As 2017 unfolds, some of us are noticing that what we wholeheartedly resolved on January 1st is already a challenge to manage. Perhaps we’re avoiding, procrastinating or resisting. Perhaps we’ve asked ourselves: “Do I really want this?” or “Is this truly best for me?”
If we’ve asked either of those questions, or one like them, then we’re ready to take another faithful step forward, to consider putting our personal will in the backseat and allowing God’s will to direct our lives.
While God’s will is rarely easy to understand, it’s always for our best. As Richard and Mary-Alice Jafolla, former directors of Silent Unity, explain:
God’s will is the unrelenting desire in you to express your divine potential. . . . God’s will is radiant health, abundant prosperity, limitless love, eternal happiness, and the knowledge that you are part of God. . . . God’s will is God, seeking to express in you and as you. [Adventures on the Quest, 2001, p. 120]
When we argue for our will, instead of trusting God’s, we imprison ourselves in destructive behaviors and self-defeating attitudes. We wander endlessly, needlessly, dazed and confused, like Alice in the rabbit hole, because we refuse to open our eyes, ears, minds, hearts, and especially ourselves, to behold what’s before us — in new, transformative ways.
Ultimately, to know God’s will, we must surrender preconceived notions — including other’s opinions and the way it’s always been done — to something greater. Discerning God’s will, rather than our own, requires faith, patience and trust so we know exactly which steps to take and when.
Here, then, are some practical ways to discern God’s will:
- Schedule daily time for contemplation, meditation and prayer in a sacred way and comfortable place. This includes sitting on our meditation cushion, as well as hiking in the forest, fishing on the lake, or strolling through the park.
- Breathe deeply, gently, and speak the words: “Not my way, God, but Your way. Not my will, but Thy will be done.”
- Acknowledge and mourn whichever desires, dreams and/or goals are dead and which won’t occur as we once hoped.
- Concede our ideas about how something “should” unfold and allow time and space for Holy Spirit to do Its work.
- Consider which roads are blocked, whether detours can be cleared and what other avenues may lead to something better than we imagined.
- Stop checking the rear-view mirror and release the past to the past.
- Focus on the road before us, eyes on the horizon, while still noticing what’s immediately ahead.
- Remember: God is eternally grace-giving, infinitely compassionate and unconditionally loving. Refuse to believe fatalistic notions portraying God as a capricious presence which wills evil, pain and suffering on Its creations, or picks and chooses who wins and who loses in some great cosmic lottery.
- Trust that every ending brings another beginning, and know that as we release our way, God’s way meets us exactly where we are.
© 2017 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks. All rights reserved.