Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs?

I am one who looks for signs. Signs that I am on the right track; that I am following God's will. Actually, that's a distortion. When I am paying attention to signs, I am actually projecting that God will make this endeavor (whatever it is) succeed.

When I was just out of college, and looking for that first job, I was out shopping resumes, praying before going into each business. When one delivery went well, it was tempting to see a divine plan in me getting that job. When it was followed by a great interviews I again wanted to project - "this is a sign, it's God's will. I'm going to get that job."

When I do that sort of thing, I am making a mistake. What I am doing has nothing to do with God's will. It might well be that it was a special part of God's plan that I have a good interview, but that just might be it. Maybe I needed the confidence boost for the next interview, or maybe I just needed the practice. It is presumption for me to try to anticipate where God is going to lead me, especially when I always choose to anticipate the 'good' outcome, not the one that looks hardest or the possibilities that aren't very attractive.

The solution is that I have to constantly pray to accept God's will, what ever it may be. I particularly must pray to accept, and even be grateful for the 'undesirable' outcome. Then I can focus on just doing those thing in front of me, regardless of what might come of some event.

I got a lot of practice with this when I met my wife. There was a lot of uncertainty. Geographically in particular, and also urban vs. rural we were far, far apart. It was so tempting to believe that I knew God's will, because it seemed so obvious - all the signs were there. The truth was that I was having the opportunity to learn about having a healthy relationship. Every time I called her, or saw here I had to pray: "God, help me to serve her and support her. God help me to learn about a healthy relationship. Thy will be done." It turned out that we did get married. The prayer still comes in handy at times.

That's what I have to do with this Blogging deal. I got a little attention and positive feedback for a Blog post. It's tempting to think that God's will must be for me to become a great blogger, and a mini-celebrity. I have to remember that I can't know what God has planned for me or anyone else. I can't know what God's purpose might be in my Blogging. God might be indifferent, Blogging doesn't have much of anything to do with the work he has in store for me. Maybe God just used that one post to help one person, and now its done, move on.

Prayer: God, help me to serve You and Your people with my blogging. Help me to learn about You, and help me to practice my writing. Thy will be done."

THE FACT THAT I THINK that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.

Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude

So today I Blog...Tomorrow I plan to blog


  1. Paul,
    I was thinking/praying about my own blog this morning; the direction it should go, theme/tone it should have. I've only been blogging for about 2 months and the fact that anyone reads it amazes me. That's when I reminded myself that if I hand it over to God He will do or not do whatever He wants done with it-I just need to follow. These thoughts as well as your post made me think of the following short prayer.
    The prayer is by Fr. Mychal who was killed during 9/11. His prayer remains:
    Lord, take me where you want me to go;Let me meet who you want me to meet; Tell me what to say, and Keep me out of your way.

  2. Karinann, Thanks for blogging and commenting. I like that prayer from Father Mychal.


  3. I liked what you said about taking, for example, a positive interview as a sign that you'll get the job. It's true. That is something I myself tend to do.
    I know it's important to accept God's will, even if it is challanging. And I try. But it's so hard sometimes to figure out where He wants me to go...I guess that's part of prayer's purpose.