Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How do I know God's will?

I don’t always know God’s will in advance or all at once. It is something I discern incrementally, moment by moment as I pay attention to what is going on within me and around me. I find that prayer and meditation help to foster this attentiveness, and prepare me to respond intuitively to situations as they arise. Sometimes there is just a felt-sense of "rightness."

Often I need the help of others to discern God’s will. I invite their prayer and feedback. Study of Scripture and other spiritual writings also inform my understanding of God’s will, as I meditate on how others have experienced and responded to God (or failed to do so).

My baseline for discernment is the consequences of my decisions and actions: whether or not they promote peace, love, joy, gentleness, kindness, faithfulness, patience, self-control and generosity. When I don't get it "right," God is able even to make use of my failings.

I am growing in my ability to trust God’s will for me even when I don’t know what it is. Its fulfillment depends less on my knowledge than on my faithfulness. If I am open and vulnerable then I can be usable for God.

Too often, my energy is consumed with questions like, "What am I meant to do with my life?," which can be an expression of ego - a sense of entitlement to some grand and self-satisfying purpose in life. This can prevent me from paying attention to what is right in front of me. When I am able to remove the "ego-blinders," God's will is plain to see in the dailiness of life. There always is some small way in which I can be of service to others. And that is enough.

This stance of humility and openness to what is given in the moment is more important than the "correctness" of any particular decision or action. God doesn't play hide and seek with us; life isn't a guessing game. I think it is me who makes it harder than it really is.

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