Wednesday, March 14, 2012

God on a timeline

Let me ask you a question. Have you ever given God a timeline on something? Or know someone who has?

Saying, ‘God, all this is going on and I’m ready for it to be done. By September I want this and that to happen. I believe its time.’ …or any other way you’d make it known..but expect to have it happen.
via design sponge

I heard a woman say at her bridal shower awhile back that she told God she wanted to be engaged by such and such month and married X amount of months later…and it all happened. She was engaged and bam! married within her timeline.

I remember sitting there pondering the idea. Could I really lay it all out for God, like I’m in charge and know what the heck I’m doing? Maybe I’m naïve to it, maybe I’m looking too deeply or think so little of my relationship with Him, that I would think I’m not qualified to ask, demand, lay it out for Him to get it done when I want it done.

There’s no need to beat around the bush with Him. He already knows every thought, decision, action I’m going to do, so why couldn’t I be blunt with Him like that?? Is it that I have to state with 100% confidence, my demand? That if I have even an ounce of doubt or uncertainty or fear about it happening how I want, when I want, that it won’t come about?

This has been swirling around me lately. Timelines in general. What is an appropriate timeline for something?

My friend recently told me if her boyfriend didn’t propose by the end of the year, she would break up with him. {Now, whether or not she really would is uncertain, but I think she was convincing herself she needed to do it.}

Of course, a few weeks after this declaration, he proposes and they’re now planning their wedding for this year.

My thought… **sigh** I have so many thoughts, but I’ll keep them tucked away for the time being.

Meanwhile, I’d really like to hear yours.

Do you believe you can give God a timeline on something you want? and I’m not just referring to marriage…these 2 just happened to be about it. it could be a timeline on getting healed from an illness, getting a job, or getting pregnant, whatever you’re wanting needing…

Do you know of someone who’s told God what they want? Did it work for them?

Are you comfortable with being blunt with God?

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Natalie said...

hmm... I'd struggle with the idea of putting a demand on God since He's God... and I am not. I certainly think we can be blunt in asking for something we want by a certain time... but I think we also need to be open to the fact that it may not be what God intends for us. I guess, it comes back to trusting in His timing and praying that His desires become our desires in order that they may be fulfilled... pray and ask away, but don't cling to a timeline, cling to Christ.

Anonymous said...

Oh man I feel like I could write a book on this. There are many times when I've laid all of *my* plans out in front of Him with the expectation that they'd be fulfilled according to my wishes. Rarely has my life followed the timeline I wrote for myself. In fact, I don't think it has at all. Examples: I wanted to move to Australia after college, get an apartment, do the art thing, maybe getting married around 28. I ended up getting married my junior year, pregnant 7 months in, moved to a mobile home near my hometown & made the big decision to be a stay-at-home mom. I was so sure I was going to have a midwife-attended natural birth, but I had PPROM at 32 weeks, was delivered by a male OB/GYN and my daughter was in the NICU for a while afterwards. My husband & I thought he'd be out of college by now but he won't be out until next May. My life is completely different from the timeline I envisioned, but my life is SO SO blessed. I've had to learn to trust His time, His planning. I've had to learn (sometimes painfully) that peace will be found in conforming my will to His, dying to myself so I might live in Him. Simply put, He knows what's better for me. I've stopped submitting timelines and ultimatums for God for the most part (I'm a sinner, not perfect!) because it's just a fruitless endeavor in my eyes. But of course I do pray about the desires of my heart and my needs, and I know He hears. He answers according to His good and perfect will :)

the blogivers said...

Short answer: no, I don't think you can or should give God a timeline :) Of course you can go to Him and tell Him your honest desires, and He wants us to do that, but that doesn't mean everything will go as planned... and if it does go as planned, God is still the one that made it happen in His perfect timing - not us!

The Heart Of A Woman said...

