Thy will or I will, which is your response?

“Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.” Luke 1:38

Reread the verse above and focus on the second sentence of Mary’s response and say it out loud. What do you hear and feel as you say these words out loud? Can you feel 100% release of your will, your control to God as you speak these words?

Mary doesn’t say to God I will do your will, but she says let it be done in me. She relinquishes her whole self to God in that moment. When the angel Gabriel came to her with this message from God that she would bear a son by the Holy Spirit, she was initially frightened and afraid. In that pivotal moment, she releases it all and places herself in God’s hands.

If she would have said I will do your will, would she still have placed 100% trust in God? Would she have allowed God to perform His work in her through Jesus? Would she have remained afraid or released her fear of what God was asking and about to accomplish through her? Just as you reread Mary’s response out loud, say I will do your will. How does both phrases speak to you? Does one lift heaviness from your chest and shoulders? Does the other phrase give you a sense of control, everything is still in your court?  Do you feel more comfortable with one over the other.

I think our human nature, feels very comfortable when we feel we have a sense of control.  Sometimes by holding on to this need to feel in control, we miss out on opportunities of God transforming us into a better version of ourselves, better disciples for His Kingdom on earth.

When you say to God, “your will be done in me”, you are giving Him all the freedom to mold you and your life. You are also freeing yourself from the chains of your self control, your self will.

Have you ever said something like this – “I wish I were a kid again so that I wouldn’t have the responsibility and someone else took care of everything”? If you answered yes, like me, isn’t it a bit ironic because God is right there asking you daily to surrender your will to Him. He is waiting for you to release your shackles of self control to Him and say “let it be done according to your will”. He wants to take care of your every needs as your Father.  All you have to do is allow Him.

Are you telling God you will do His will or are you asking Him to accomplish His will in you? If you struggle with releasing yourself and trusting God, meditate on the Annunciation and look to Mary, the Blessed Mother as a role model of trust in God.

Is your life a game of Twister?

“My son, if you receive my words and treasure my commands, turning your ear to wisdom, inclining your heart to understanding; Yes, if you call for intelligence, and to understanding raise your voice; If you seek her like silver, and like hidden treasures search her out, then will you understand the fear of the LORD; the knowledge of God you will find;” Proverbs 2:1-5

Ever feel like your life is like a game of Twister?  It’s twisted in this direction and that direction – your mind on green and your feet crisscrossed on red and blue, while one hand is behind your back and the other moving forward?  Do you most often feel like this when you are not looking to God for discernment and help?

It may seem easy to spin the arrow in life and land on a color and then another and img_2271before you know it, you find yourself in a mangle that leads to off balance and a tumble.  On the opposing side, if you take a few minutes to pray asking for wisdom and understanding, you may just find that your mind, hands and feet are all in alignment.

Over the years, I’ve been learning a lot about discernment, trusting and conforming to God’s will through the wisdom of others more seasoned in their faith and through reading books that just seem to fall into my lap.  It’s definitely been a slow process. I feel like I’m still in the elementary school of discernment, with a graduation date that is beyond my horizon and into eternity.

When I first began reading about discernment, I thought some giant NEON sign would just appear to me telling me what to do.  WRONG!  Now, I am beginning to realize that discernment has a lot to do with being present and observing things around me, the encounter of God through all things.  As I move through this journey of discernment, I’ve begun to pay more attention.

Often the things I read speak directly to what God is wanting me to do or see in a particular situation. When I need to work on forgiveness and relationships, everything I seem to get my hand on talks about forgiveness and my own faults. When I am worried and full of anxieties, I pick up devotions or read random verses on peace, rest and God’s will.
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I also see things around me that cause me to ponder and connect my circumstance and God’s guidance. When I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders and feel I can’t carry it no longer, I notice an ant carrying something that is 20-100 times it’s weight and realize the strength of God carrying the weight on my shoulders.  When I am troubled, I see a cross displayed before my eyes and I’m reminded of the peace and rest found in Christ.

When I am in tune to hearing God, listening to others, songs or peace around tend to guide me to think more and seek more understanding. Often when I am seeking wisdom and guidance, I hear lyrics to a song so much clearer. If I’m afraid, they tell me that “fear is a liar”. When I need strength I’m reminded that “I am a warrior”. When I need to trust, I hear “thy will be done”. When I am not including God I hear He “will always be the king of the world”.

