How does one hear God's will?


#1

Hi Everyone,

I am currently in a situaton where I have to make a very major life decision. (I am not comfortable posting the details because you never really know who is on the internet)

Nonetheless here are my 2 options

1-) Stay where I am in a situation that is really not all that bad on the surface but on the inside I resent. I would constantly 'fool' myself with statements like 'It really isn't that bad' and 'I can't exect to have it all' and constantly pray to God to take my resentments away

2-) Make a change in my life where I could not easily go back to option 1 (or perhaps never go back to option 1) and hope it works out for the best. However, on the surface option 2 does not sound as safe as 1 and could potentially have some risks.

The Catholic in me believes I should pray for God's will. The human in me just wants to take option 2 and hope for the best. I find myself convincing myself that option 2 will work out.

My concern is, I so desparatly want option 2 that God could speak into a loud speaker in my home and I would not hear Him say 'Stick with option 1 CM, I will take care of you'

I am mature enough to know that no matter what I choose, I will always have issues and need to grow and that option 2 will not be an escape from myself. But yet I still want option 2 even if it means continuing to honestly see my real self eveytime I look in the mirror.

When I was younger I use to think that one little mistake and I would be doomed for life and be miserable forever. Now, I am kind of hoping that if I take option 2 and it is the biggest mistake of my life, God will still be there to take care of me in the end.

So, the question is: What do others do when they really want to hear God and how do they know it is genuinly God's voice?

Thanks

CM


#2

what do I do?
resume or rev up my prayer life, particularly prayer with scripture, which I am supposed to be doing, but to which I am not faithful.

Once I have been back in this habit even for a short time it seems decision making, planning, things for which I am responsible simply become easier and go more smoothly and I am operating in my life more productively.

For a big life change--career, marriage, move--an Ignatian retreat with a solid director is invaluable. there are self-guided retreats in books based on the Ignatian execises, but the input of a good director is IMO essential.

I think your instinct is very sound to resolve, no matter what choice you make, to make seeking God's will a priority and to work on trust in God, and on releasing resentments and recriminations.


#3

The significant distinction between the mature and the immature, adult and child, is that the child asks of himself, “what do I want to do?” whereas the mature adult asks, “what do I need to do?” Unfortunately mothers tend to raise children in such a way as to reinforce the habit of asking of what one wants rather than what one needs. The father was the one who represented the demand to attend to need before desire (which is why fathers have been under such attack in recent years).

There are 2 basic blockages that prevent someone from “hearing God”;

  1. lack of humility - attending too much to want, preference, and desire
  2. living in a cloud of obfuscation

The idea of prayer is to return to humility enough to see through the clouds while still being aware of the winds within the clouds, the pressures within the confusion. But to become humble overnight is a bit like learning to play the piano overnight. If you learn to play the piano really well, you can go without playing it for a long time and quickly pick it up again, but if you never really learned it well, you have to go through the process of learning.

Within a cloud, it does little good to try to follow mere instincts as they will lead in a variety of directions based on what you see within that cloud. To escape the cloud, one must follow a more straight path. That means having faith in a path and sticking to it regardless of urges and desires. Your problem is one of deciding on a path, a faith. But even after making that decision (assuming you gained such discipline), there would be a time of endurance and what felt like struggle against your own habits of asking what you want and being urged by those wants. The point of baptism is to help clear those urges away so as to make the journey easier. Humility is still the requirement even if trying to hear God wasn’t the concern.

You cannot see clearly until you escape the cloud. You cannot escape the cloud until you decide on having faith in a path. How do you decide on a path when you cannot see the map? That is where following a church leadership comes in. You follow the advice of others who you believe can see better than you. That is an issue of faith in a leadership that is itself trying to “hear God” and has any desire to actually, really help you.

So there you have it;

  1. Exercise humility in both attending to true needs and following a leader
  2. Decide who you are going to listen to and have faith in the longer range goal.

Hearing and seeing for yourself comes later. :wink:


#4

It sounds like you want to hear from God but you’re afraid of what He might tell you.

Perhaps you need to approach this in another way. Instead of telling God, “Here are my two choices. Please tell me which of them is Your will but I don’t want it to be option 1 and I really really don’t know if I can accept Your will in that case but…” Go to God with more trust in Him. Consider that He loves you incredibly much. He really wants what is best for you. He really knows you and your whole situation. He knows what you’re going through now and what you can handle. Open your heart to Him. Ask Him for guidance in discerning and choosing the right path.

