Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Will of God

"Bloom Where Your are Planted"
- in my meditation garden -

I recently had a conversation with someone who came to me seeking some “vocational” advice. She wanted me to help her discern “the will of God” for her life, what plan had God developed for her?   I told her that I probably wouldn’t be much help because I don’t actually believe that “God” has a specific plan designed and tailored for each and every one of us.

I do not think of “God” as some sort of Super Being who sits at the great control room in the sky with blueprints for the whole world in “his” hands, a divine plan for every single individual.  In fact, as I see it, this notion of a divine master plan may actually prove to be spiritually dangerous.  If you are always looking for what “God” has “planned” for your future, you may well fall into the trap of ignoring where you are in the present.

Priest and author, Barbara Brown Taylor offers this insight:

One common problem for people who believe that
God has a particular job in mind for them
is that it is almost never the job they are presently doing.
This means that those who are busiest trying to figure out
God’s purpose for their lives
are often the least purposeful 
about the work they are already doing.

I find great truth and wisdom in this insight. From my experience, people who talk about the “will of God, trying so hard to figure out what God wants them to do with their lives, are often quite unsatisfied or bored with the life they are currently living and so they turn to dreams of some bigger and better future, a future that they think “God” has in mind for them: “God wants me to be a clergy person, or maybe even a bishop, or God wants me to get a different job or perhaps God wants me to buy that new house I’ve been looking at.”  As I see it, what is seen as “God’s will" can easily become a disguise for an individual’s personal agenda in life.

On the other hand, I do believe that “God” abides in all that happens. God is the Holy Presence, the Abiding energy of Love deeply at the core of the cosmos, intimately present to us in our own individual everyday lives. And so as I see it, the vocation of every human being is not to discern God’s will but to be “purposefully” and “intentionally” aware of God’  ever-abiding presence right in the place where we find our feet are planted when we wake up every morning and step upon the ground where we live.

When I was a college student a poster on the wall of my dorm room read:

Bloom where you are planted

All these many years later, I still think this is excellent advice. I am where I am and God is right “smack-dab” in the mix of it all. So I try to live my life every day being as aware and awake as I can possibly be to what it is that I am already doing.

In the later years of his very productive life, Thomas Merton wrote in his journal:

Finally I am coming to the conclusion
that my highest ambition is to be what I already am.


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