As Catholics, we all desire God’s will for our lives.
But how do we figure out exactly what God’s will for our lives is?
I’ve been in a season of change in my life. Options that weren’t open to me are now possibilities. In fact, I’ve got so many possibilities that I’m a little overwhelmed!
I realize that’s a pretty nice problem to have. However, in sorting through all my options, which one is God’s will for my life? This question left me paralyzed — and doing nothing — for months on end.
Then, through the magic of Facebook — three separate sources, three unconnected women, all of whom I admire — posted three different rubrics for discerning God’s will in our lives.
It’s not often that one gets that kind of confirmation that a decision needs to be made. It’s time to stop mulling, and start doing.
- Ginny Kochis at notsoformulaic.com wrote a Guide to Discernment for Catholic Women.
- In response to a group discussion, my friend Delight posted 7 Keys to Hearing God’s Voice.
- A college friend asked for volunteers to join her in a clearness committee for some decisions she was facing. Having never heard of a clearness committee, I was intrigued, and the questions listed in their guidelines got me thinking.
But, consider as I may, clearness was not coming, God’s voice was silent, and discernment was as elusive as it had ever been.
Blindsided by the Obvious
Recently, I re-read The Divine Dance by Richard Rohr. In it, Fr. Richard was talking about being in relationship with others and with God, and the necessary vulnerability to sustain those relationships. (This contrasts to being closed off to others and God.) He said, “as long as you show up, the Spirit will keep working.”
It hit me — I’m overthinking this.
Of all the ideas bouncing around in my head, there isn’t necessarily ONE that is the Will of God. They may ALL be good ideas. Creating things? That’s the work of the Holy Spirit. Connecting with people? That’s also the work of the Holy Spirit. Teaching and writing and discussing? You got it–the work of the Holy Spirit!
As long as I’m not destroying things, or tearing down people, I’m doing God’s will!
Can it really be that simple?
Yep, it probably is.
Not That Complicated
This got me thinking back to college and that decade of my twenties when life was overwhelming with its possibilities. Like many, I really wanted to know what God’s will for my life was. One of the few verses I had memorized then was the far-too-popular Jeremiah 29:11,
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
However, it might just be that as long as we’re cool with whatever God may have planned, He may be equally on board with our plans.
In fact, that goes along with the whole dance idea that Richard Rohr describes. “As long as you show up, the Spirit will keep working.”
I’m open to God’s plans; he’s open to my ideas … that’s how things get done! Life isn’t static. It keeps moving. We keep changing; we keep growing.
We see how God’s will changes in our lives — if we’re open to it.
Then, we see how our lives change with God’s will.
God’s will in my life isn’t going to look exactly like God’s will in someone else’s life. But just because it doesn’t look like what I’ve idealized in other people, that doesn’t make it any less God’s will.
It’s time to take some action and see where following God’s will takes me!
What have been some of your personal A-ha moments when it came to discerning God’s will in your life?
Copyright 2019 Jill Michelle Douglas