For those of us who are the ‘take charge’, controlling type personalities, doing someone else’s will is like pulling a tooth without novacaine. We always have everything plotted and planned for ourselves and everyone else. So when life throws a curve ball we are not always gracious about the change. I really should say I not we. During the past two years I’ve slowly come to recognize one big thing that sets me on a negative edge. It’s a simple thing but I was in so much denial that I had allowed a lot of resentment to alter my peace, to the point of being angry about unexpected intrusions on MY prayer time, MY plans, MY schedule, MY needs etc. Did you notice how many times I said MY? After all these years, I finally realized it was my problem and I needed a different response. That old Sinatra tune about having it MY WAY is not the path to holiness. Time for an attitude adjustment.
Since I was a teen, I’ve prayed to know God’s will for my life so that I could be sure to please Him. That’s the path to holiness, right? Doing God’s will, observing the commandments was obvious but choosing a career path or a vocation at eighteen was much harder. As a girl in the 60’s my options were limited: wife, teacher, nurse, nun. There was no husband in my future, no money for college so that left nun. I liked our nuns and their peaceful life, They seemed happy and the order had lots of career paths so God could choose that one for me. I seemed to meet the requirements so I applied and was accepted. Then I was convinced that since I was accepted I must be doing God’s will. My logic was never good. It sounds like poor God was my “settle for” choice and not my first choice.
As I matured I learned that discerning God’s will is not so simplistic. At eighteen I was not very spiritually mature but I tried hard. Now as a lay woman and married trying to live God’s will most days it’s still a challenge but I try to say, “That’s what you want Lord? I accept! I’m on it! (unless it interrupts my schedule!) But I’m learning.
Case in point, was a recent Sunday morning, we were up early, getting ready for Mass then planned a day away to visit a Maple Sugar Shack and have brunch with a little alone time with each other and do some sightseeing. Then came a child’s knock on the door at 6:30 a.m. Our grand daughter appeared in her p.j.’s hugging her American Heritage Girl’s uniform. “Mommy’s got a migraine and is throwing up. I have to be at Church early to help with our American Girls’s fundraiser!” crocodile tears. Well it looks like it’s not God’s will for us to settle in with our toast and coffee to say our morning prayers together and have some meditation time! My timetable has changed and a little girl needs comfort and some breakfast. She doesn’t want to miss her job at the fundraiser and Momma needs to sleep. THANK YOU GOD FOR INTERRUPTING MY TIME AND PLANS. YOUR WILL IS MY WILL.
At Mass we learned that it was also Religious Education Sunday and we will need to stay an extra hour so our granddaughter could go to class. Thank God for coffee! Thank you God, my time is your time! On the way home we stopped at the ATM to get some cash for our little trip and it was empty! Now the grand child wants to join us on our road trip which means no alone time for us. But God is merciful! When we got home, Mommy is better and reminds her they are going to a friend’s house for the day.
How do I know God’s will? It’s usually in the NOW moment. God constantly shows us that He is in charge. The needs of hour are His will. All He asks is that we rise to the occasion and respond with love and not my typical huffing and puffing. Whether it’s doing chores I dislike or giving in to someone’s request on my time I am slowly seeing the joy of His Presence in these times and the peace of knowing I am doing His will. Although I still need to haul myself to confession because my compliance is not always gracious or prompt, but I am after all still a work in progress. When I read the great saints and see how totally they live in the Divine Will, I’m a bit envious and long to be so at-one with the Lord that His will is mine and mine is His. Nevertheless He sees my struggle and is pleased with my childish efforts. Unlike our Lord in Gethsemane, I am not being asked anything that difficult or painful, but I can still say with Him, “Thy will not mine be done.”