joyHave you ever been simply too scared to seriously consider following God’s will in your life? Thought maybe you’d be happier if you just made your own plan and followed that?
Is there truly a “plan” for your existence? Or, the even bigger question, does that Plan actually take YOU into consideration?
Following God’s Will is Scary!
Sometimes from the outside it looks like God’s will is all Job, Lazarus, and Calvary…
Really, what’s in it for me if I’m “called to die to myself” (Mk. 8:35, Jn. 12:24, etc)?
Is it something oppressive or controlling? All about rules and regulations? Will it take away all the things you love most and force you to carry “heavy crosses”?
“Whomever wants to come after me must take up his cross and follow me” (Mt. 16:24)
Why does God have to make me change when I’m “already happy” now?
What is God’s will for you?
I would ask you this: Are you just just assuming God’s will must be the worst thing you can imagine? or, Do you actually know?
How do you know God is just trying to be “mean to you” or “control your life” if you’ve never given Him a chance? Have you ever sought out what “His will” might be? How do you know “how horrible it is” until you’ve tried it?
Read also: 4 Ways to Follow God’s will even if you “don’t know what it is”
Understanding the idea of Following God’s Will as 3 tiered concept
3 – Profession
When we think of God’s will we often think first of what we are called to DO with our lives. Like what profession we are supposed to have or work towards… but, if you are in a profession, you know that your life doesn’t revolve around it, or if it does, you wonder, “Why don’t I have a life?” The term “workaholic” isn’t positive one for a reason. (esp. when it is used to escape from the pain of your empty “life” outside work). So, obviously, merely what we are supposed to DO in that regard can’t be our sole vocation.
2 – Relationship
Even workaholics have to “go home at night”. But, what do they go home to?
Maybe who we are called to BE WITH is our vocation?
Isn’t that what we are talking about when we refer to “having a life”? Having someone to talk to outside of work that helps to give meaning and depth to our existence (whether it be friends or a significant other). But, how do we pick our friends? Does every person we’ve ever met have an equally important part in giving us the “life” we are seeking? Obviously not.
How do we decide who we allow to impact our lives the most? How do we decide who complements us, challenges us, or enhances our lives?
The preceding questions exist because there is an even more fundamental level to our vocation than our vocation to relationships (although, relationships are clearly important), one so obvious we almost always overlook it.
The call to be ourselves!
1 – The Self
This is the call to know, accept and embrace who we are – to understand ourselves as we were created, as man or woman, a child of God. This is an ACTIVE thing. It means choosing to let who we are color everything we do and every choice we make.
Everything we are plays into this – our color, our build, our sense of humor, our taste in music and art, our talents, our weaknesses.
We don’t go through life doing our best DESPITE who we are, but rather, we excel in this life BECAUSE of who we are.
[tweetshare tweet=”We don’t go through life doing our best DESPITE who we are, but rather, we excel in this life BECAUSE of who we are” username=”CarolynMPereira”]
Perfect for a Plan
When God created us He created us perfect for His plan.
If we are called to marriage, He made our body type that which would appeal to our spouse. If we are called to find the cure for cancer or be a world famous dancer, our minds and bodies will reflect this calling.
When He “knit us in our mother’s womb” (Jeremiah 1:5) He gave us propensities that are meant to draw us toward the things we have been created to accomplish and aversions that are meant to dissuade us from attempting that which we are not meant to do.
Called to be You
Being YOURSELF isn’t a misfortune to be overcome or even a mere coincidence, but rather, it is the driving force behind your entire life, it should be something that gives purpose to everything you do and flare to how you do it. Every situation we encounter, every secondary calling we experience, is meant to make our strengths shine and our weaknesses strong.
Your Identity is most clear in Relationship
This is why we yearn so much for relationships and why we hate to be alone. Why else do we feel our value is diminished when we have no one with whom to share ourselves?
But the importance of relationship in our lives goes much farther even than that.
Step into my office for a moment…
As a literature major in college and again in grad school, I was constantly reminded of the fact that an author’s work has no transcendent or lasting meaning without understanding the author themselves. Without knowing the author’s background, historical setting and philosophies, it is impossible to understand their work beyond face value.
For example, if one does not know the origin of Don Quijote, the book is just a really long book about a crazy guy who tries to sword fight with windmills over a fake damsel in distress. What a waste of time!?! Without understanding the source, we can’t understand why it has become one of the most iconic works of literature of all time or why it matters.
But, it DOES matter! The book paved the way for “modern” thinking and was the first to challenge the hierarchy of the past, for better or for worse. How else would a fictional character get museums built for him in multiple countries or have “his house” for tourists to visit?
You are worth much more than a fictional character!