Abraham and Sarah waited a long time for Isaac. When they went ahead of God instead of waiting on His timing they did suffer the consequences. Of course, because He is good and forgiving and His will was to prevail above mans, He allowed blessings to be bestowed upon them.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD" (Isaiah 55:8). If I had may way I would have a child, be healed, etc. but I would have missed out on a relationship with God. I believe his timing is perfect and his ways are greater than mine. If he blesses me with a child, people will know it was of him and no man. I have a stronger faith because of affliction. My hope is growing in God and not the things of this world. This is all because His timing is perfect.

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time" (1 Peter 5:6).

LeAnna said...

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. (John 16:23-24)

I don't believe in putting God on a timeline, but I do believe in praying specifically. I know so many women who put themselves on a timeline (and God) and were sorely dissapointed. I'm talking dates and everything (ie: God is going to do xyz by April 3rd, blah blah blah) and often they do it out of the wrong spirit. If GOD is directing you to pray for something specific in a certain timeline, do not disobey. However, I always go back to the scripture at the top. His ways aren't ours. I wanted our house to sell a few months after we put it on the we are a year + later, but He's still the same God, performing the same miracles on my behalf. Right where we I am.

And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. (John 14:13-14)

He doesn't promise that our outcome will be like what we envision it to be, He promises that He will do whatever it is that the Father may be glorified through Christ's work in your life.

That is HUGE. All of those little blessings you've seen? The ones where He's provided after years of waiting? When you praise Him, He is glorified, and answering your prayers.

Love you, friend.

Anonymous said...

Whenever I have attempted to "control" my own life & its outcome, I have always been humbly reminded by a HUGELY awesome God that He won't fit into any box I put Him in. I don't think it's wrong to be blunt with God. It's not like anything we say surprises Him, since He already knows our thoughts, anyway. I don't even think it's wrong to seek the Lord in prayer with humble expectation. Where I think we fail, is when we presume to know what is best for our own lives instead of trusting in the One whose perfect will GAVE us life. Faith, is not believing that God will give you whatever you want. Faith, is believing in God NO MATTER WHAT. Love you, Em!

Stephanie said...

There is no reason that you shouldn't just lay it all out there. The worst that could happen is that He says "No, not right now." Like you said. God already knows...He's just waiting for you to come to Him and ask Him for what you want. : )

Tabitha Mahoney said...

I thought my ex was "the one", we dated for ten years and even during the hard times I was "convinced" he was the one. I still love him to this day but I know he's not the one, M is and I am so grateful for being open to a real relationship with M. Up until him I just casually saw men because I was still waiting for the timing to be right with my ex, and of course as soon as I really moved on he came back. Relationships are crazy I tell you. CRAZY.

Daisy said...

I agree perfectly with the 2 first responses. I think when you start getting everything you want you should be a little concerned. Something that I have been learning is that God's plans are SO much better than mine. If I had it my way I would be going to hell right. I'm glad that God hears me out but in the end He proceeds with His plan :)

Christina said...

I believe God hears us and when our heart's cry is in line with His will, we can see things in our timeline come to be. When it's not, we wait or things change so they don't come to be. I too believe in praying specifically. God loves to give His children the desires of their hearts if it is the best thing for us. We have to trust in Him at all times though, and know that sometimes our desires come from a wrong place.

I planned to be married by 25. I am almost 31 and still single. It doesn't mean God wants me single forever, but my timeline didn't fit His best plans. When I start each year, I have a hard time praying to be married within that some people say I should pray for. Instead, I find myself sharing my heart and asking God to lead it.

I've been in a place where I've prayed ultimatums to God about my God and He has been timely in His answer. But I also know that He knows what is coming wayyyy before we do, and when we reach the end of whatever situation and realize it, He's steps ahead preparing us for the change.

It comes down to the fact that God is God. He knows what He's doing and we don't.

Christina said...

"I've been in a place where I've prayed ultimatums to God about my God" That second "God" is supposed to be "job". Oops.

