share with us. 

Erin: That’s right! 

Guest @EversonAuthor helps us explore the questions God has for us––questions designed to draw us into a deeper relationship with the God of the universe. #amwriting #christianwriter Share on X
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What question is God asking you today?

BOOK BY Eva Marie Everson

The Third Path: Finding Intimacy with God on the Path of Questioning by Eva Marie Everson

The Third Path Finding Intimacy With God on the Path of Questioning by Eva Marie Everson

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