“Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am.”- Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak
“Trust in the LORD with all you heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”- Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
In Chapter 10 (“Vocation: Discerning Our Sacred Calling”) of Survival Guide for the Soul, Ken Shigematsu observes what happens when we spend time with God in prayer. As a result, we deepen our relationship with Him. Above all, we become more attentive to the small signs of guidance He brings into our life. Even if we must look back to notice them.
While in his mid-fifties, Leo Tolstoy reexamined his life priorities. Although rich and famous, Tolstoy realized his life failed to align with God’s values. Hence, as Tolstoy contemplated the way of Christ, he found that Jesus offered him a paradox. That if Tolstoy found his true life in God as he released his grip on the life he’d built for himself.
However, we may hesitate to surrender completely to God’s will because we find ourselves afraid of where He’ll lead us. Consequently, we want God to show His hand before we decide to follow His purpose for our life. Or, we present a counteroffer.
Therefore, St. Ignatius of Loyola outlines three degrees of humility that provide a helpful, yet challenging path of surrender to God’s plan:
- Truly surrender to God – this initial state of surrender prepares us for God’s guidance.
- Complete openhandedness to God – completely open to God’s will, we seek detachment from our preferences. Then we’re completely free to do the will of God.
- Free ourselves from an exaggerated sense of self-importance: we seek to liberate ourselves from a worldly, superficial way of measuring success.
In conclusion, Ken stresses, it’s most important that we respond to God’s calling. No matter what that calling is or where it takes us.
Today’s question: What Bible verses help you to listen to my life telling me who I am? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Make space to listen to God – spend the time”