I don’t always do it or do it well, but the primary purpose of my life in a nutshell is to live out the suggested 11th Step of the 12 Step Recovery Model: Seeking “through prayer and meditation to improve my conscious contact with God as I understand Him, praying only for His will for me and the power to carry that out.” Everything else I do, feel, or think falls under that umbrella. But how exactly do I determine what His Will is? How do I differentiate His perfect Will from my selfish Will that I so often try to sneak in or disguise as something resembling God’s Will?
Maybe it’s more simple than it seems. Is it possible that we have complicated it to the point where we don’t even bother attempting to listen/learn/discern His Will? That we just live out our own Will, cross our fingers and pray that he blesses our activities and our loved ones?
Let me give you an analogy that might help you come to a clearer understanding of it. “It” being the massive and mysterious “Will of God” question, summed up by a goofy 47-yr-old momma. Take it for what it’s worth.
I sing at church on occasion. I have been singing since I was little, and since we’re on the topic, let this serve as a formal apology to all my parent’s house guests that I supposedly entertained with various vocal numbers in our living room during the 70’s. 🤣 I have been told I have a decent voice, but I have to admit something to you all, after years of experience I simply cannot pick out a harmony part (that’s the complimentary part sung with the melody that enhances the beauty of the sound, for those of you who don’t speak music lingo…) to save my life. When I sing at church I am usually assigned the harmony part and I have to practice it over and over and over before rehearsal. Because of this, I never forget that part. It is burned in my brain and I hear it in my sleep. But here’s what I have noticed; any time I sing that song, even if I am singing alone, I am not really sure if I am singing the melody or the harmony part. And the harmony part sounds really dumb on it’s own, so you would think it would be obvious. But since I practiced and rehearsed it so many times, I literally can’t tell the difference.
And that’s how I better understand how my Will and God’s will are intertwined. If I am always seeking to improve my conscious contact with Him through prayer and meditation and, I might add, obedience and loving and serving others, then His Will and mine will be lined up to the point that you can’t tell the difference between them. The harmony and melody are in perfect play.
For me, this realization of living my life in God’s good and perfect Will, being in perfect tune with him, means my prayers are different than they used to be. My expectations are different. Let’s use work as an example. Instead of expecting God to show me the exact job I need, I seek him first, make the best decision I can and take him with me wherever I go. If I am humble and available, he can work through me and my circumstances regardless of which job I choose. If I hate that job, it doesn’t mean that I picked wrong, it more likely means my attitude is off kilter. If i get fired or am abused at that job, I can use it as an opportunity to grow in faith and seek him further as to what to do. So often we get down on ourselves, assuming we misunderstood him. Or we did it wrong. Just because something doesn’t go smoothly or is challenging doesn’t mean it was a wrong decision. Remember, there are always other people and powers who are not seeking His Will that conspire to fight our submission to it. Ask yourself what God have for you to learn in those times.
On some occasions, when things don’t turn out as wonderful as I expected, I can sometimes trace it back to a point where it was obvious that something other than fulfilling God’s Will distracted me. The money signs. Potential accolades. The opportunity for power. The easier softer way that threatens to weaken my character.
Jobs are just one of a thousand areas where discerning God’s Will can feel like an unsolvable mystery. We feel so small and powerless to make such life decisions. But we are not. The person who abides in God is the Will of God. God not only expects me to do His will but He is in me to do it. If my relationship with Him is personal and I lay down my life before Him, I can trust that He will re-direct me from the inside out if I wander off. Your conscience will lead you as God’s Will coincides with your Will, and becomes the tune in your ear that you cannot shake.
This analogy gives me a fresh understanding of a verse you may have heard before: Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart (Ps.37:4). In light of this goal of aligning my Will with God’s, I realized that this verse doesn’t mean that God will give me whatever my heart desires as long as it is in line with his Will, but rather that when I delight in him (seek, serve, love, listen, and obey him), my desires and his desires will become one and the same. Possibly, Harmonious.