If there was ever something historically that has caused me to shake my fist at it, it was God’s timing. There is plenty I desire in my life requiring patience. Something wasn’t happening fast enough, or something was happening too fast.
What I needed was some faith-building in the area of trusting God’s timing. The exercise that built this muscle in me? Saying Amen.
I’ve inverted my prayers for more than a decade. I start with “amen” which means “so be it” and in doing so, I set my agenda down right from the start. He can move how He wants in any given storyline and I commit from the beginning I won’t get in His way or question.
Then I list and talk and ask for all that I normally pray about, “Would you please… Thank you for… Forgive me now…” and finish with some hands-together-form-of-begging, “Oh, dear Jesus…”
So I whisper,
Amen. You sell the house.
Dear Jesus. Amen.
You move her heart.
Dear Jesus. Amen.
You heal that body.
You open the door.
And in one syllable this word reorients, calibrating me with a God whose covenant He will never break. So be it. I can’t fix anyone, I gain nothing from wringing my hands. By inverting my prayers and saying amen right away, from the beginning I acknowledge His sovereignty and my surrender.
As I have walked this journey, I have learned these principles set me up for surrender.
- Let love be. Love isn’t something God feels or does, and so as a consequence, love isn’t something I should just feel or do. Love is something He is, and love is something I can be. When I orient myself to this truth, my spiritual muscles relax in surrender.
I am to be loving and exactly who He created in His image, nothing more or less. This eliminates the shoulds and the shames. As I love others, it’s as a vessel of the One whose love knows no bounds.
He teaches the lessons, He guides the growth, He finds the lost, He strengthens the weak, He holds us up, He turns us around, and He grows the fruit. See the pattern? It’s all on Him. He recognizes what is required to sustain His child and provides it.
- Believe God, rather than just believing in Him. I don’t know the exact moment when it happened, this crossing over from believing in God to believing God, although I now know I don’t want to go back. I have finally settled myself at His feet. Some days I feel anticipation, so I stand there on tiptoes. Some days I feel exhausted, so I am facedown, without words. On days with questions, my hand is raised. On days of celebration, I dance spiritually like I wish I could physically.
Trying to control events to my own timing reflects my impatience as an imperfect being. It shows greater trust in God’s ability when I calm my soul in the midst of uncertainty, believing it’s okay to rest my soul.
- Say yes more. If amen had an opposite, it would be no. As I begin to fall apart and find I am losing heart, I can always track the start of the downward spiral to a no. (No, that’s not fair. I can do it myself. No, I won’t admit that. No, no, no, no.) Suddenly, I am defensive or overwhelmed. I am anxious or offended. I cut off the flow of the Spirit in me and insert my rights above all else.
Turning any ugly moment around begins softly with an agreement to so be it. It’s the subtle but powerful, yes to lay down your life, to trust that His life being glorified is better than mine.
- Raise my hand. These days I am working on wanting my hand in the air. I want to be called up to duty, I want a better story for my day than I can write myself, and I want the feeling I am at the end of myself and need Him for my words, my next step. On our way to wherever He calls and whatever He asks, we will need each other. I need to be reminded that I want my hand in the air when it doesn’t make sense and isn’t comfortable. I want it even if it means I stretch and grow and break and rebuild. It will be messy, but maturation usually is.
Surrender to His will. Amen is the verbal equivalent of hands raised. It can be translated as “So be it” or paraphrased as “It is as You say.” It’s more than our modern understanding of “uncle” or “I give up.” It is surrender in a spirit of “It’s up to You; You do it.” I made the promise, but only You can fulfill it. So I whisper, You sell the house. You move her heart. You heal that body. You open the door. You provide. You go before them. Amen. So be it. In your time. I trust. I surrender. Amen. It guides me when I search for answers.
- Risk for the sake of freedom. I am to live and love like a daughter, talk like a daughter. I am to invite and extend myself and risk. Life’s sweetest tastes come from risk. I am to root myself in His identity and not gorge myself on counterfeit affections. I am then to testify every chance I get: freedom is found in forfeiting my own way.
This is a choice, we can daily ask Jesus for what we think we want and need, or we can release to Him our spirit, and watch His provision and peace provide more than we could ever imagine. “Amen.” If I prayed no other word than this from here on out, I would be ok… Today, I know all that is due to me is on its way in God’s time.
- What words of patience do I find in the Bible?
- How willingly do I accept missing an opportunity that I pray to God about?
- What does it mean to believe in things that I am unable to see?