For some people putting the choices on paper with pros and cons for each is helpful.

Sometimes other people can help us discern what may be best. Don’t be too proud to ask for help in this decision from someone else. Ask God to guide you to the right person.

When you finally come to a decision you may not feel absolute certainty but, if it is from God you should have a feeling of peace about it.

On the other hand, God does give us second chances (and third, fourth, fifth, etc.). We don’t have to make perfect decisions.

You may wish to consider:

Do either of these options involve doing something sinful? If so, you have your answer right there! It’s not God’s will so don’t choose it!

Does it involve breaking a vow or promise? If so, can you ask to be released from the vow or promise?

Is anyone other than yourself affected by your decision? If so, what are your obligations toward this person? Is there a way that you could make things easier on this person? Should this person be a part of the discernment process? For example, if you are married and are thinking about changing your job, the situation is more complicated than if you are single.

However, if you’re engaged and thinking about breaking the engagement, you surely shouldn’t marry if you’re uncertain about it; your main consideration has to be yourself.

And if you’re contemplating getting married, be sure to take lots of time during the engagement to know each other very well.

You seem to feel that ‘God’s will’ might be option 1. Is there a real reason for thinking He wants you to stay in a situation you resent? (Maybe so, but don’t assume that.)

Option 2 doesn’t sound as safe as option 1. In what way? Why do you think God would want you to play it safe?

If you choose either option, what is the ‘worst case scenario’ for each? How would you react to that?

Is there a third or fourth option you may be missing?

You wrote:
[FONT=Arial]When I was younger I use to think that one little mistake and I would be doomed for life and be miserable forever. Now, I am kind of hoping that if I take option 2 and it is the biggest mistake of my life, God will still be there to take care of me in the end.

[size=4]You can surely have confidence in that! [/size][/FONT]


#5

You know, cmscms, I personally think you should stick with option 1. It sounds a lot safer, and the fact that you don’t like it offers you a great opportunity to unite yourself to the sufferings of Christ. You can offer up in sacrifice the discomfort you’re going through and learn to dwell in Christ’s words to the Father at Gethsemane, “Thy will be done.” You could also offer the resentment up as a sacrifice to God continually. Accepting discomfort or the defeat of one’s own will for Christ is highly meritous in Heaven and can bring us great perfection on Earth if through it we truly learn to abandon ourselves.

I’m remembering St. Frances of Rome. There are quite a few articles about her on Google. I recommend praying to her about this decision. She went through such struggles between her will and God’s will, and discernment also was sometimes a very painful and difficult process. I recommend strongly praying to her, and I think you might find a blessing some of the articles online about her.

Of course I don’t have any real say in your decision, and I’m not you and I don’t know what you’re facing. Do what you think is best. But I do recommend keeping in mind that you can offer up your discomfort and resentment to God and try to accept what He gives you in your state of life willingly for His sake. And also pray to St. Frances of Rome as you make your decision.

The book, “Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence” is a very good Catholic read. It talks about how the duties of our current state of life should always be embraced with joy for Christ, because He gives us our state of life. It proceeds from Him because He thinks it will help us grow in Him (provided, of course, it is not sinful or a cause to sin). He allows us to receive it either according to His permissive will or His affective will and we need to respond to all things as proceeding from Him and as the best thing for us at the time. As St. Paul writes, “In all things, God works to the good of those who love Him.”

I’m pretty lousy at fulfilling my duties at times and I beat myself up over that a lot, so I have a long way to go in fulfilling the self-abandonment book’s teaching. But I do recognize the teaching as beautiful and good, and I’m trying to accomplish it in spite of my great weaknesses.

Aside from accepting all things life gives me for the sake of Christ, I try also to unite my will as fully as I can with the will of God as revealed by the Church and the Gospel message. I listen to His words in Mass as His words directly speaking to me, and I try to listen to the advice of people superior to me in experience and/or authority.


#6

Here’s a great post I read from another member of the forum which might touch on this issue. The advice at the end of his post looks especially fitting, where he talks about how the remedy is to work on offering thanksgiving for all the good things we have.


#7

I want to thank everyone for their input. To shed a bit more light on the situation let me explain my though process.