Rachel said...

I love your blog at the always make me think :)
I've actually been considering this myself recently and so I've written a post about it which I'll publish next week. Do you mind if I link your post and quote you?

Jennifer Blair said...

Woah. What a post. I don't know if it's just me, but God has never been on my schedule. It's either been before I wanted "it" to happen or I've had to wait a while. I have prayed for certain things to happen at certain times before, but in the end I know His timing is best and try to have a heart open to following His will.

Lisa @ honibun@blogspot said...

I'm in such a quandary about this because I have known friends who have asked and received within their timelines but me........well as my CHOOSEday blog shows I'm still waiting on the Lord. So I am not sure if timelines is the way to go.

To my mind there is a bigger question and that is what if my heart's desires are not God's will for me???? How do I know if my desires align with His will!!!

Phil 4:6 says: "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."

I struggle with this daily......because being thankful when you feel like your prayers are hitting the ceiling is so difficult.

Thank you for the thought provoking post!!!

Callie Nicole said...

I think it's natural to have a timeline in your head, and sure you can tell God about it, but it doesn't necessarily mean your timeline will match His! And he's not going to be changing His timeline to match yours because His will obviously be better - He's God. I don't really like the thought of presenting the timeline to God as a demand - He doesn't owe us anything, and I think that's the wrong way to think about it. God's word says to delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart. If you present the timeline as a demand, It seems more like delighting in your own plans than in the Lord.

And when I say "you", I don't mean you Emily! Ha! I mean anyone. Just thought I'd clarify!

Katie said...

{clearly I'm behind on my Reader and am just now reading this greeeeeat post...}

...but I think that timelines and God are tricky. I think sometime He puts a desire in us for a certain timeline...does that make sense? I think he prepares us for His timing. But most of the time, I truly think satan uses the concept of time to thwart our relationship with Jesus. I struggle with that A LOT. And to be honest, marriage has brought that struggle out in me. Because now there are two people's timelines to manage and wrestle with, and even more distraction from focusing on trusting God 100%.

That said, I am completely comfortable being blunt with God. we have this relationships {probably because of my past bouts with depression and loneliness} that I can just lay it all out there for him to hear. And then, he usually smacks me upside the face with something really in my face to set me straight or something so subtle and quiet, I can't believe it. But yeah, that's a long answer to say I'm comfortable being blunt with God :)

Anonymous said...

As a general practice, I don't feel right about making demands in prayer, but I found myself doing it this morning. I think making a request for something you want, no matter how you form the petition, is one thing, but spiritual warfare is another. I've been unemployed for nearly two years and have lost a ton of money. I had savings and now, it's almost all gone. I will be at risk of being homeless and the job search has been a battle with the adversary. I never thought of it that way until he overplayed his hand and I caught on long after the pattern had developed. I kept hitting brick walls in every direction - in my field, in menial labor, retail, temp agencies - no matter what I tried, I got nowhere. I attributed it to the world and chance and the job market, this and that - then I hit a rejection that was just uncanny and I realized the whole thing is uncanny and more than merely natural. An attack is the only explanation that makes any sense, so I go with it and have been praying through it that way for a couple of months. Still, no breakthrough. So, I got to the point that I found myself giving God a timeline for breakthrough because enough is enough. I question it; I don't know if I have that authority, but it might be that God wants me to stand firm and confident IN HIM and WITH HIM in prayer to Him.

Emily grapes said...


Thank you for your comment. I'm so sorry you've been faced with so much struggle in the job front. I've honestly been there (and still kinda)there, and completely understand. I depleted my savings, moved in with my fam, and have seen many walls when it comes to me thinking I "need" this job or "need" that money. I finally conceded and understood God wasn't wanting me to work (at the time) and stopped forcing it, and relied on Him. Its not easy by any means, but when that's all I have, I cling to it. I know He's faithful and hold tight to that fact. I hope things turn around for you.


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