A friend was having a difficult time. Life was really pushing her to the wall, and she was trying to figure out how to keep from falling in a heap on the ground. Life has a way of stretching us to what we perceive as our limits in order to teach us to let go. It keeps after us until we surrender all our cares, and finally trust in a higher power to get us through. All the while it demands of us that we become strong enough to remain standing.
Sometimes the pressures of daily life seem too much to bear. When the road ahead is hard to see, we wonder, what about our hopes and dreams for the future? We ask ourselves, and perhaps God too, how we’ll ever get there from here.
And if things get tough enough, if we feel desperate enough, we might even rail against God, shaking our fist at the Almighty in defiance or reproach. As if the Supreme Deity cares what we think of the divine plan. As if our personal opinion carries any weight and will be taken under consideration at the next council meeting in Heaven. What folly—our objections to the way things are hardly deserve a form letter in response, so we get no answers to our prayers. We really should know better.
My friend was not in a state of resentment or rebellion, but she was wondering, would there ever be something in it for her? So she asked, “Isn’t it possible for me to walk the walk God is asking of me and still have some personal happiness too?”
Sure, that might be possible; it might even be what God was intending for her anyway. But that wasn’t the point: it wasn’t the right question to ask. When we want to have our cake and eat it too, we haven’t yet arrived at surrender. We’re nowhere near trusting in God, and that’s what the lesson is all about. The reason life has our backs against the bricks in the first place is to teach us how to put our full faith in the Holy Spirit.
“Love your dreams with all your heart, and then love God more,” I said. She knew what I meant: put your love into your vision of yourself living a good and happy life, but also surrender your agenda to the will of God. There is always a greater plan, and it is in our best interest to go with God rather than to insist, like stubborn adolescents, on doing things our way.
Besides, there is no negotiating with God. Still, people do try. They say, God, if you’ll just let me keep this, I’ll give up that. Or they set a timeline that puts the deadline for personal changes conveniently far off into the future. For example, they promise themselves or God that they’ll change their diet after a family event two months out. Or lose weight, but not until after New Year’s. Somehow, there is always something that makes right now seem an inconvenient, unpleasant, or even unkind time to take that next step in life. So, they put God on a schedule—their own schedule, of course.
Change just isn’t our favorite thing, so when we finally have to undertake it we feel that we should be allowed to play a part in the decision making. After all, isn’t it our lives? Don’t we have a right to decide what we want? It only seems fair that we play a significant role in determining the course of our own lives—and that we should therefore expect to not only be consulted, but also to get a seat at the table so we can present our list of demands. After all, God wouldn’t be so callous as to expect of us deep and lasting changes without making the process to our liking…right?
Deep down we know better. We suspect that, if we were to remain that comfy and content amidst the changes, we wouldn’t really be growing. It leaves us with a niggling feeling that substantial growth necessitates a degree of growing pains. Life insists on us moving out of old comfort zones the moment they are no longer in our best interest. The only question is whether we’ll do it willingly—maybe even enthusiastically, if we can just remember to see it as a promotion instead of a punishment—or whether we’ll dig in our heals and make it a struggle. That part is up to us. What isn’t, is that God’s in charge of the production, and our best hope of happiness lies in getting with the program.
The moment we do—that sweet moment when we realize that we can let go and safely follow the divine’s promptings wherever they lead—our lives change for the better. We discover that a higher happiness follows as soon as we surrender our own will in favor of the will of God.
© 2012 Ilona Goin. All rights reserved.