I would like to share with you a bit of unfailing advice that was given to me some years ago by a holy and beloved priest friend. Like any helpful bit of wisdom it’s short and simple . . . God’s will for me is straight ahead.
Let me explain.
It is in our human nature to want to organize our lives in such a way that our choices would lead to happiness. Part of this “happiness” is to experience a freedom to choose, to direct, to pilot our own lives. Critical to this is having “options”. We don’t like it when we have no choice in what we do.
The problem comes when we start to see ourselves as “independent” operators. The temptation to want TOTAL freedom in directing our lives gives rise to some unhappy results. It creates an appetite that expects no restrictions; inconveniences or frustrations are the cause of anger and resentment. There’s no Co-pilot. I’m in charge, so things better obey me.
No. Our freedom is best exercised when it is done in “partnership” with the One who gave us our freedom in the first place . . . God of course. What does this partnership look and feel like?
It’s called THE PRESENT MOMENT. The right here, right now of our life. And here’s the trick (don’t miss this). Don’t go looking for God’s will “over there” or “later this year” or “when I graduate, get the job, get married, move out”.
No, God’s will is right NOW, in this moment. Do you want to know what you should do next to find the peace that comes in living in union with God? Look straight ahead. Here are some pointers:
- What promises have you made to people? Keep them.
- What obligation or duty do you carry as spouse, parent, employee, student, friend? Do your duty.
- What does your conscience tell you about the good to do or evil to avoid in this moment? Do that.
- What you wish people would do/be for you? . . . do that for them.
- Common sense is a great pointer to God’s will. Big test tomorrow? God’s will? Study!
Friends this is a recipe for happiness. A happiness different than the one offered by the world. This is one that comes with being right with God.
When we say “straight ahead” we mean no unnecessary delay (let’s wait until . . .). Also, no adding needless “what ifs?” or fears about failure; these only serve to keep us from giving ourselves wholeheartedly to the moment.
I remember getting to the point where if I didn’t call the Rector of the seminary now, I NEVER will. Too many other things were calling out to me from various side roads. What about this? What about that? Thank God I made the call. Straight ahead.
Surprisingly God’s will when we are younger is “to move”, “to go”, “to try out”. When we are older “straight ahead” more often means to stay where you are. To persevere in one’s duty. To embrace the daily grind. To finish the job.
And what are the signs that happen in us when we’ve done God’s will? St. Paul tells us in Galatians. “But the Spirit (God’s will for us) produces, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, humility, and self-control.” Gal. 5:22
So straight ahead. Trust the Holy Spirit to guide you to see and feel what is right in front of you in this holy moment.
Bless your summer days.