In yesterday’s blog, I discussed some recommendations for listening to God when you are attempting to make a decision. I received the following comment from a reader in response to my entry:
I know exactly what you mean but, when we want answers to important issues and we feel we are under pressure, what happens is that we become anxious and try to force the issue. I have found that when God is silent it is often because he is unable to answer my question because I am asking the wrong question or asking in the wrong way. Your key phrase for me is ‘I’ll present Him with a few alternatives…’ The key is not asking for clarification – the key is the opposite. It is ‘letting go’. My God, that is easier said than done but it is absolutely fundamental. It may be that your ideas of the future are totally wrong. It may be that He is thinking outside the box and has something different for you. It may be that it doesn’t ultimately matter which one you choose because in the end, whatever choice you make will not be the wrong choice as long as your heart is right with Him. He will honor it. Just say ‘Show me Lord’ and I guarantee He will answer because he never fails to answer that plea. Suddenly the Bible and the Missal will speak to you. Suddenly a complete stranger will say a phrase and you will feel as if a spear has just gone through your chest.
After reading this eloquent and thought-provoking response, I felt the need to clarify what I was attempting to say. The idea of presenting alternatives to God is part of an iterative process and not done only once. Developing these alternatives involves prayer and discernment. Many times you’ll get some ideas, pray about them – and decide that none of them feels right. It’s then time to go “back to the drawing board” and wait for some more ideas. If you don’t get any, it’s possible that God doesn’t want you to make any changes. As the reader points out, we also need to be open to unexpected options. The key is to listen to God’s quiet voice as He gives you direction. Eventually His plan will become clear…as long as we listen.