Most recently, I was experiencing difficulties in my relationship with my daughter.  I prayed for direction and also for God’s will in our relationship and in both our hearts.  Each day, there was something subtle that popped up pointing me in the direction in which God wanted me to handle the situation with my daughter.  I conformed to this and today I feel that we have repaired a part of our relationship I felt was breaking. Prior to asking God, I was spinning and the colors I was landing on were not coming out the way I had hoped. I found myself knotted like a strand of Christmas lights that had been in storage for a while. Not a place you want to be in a key relationship in your life. Something had to change, I had to seek guidance and let God spin for me and guide me in accordance with His will.

THE MOST VALUABLE LESSON I’m learning is that my self compass is not better than God’s.  When I pray for His will to be done, I am not disappointed in the outcome.  When I don’t, I find myself wondering where God is and when He will answer my prayers.

When you take time to pray, asking God to spin the spinner for you, you will be less tangled, less unstable by the mangle of spinning the arrow and listening to your own selfish guidance.  Give it a shot and just may be your feet and your hands will line up and not be twisted this way and that way.

Your Will be Done

Have you ever heard a song that spoke volumes to you?  The lyrics in the song, described your life perfectly at that moment?  Or may be the lyrics helped you to learn something about yourself or your situation, past or present?  Or may be God just has something He wants you to hear and reflect on?

I’ve often heard people say that songs are a form of prayer.  Rightfully true, I think.  We can gain so much wisdom from a song.  Some songs can literally cause us to drop to our knees or open the flood gates of our tear ducts.

Over the last few days, I’ve been wrestling with understanding God’s will and conforming to it.  Trying to understand things of my past and what God has done in me through it.  One of the big questions that I’ve been trying to unpack is God being the author of all things, good and bad.  This morning as I turned on the radio, the song by Hillary Scott, “Thy Will be Done,” was playing.  The story behind this song is a story of loss.  In the song, she finds acceptance of the pain and attributes it to God, knowing that He has good plans for her even in this moment of brokenness and hurt.  She does this by calling out in prayer with “these four words – thy will be done”.

Many people would not like to think that God can be the author of pain and suffering in our lives.  Although He does not take part in our choice to sin or that of others, He does allow circumstances of those sins to affect us.  Also, if we unpack it more, we see that God is a good God and He sees and know all that is best for us and this is His ultimate plan in our lives.  In that plan, there could be pain and suffering that is ultimately better for us.

  • If He knows that something, say money, has become deadly to your soul or your happiness, He may bring hardship up on you or allow a thief to rob you to save your soul and bring a greater joy into your life.
  • Perhaps you find out one day that you have a terminal illness.  Rather than give you a few more years on this earth, He would prefer you come home to Him in a greater glory than what is present here.
  • Perhaps your friend you confided in is no longer there for you.  Rather than confide in a friend, He is wanting you to come to Him with your worries and concerns or He may send another soul to help you bare this burden.
  • Perhaps you have lost a child.  Rather than that child suffer greatly on this earth, God has called him/her home to dance amongst the angels.
  • Even in circumstances of sin, He delivers goodness, if you open your heart and follow His will to receive it.

I ask is it not God that is the author of it all, the painter of His masterpiece?  Lamentations 3:38, “Is it not at the word of the most High that both good and bad take place?”

In Job 1:21, he attributes his misfortune to God when he says “the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away”.  In Isaiah 45:7, God says “I form the light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe; I the Lord do all these things.”  In Deuteronomy 32:39, He tells us “I alone, am He, and there is no God besides me.  It is I who bring both death and life.  I who inflict wounds and heal them and from my hand no one can deliver.”

God is in control, the author, of all things in your life, even when you think you are.  The only thing that He is absent of is your choice to sin.

Nothing can exist or happen without Him allowing it.  The final outcome of all things is goodness for you, even when it doesn’t seem so, when it hurts and it’s difficult.  You may be confused, you may not understand all the things you are struggling with, but He does.  He knows the outcome, the best plan for you.  “We know that all things work for good for those who love God,” Romans 8:28.

If you choose to accept all things in your life attributed to an all knowing and all loving God that has the best plans for you in this life and the next, then you will always have a life of peace and happiness, even in the greatest trials of your life.  “Thy will be done.”

In closing – a quote by St. Augustine, “All that happens to us in this world against our will (whether due to men or to other causes) happens to us only by the will of God, by the disposal of Providence, by His orders and under His guidance; and if from the frailty of our understanding we cannot grasp the reason for some event, let us attribute it to Divine Providence, show Him respect by accepting it from His hand, believe firmly that He does not send it [to] us without cause.”