My mom always advised me to take the safe route rather than take risks. She always says dont go from the frying pan into the fire. I think it is her issue of fear. For example, if as a teenager I had plans to go to a movie with a friend and they stood me up, I would tell my mom that I planned on telling that friend that if that is how they treat me I wont make plans with them again. My mom would caution me that perhaps someday at school, I would have no one to sit with at lunch and I would regret what I said and to continue to make plans with that person. She really ingrained in my to never make changes. If I don`t choose option 1, I would feel guilty that I was going against my upbringing.

The reason I dont trust option 2 is I have trouble believing Gods will could actually be something so great. It is almost as if I can`t believe such good fortune is coming my way. However, I am wise enough to recognize option 2 is not the answer to ALL my prayers, just a few of them. I also know that option 2 could bring a lot of work and discomfort at firts and choosing option 1 lets me be lazy in the short term.

In order for me to be able to choose option 2, a few external factors have to happen. I am at the point where I just want to tell God, if the external factors happen, I will take that to mean Your will is option 2 and if they don`t I will not try to force things and accept option 1.

For example (and this is not what my decisions are they are simply an example). Lets say a real great house comes up for sale. And I DESPARATELY want to buy it. Becoming a homeowner brings a lot of responsibility. I might want to stick with option 1 because while renting I have minimal responsibilities. But perhaps God thinks I am more suited in the house because there is work for me to do in that neighbourhood and He doesnt want me to be lazy. And this house is my dream home. So, along with eveyonen else who wants the house I make and offer knowing the seller will take the highest price. I know my finances in and out and the most I could ever afford to pay is $100,000. So I make the offer of $100,000. If that is the hihgest offer and I get the house, I say to myself buying that house must be Gods willand I buy the house. If someone makes a better offer and I dont get the house, I say to myself ìt obviously wasnt Gods will I will pray to accept living in an appartment`

Does that sound logical to anyone else

Thanks

CM


#8

Sure, seems to make sense.

I personally am in no position to advise you on this, but I’ll say a prayer for you that you’ll make the best decision. I don’t know what kind of topic this is, whether it’s financial, love, spiritual, or anything else, but I’d just recommend seeking out an advisor or two who you know and trust and who are experienced in this area you’re looking into. For big decisions, it’s always good to have more people’s input, if they’re people who know what they’re talking about. Not that we’re bound by their advice, but it’s just helpful to have more information and more heads thinking together.


#9

Pray the Rosary and you’ll soon figure what God’s will in your life is. God Bless! :gopray2:


#10

In my life, I think that God's will is that I love Him above all else and love others as myself. He wants me to keep his commandments and live according to His church's teachings. If I pray and try to improve my relationship with God, then I will receive his blessings.

Things that seem very important to me at the moment, may not be important at all. Even large decisions such as career changes, marriages, etc. are not important in the sense that they will not effect my ability to live a life through which I can do God's work to the best of my ability. There are people who get messages from God. I am not one of them. God usually does not send direct messages unless it is something really big ie "Become a priest".

For me, I make the best decision based upon the information that I have, make sure that my motives are not selfish and will not hurt anyone, then have faith.


#11

The best way to hear God's will is to go and spend some time with Him! Go to the Blessed Sacrament & spend some serious time with the Lord - every day if you can. Talk to Him, and then make sure that you leave some time to listen to the answer! If you're like me, you'll likely want to do most of the talking - but Christ knows why you've come to visit Him, so you really don't have to say much! For quite some time, each time I would genuflect on passing the Blessed Sacrament I would simply ask the Lord what it was I was supposed to be doing with my life... in time the answer just became clearer and clearer, and finally I acted on what the Lord was telling me. I think you should do the same; you'll know the right answer in your heart.


#12

Here is a link to a short online book that you can read on this topic - familyland.typepad.com/mercy/68-alone-with-god.html

read this and YOU will become the ‘expert’ to help others . . .:thumbsup:

-G


#13

I am reminded of something Thomas Merton wrote once:

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think 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. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

                                                                   - Thomas Merton.

#14

frjacquesphilippe.com/themes/gods_calls.html

frjacquesphilippe.com/themes/spiritual_discernment.html

Two books that get into it...

frjacquesphilippe.com/books/called_to_life.html

frjacquesphilippe.com/books/school_ofthe_holyspirit.html


#15

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