Don’t you think your value goes much deeper than a bunch of old lies told to make people question their beliefs?
If we only look at ourselves from face value (ie. hair, skin tone, eye color, natural aptitudes and difficulties, etc) then we can’t truly see our value. Our value only becomes apparent in light of our understanding of our Author. We have a special place in history that gives us more worth than we could ever have in any other place and time. Our value could not shine at its brightest if we weren’t surrounded by the people and situations we face every day (even if it is by rising above them).
[tweetshare tweet=”Our value only becomes apparent in light of our understanding of our Author.” username=”CarolynMPereira”]
This is God’s will for us: to discover our role, our value, our beauty and our brilliance by discovering our relationship with Him.
6 Steps for Following God’s will to “be Ourselves”
- Understand who you are in the light of your creation (relationship with the Creator) – Made in the image of God, son or daughter of God, valuable, beloved – but, still human (ie. not God)
- Stop hiding (behind makeup, clothes, etc) (Read: How to be vulnerable – without being weak)
- Stop exposing too much (looking for undue pity, praise, or attention, seeking your worth in other people’s opinion of you)
- Get healthy (be strong and take care of your body) Work out, eat well, all in moderation, get enough sleep, take care of yourself without being lazy or making excuses, etc – all for the right reasons) – Read: Everything you need to know about Spiritual Fitness, Finding balance and Called to Be Fit at Life
- Nourish your soul, not just your body – Pray, listen, take time for God, grow in your relationship, fast, practice humility, patience, self-control, etc…
- Make good choices – Choose everything you do (pastimes, relationships, work, hobbies, entertainment, etc) based on how they support the first 5 steps
A new perspective on Following God’s Will
So, is following God’s will hard?
Does it challenge us? purge us? purify us? Change us? Confront us?
Does it allow us to wallow in self pity? waste time? be couch potatoes? make bad decisions? hang out with negative influences? or stay in our tiny comfort zones?
NOT SO MUCH!!!
But, does it make us happy?
This is an entirely different question!
Up until now we might have seen God as a slave owner or a taskmaster whipping us into shape to do His bidding.
But, really, what He is is a personal trainer, one who knows how our body works. One who knows which muscles we need to work out in order to get those abs we want so bad. One who kicks our butts for OUR sake, not because of some selfish motive.
Does it hurt sometimes? Of course. But how else do we get the “body”, the self, we’ve always dreamed of?
We are welcome to sabotage our progress, but He will never give up on us. He only want’s us to become the most amazing us we can be!
And, you tell me, would that make you happy???
Am I “immunizing myself” against true happiness?
Maybe God’s will for you to be yourself isn’t as flashy as you wanted it to be. Are the “hits”of exhilaration I get with each paycheck, your social media following, or random compliments from strangers putting me on an artificial “high” that plummets into depression when those things disappear? Do I think that I just need to take more vacations or buy more stuff to get my “happiness fix” and forget for a moment that I need God?
Would you rather be lazy than strong? Would you rather be comfortable, or great?
If you have never tried to become the “best-version-of-yourself”, how can you say it would not make you happy?
Read also: Perfectly Yourself – (Book) by Matthew Kelly
So, does following God’s will make you happy?
At the end of the day, you go to sleep, you are alone with your thoughts, your needs, your desires, your aspirations, your looks, yourself. Even if you are married workaholic, the only person you can never escape from is yourself.
So, if we think about our question, “Will God’s will make me happy?” in light of the fact that His most fundamental will for us is to BE the person He created us with the potential to become, the answer becomes more clear. Considering that I cannot be anyone besides who I am… as long as I want to be that person, I will be happier the closer I get and less happy the further I drift away from it.
All I have to do is WANT to be myself!
Most likely, you have no idea how amazing you really are. Let us step out without fear to discover what we are capable of, to work muscles we didn’t know we had. Let’s clean ourselves up and bring out our best so that we can discover our own beauty. You are the only one who can be who you are and offer what you have to offer.
Once we find this peace, pride, and joy in who we are, then the answer to our question becomes obvious. How did we not see it before? Happiness is even closer than right in front of my face, it’s inside my soul.
- You are Irreplaceable – and Why that Sucks
- Called to be Fit at Life – How working out can teach us about God
Comment below: What do you most struggle with in being yourself? What makes you most happy?
- Everything you need to know about Spiritual Fitness
- Why, God? – Exploring the reasons behind what God asks of us
- Broken and Beautiful: How to enjoy being yourself
- The 2 Keys to BEING yourself!
- How to See Yourself as God Sees You
- You are Irreplaceable – and Why that Sucks
- Called to be Fit at Life – How working out can teach us about God
Perfectly Yourself – (Book) by Matthew Kelly