how giving up on God's will strengthened my faith

Monday, February 24, 2014

It's been six months since I gave up on God's will.

Six months since I stopped seeing life as a box of Legos, believing that the components of my story have been predetermined, counted out, set aside.  Most of my life I stood staring at the pieces.  I constantly wondered what God wanted me to do with them, and what would happen when I did.  My spiritual life was preoccupied with two questions:  What does God want me to do? and What is God doing to me?  Meaning, where did I go wrong?  What trait am I lacking, that He is increasing through this hardship?  For most of my spiritual life I have viewed God, and life, through a lens that searched - desperately - for meaning in every detail.  I earnestly, deeply loved God, and still I believed one false move would cause me to miss out on "God's best" in my life.

When I stopped trying to make the pieces of life fit together every minute of every day, my life changed dramatically.  Three things have happened since I stopped chasing God's will.

1.  I trust God more.  I used to see Him as complex, fickle, unpredictable.  Before I believed a string of an exhausting and overwhelming illnesses running through my house were intended by God to force me to rely on Him, and to teach me patience and endurance.  In that environment, how could I ever fully relax and pray for health for my family again?  How could I fully believe that He genuinely wanted good things for us?  I gave lip service to these prayers, but my heart held back.  In my heart I waited for the shoe to drop, and ultimately I believed God was the one kicking it out from under me.

Not anymore.  Now, when my baby is up all night with a cough, when my husband has a bad brain week, when a conversation stirs unexpected uncertainty and fear, I do not see God as the ultimate ordainer of my pain.  I see discomfort as a natural part of life, an element I do not need to fear or try to avoid.  God may use pain to produce something good in my life, but that is very different from God intending that pain.  I now see God as a constant, unmoving, reliable source of love, regardless of life circumstances.  I can wholly believe He wants good things for me.  In my frustration or confusion or fatigue, I can pray as one who confides in an ally, rather than one timidly approaching an aggressor.  When I stopped looking for God's will, I began to trust God more.

2.  I trust myself more.  I am an intuitive person.  Though some decisions require a pro and con list, most of the time I rely on gut feelings.  In the past, I relentlessly questioned my intuition.  I would sense something deeply, then disregard it because it seemed clear, through circumstances, that "God's will" was something else.  

But when I look back, the only decisions I regret are the ones where I disregarded my intuition.  My gut has been right every time, but I lacked the confidence to trust myself.  

I don't do that anymore.  Now I believe God has given me intuition as a guide.  Occasionally my gut feeling has been marred by pain, and I need to challenge myself to make the more loving or hopeful choice.  But most of the time, I already have everything I need to make a good decision.  I am able to know what I should do, without fearing that a wrong move will separate me from goodness and righteousness.  I can relax and trust myself.  Giving up on God's will  has made me a more confident mother, wife, and friend.

3.  I have peace.  It is impossible to overstate how much calmer I am now.  Life - and God - felt so complicated and, honestly, dreadful before.  Seeking God brought me no peace.  Instead, it brought question after question, a circulating conundrum of uncertainty, where the very best right answer, the one that would bring the most good, was unknowable.  

In my old way of thinking, I was the center of faith.  My life determined what God did, my sin dictated His next move.  Even the positives were about me - my righteousness, my success, my future.  Faith was ultimately about me.  Spiritual life was a place of wrestling and struggling, not the well of peace described in the Psalms.  

What a relief to give that up.

There is no specific, detailed "right" answer that unlocks the next phase of God's will in my life.  Instead, His immovable loving presence exists no matter where I am.  Christ gave us the law of love, and God made us with a specific temperament and personality.  We live out the interaction of those two forces every day, through big and small decisions, in the midst of  hardship and pain.  We lean into love, and that decision alone is enough.  I don't have to work to attain a spiritual life, I do not have to fear the future or question myself.  I can simply ... be.  Be God's, be present, be certain that I can handle whatever unfolds next.  

It's been six months since I gave up on God's will.  I am so glad I did.  

1 comment:

  1. I cannot truly explain how wonderful it has been to watch this change in you. I had not even fully realized you were gone until you started coming back. And then, it was like, "Yes, there's Stephanie. Where has she been?"



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