Getting to Zero

Coined by saints as “The Prayer of Subtraction”, this is a good prayer for me today.


Feeling overwhelmed by invisible forces, I am eager to have my load lightened. It seems reasonable that if the spirit rises and the flesh descends, perhaps I should detach from the flesh if I don’t want to feel this weighty drag. Yes?


So I name the earthly things that I think make me great. And then surrender them.


I name the plans I’ve made and the purposes for them. And surrender them.


I name the hopes I project onto others. And I surrender them.


I name the hopes that have been projected onto me. And I surrender them.


I name my so-called necessities and the things I wish I had. I name my blessings and my worries. I name my strengths and weaknesses. The things I’ve been avoiding and the things that I’ve been doing instead; I name the things that irritate me, and all the thoughts that are distracting me from this prayer…


I acknowledge my separation from God and all of the sin born of that separation—all the choices and reactions I’ve made while apart from a sufficient Grace.


And I surrender them until I am nothing. Carrying nothing. Needing nothing, only Christ.


Some days I just say “I surrender”, some days I actually do it, some days I have to hack at all these attachments with a pick-axe, some days they float off me, other days they cling to me despite myself. Many days there are still things weighing me down and I don’t even know it. But I never get condemned by God in either outcome.


As I sit in the quiet, I imagine the reality of me truly being free of these things. Do I really want the freedom? Do I really want to be free of my hopes for my children? Is that the same thing as being “hopeless”? What if my hopes don’t pan out? Will God be enough for me then? And enough for them? Is my future safe when outside my hands?


Perhaps I enjoy the company of my worries.


Faith requires such trust.


I suppose God can work both ways, but I’d rather have my faith define my day as opposed to the other way around.


Sometimes, in the silence, I get an image or a thought or a verse. Sometimes I just get the silence. The freeing reset. The blessing of getting to zero.


In my nothingness, I find I ask for things in the name of Christ—those things that are in the spirit of salvation—those same things that Jesus says He will do for me (John 14:14). Things like: “Let me not waste a step today as I am about your plan for me”, or “God be working that she might know you”. From my emptiness, I can utter the mind of God whose will is unfolding as I speak.


Half-awake in salvation, and half-awake to the day’s chores still before me, I don’t feel much different—no big “zing” or charismatic enlightenment. But sometimes freedom requires momentum gained by my hands and feet. So I shall vacuum, and prepare my taxes, and do the next logical thing with regards to enabling my vocational income. And I will trust God with the results of my work today.


It is a bit less fretful being at zero.


2 thoughts on “Getting to Zero

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