When I’m actively trying to do God’s will, I often have bouts of confusion, frustration and sadness. I’m guessing this is because I’m not exactly sure what God’s will is for me so I get confused and frustrated from not knowing what exactly i’m supposed to be doing. I feel like the general answer for this is to read more spiritual books and pray more (which I am working on) so that I can figure out what God’s will for me is, but what should I do as a short term relief for these bouts? And in general, if you have other advice, how can I get to the point where I am happy doing God’s will?
I struggle along similar lines. There are many days where following God is confusing. I question my purpose and identity during those times. The best thing I’ve personally discovered so far is to view such days as an opportunity to demonstrate your faith. It is easy to follow God when we know and see what He is doing in our lives. But it is hard to follow God when we do not know and do not see what He is doing in our lives.
Jesus once said “blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have faith.” Have faith when you do not see, and Jesus will count you as one of the blessed.
I agree with the struggle. We usually don’t get the booming voice from the Heavens telling us what to do. It would be a lot easier if we did!
So are we left helpless? No.
Honestly, if you’re striving to follow God, there isn’t only one prescribed path you must follow and if you miss it, you’re doomed. That is what my old Protestant churches taught.
Commit your life to Him, ask Him to guide your every step, and then actually step out in faith.
Do you feel drawn to college? To the religious life? To a trade school? What are your gifts and interests? Where do you feel led? What makes your pulse race in excitement?
Don’t be so afraid of making the wrong choices that you make no choices at all. If you start down a road and it starts to close down and God shuts all the doors in your face, then take a look around for a different path or open window.
But I know how it feels to be stuck when you don’t feel a clear calling. So go out and do something. Step off the ledge in a big leap of faith and trust that God will be with you no matter what, because He is.
Live for Him in all you do, listen to the whispers of the Spirit, and follow the desire of your heart that He has placed in you.
I heard Fr Riccardo say something this morning about how our lives don’t belong to us, they belong to God, and that we will find fulfillment when we find our path of service. I can’t find the link to his talk, but it was a great message.
I’m getting the impression nowadays that people fret too much about figuring out God’s will.
If God has a specific will that you do something, He will make it pretty clear. You might not get the booming voice from heaven, but he will put whatever it is in your path and make it hard for you to miss it.
I didn’t want to get married, but he put the guy I was supposed to marry in the next cube from me at work where I saw him all the time and then seemingly kept fixing things so no matter who I was trying to date I ended up back with this guy who I married.
If you pray and make an effort to be close to God, you don’t have to worry too hard whether you’re doing His will. If you’re not sure about something, just pray over it, ask God to guide you or tell you, and He will. It’s not rocket science.
Yes, through prayer and Scripture reading, the Catechism reading, we understand more the will of God.
God even speaks to our hearts, through circumstances, through people, through the events of life, and often our biggest problem is the inability to listen.
Obedience to our superiors is a good way of doing God’s will. You should only disobey if it is contrary to Church teaching or some other good reason.
First we must not worry about knowing the will of good pleasure of God (ie the decrees that God has chosen in his providence), but only what God wants us to do (his hypothetical will ).
And what God wants us to do is the most obvious thing! God wants us to follow his commandments and his counsels, and his commandments and his counsels are perfectly known, they are even engraved in the conscience of every man.
I personally think that this kind of worry about God’s will is that we are afraid of being wrong! but to be wrong is not a sin, so we should not be afraid of that.
For example, we sin when we do not follow the rules of prudence before making a decision. We can follow the rules of prudence and be mistaken in the end, just as we can not follow the rules of prudence but in the end we are not mistaken. So when one is faced with a situation that is not obvious, one must follow the rules of prudence, and doing that one does the will of God, no matter whether in the end one is mistaken or not after.
Don’t worry about being happy when you’re doing God’s will. Just do God’s will. What could go wrong?
As I see it, you ask two questions. First, how can you know God’s Will as it applies to your life? And second, how can you be happy doing it?
As to the first question, knowing what God’s Will is for you is not a matter of “thinking it through”, or “reading up on it”, nor any other kind of mental process where you weigh multiple possibilities against each other and pick the course of action that appears to be “best”. It isn’t supposed to be that “mental”. Knowing God’s Will is an intuitive thing. Go with what seems right when you don’t think about it so much. If you feel you’re not very good at that, spend more time in prayer – in fact as much as you can. You may or may not want to ask God explicitly (in prayer) to reveal His Will to you; sometimes it’s best to pray silently, i.e. just being in God’s Presence. This alone will strengthen your intuition over time, and will make you more confident and less confused about deciding on a right course of action. Also, bear in mind that doing God’s Will is not the same as doing what leads to the best results. Sometimes God leads us a little way down the wrong path in order that we may learn from that. In simple terms: if you’ve decided what to do, and it doesn’t turn out well, or different from what you expected or were hoping for, don’t scold yourself for having made the wrong choice. It may well have been the right thing to do even if it didn’t turn out that well. Take is as a learning experience and move on from there.
Second, as to how to be happy when doing God’s Will: happiness in this world is not necessarily what God wants for us. Sure, we may experience some happiness occassionally, but this isn’t the goal: the goal is our Salvation, which means escape from this world to move on to a much better one – preferably Paradise. Excessive happiness isn’t necessarily healthy on the spiritual path, because it creates new attachments and may prevent your further progress. So: enjoy happiness when it occurs, but don’t expect it, and definitely don’t make it your goal. The goal is to do the right thing (i.e. in accordance with God’s Will), not necessarily the thing that currently gives you happiness.
Our Lord Jesus told us to love God with all our heart and soul and to love our neighbour as we love ourselves (care for our neighbour as we care for ourselves). So those two things are what we should be trying to do. Now what else we do can be done in the spirit of these two things and when we do we get happy.
Someone else suggested going where you feel you should go and do what you feel you should do. We are guided always and you can serve God in many ways in many many professions and walks of life.
Theres a joke about a man who is drowning in a flood ( not a funny prospect I know) and he prays to God to be saved and believes that God will save him. A lot floats by with a man on who shouts “quick grab the log!” But the man shouts back “no God will save me.” Then a rowing boat comes nearby and someone shouts “quick grab hold! “ but the man shouts “no God will save me.” Then a helicopter comes by and a man on a winch shouts “ grab hold and we’ll pull you up!” But the man says “no God will save me.” He drowns and meets his maker and asks “oh Lord, why did you not save me?” You can guess the rest I think.
Apologies if this offends anyone.
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