Michelle Hamel discusses the importance of seeking God's will for each moment of our daily lives.
In our individualistic, self-centered culture, even many of us Christians might focus more on what we want to do in life than seek how God wants us to serve him. We might come up with our amazing plans and then ask God to help us accomplish those goals we set for ourselves. Mary, however, was not like that. She models the virtue of devotion. She wanted to live her life serving not her own will but God’s, pursuing not her own dreams but the Lord’s. She surrendered her life to the Lord’s plan. It was as if she woke up each morning and asked God, How do you want me to use my life this day to serve you? (Dr. Edward Sri, The Art of Living, 209)
I’ve been slowly reading Dr. Sri’s book in Adoration since our parish gave them out for Christmas. The paragraph I just shared is my favorite from the book so far. It resonates with me. Why? Well, I feel like the concept of surrendering my life to God’s plan and letting go of self-sufficiency and control has been a major focus for me this year.
I’ve spent the last year and a half working with a Catholic therapist to journey through the trauma my family has been living through over the last several years. So much of our time together has been spent focusing on living in the moment, tools to calm the fear and anxiety that kept me in a constant state of fight or flight, and trying to process through all the hard feelings of the past few years while also navigating the twists and turns of everyday life that often gets thrown at us. It’s been a long, slow journey.
It’s taken a lot of time, but I’ve finally reached a place where I have some better perspective and more moments of peace. As much as I pray that repentance, resolution, and healing will happen one day, (and I pray a lot for that intention!), I've gotten more successful at keeping my focus on the present moment. I’m working hard to discern God’s will for me daily in my life, especially the right balance between serving my family and being honest about my own needs (which isn’t an easy thing for me).
Difficult times in life are part of all our journeys. It’s hard not to want to rush through the pain to get to the other side. Allowing God to set the pace of the journey isn’t easy to do because, spoiler alert, His timetable is usually very different from ours. So is His GPS … I would often prefer that circumstances in my life take a path that’s very different than the one God has me on.
As much as I’d prefer to avoid the longer path, there are lessons that God wants me to learn on the journey. It’s a time to learn patience and fortitude. Most of all, the hard journey is an opportunity to practice leaning in on God and to rely on His strength instead of my own. It’s an opportunity to increase our trust in God, which I always find comes with lots of growing pains!
There are a lot of lessons to be learned in a longer journey: if we skip too quickly to the end we would miss out. Missing out doesn’t seem so bad when the pain and grief we feel threaten to drown us, or when God’s promise that He can bring good out of any situation doesn’t seem possible for our brokenness. But God provides along the way. He sends consolation through His Word. He sends His love through a text from a friend, a quote on your social media feed that gives you encouragement, a song that touches your heart, or a meaningful podcast or blogpost at just the right time.
It is the Lord who goes before you; he will be with you and will never fail you or forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:8)
Not running ahead of God in the journey is important … and a hard lesson to learn. In the past, God has shed a small amount of light on the direction I’m supposed to go and instead of taking one small step, I’m racing off like the gun just got fired at the starting block as I wave behind me saying, “Thanks, God, I’ve got this now!” It never, ever ends well!
I’ve also had to work hard on not having a scarcity mindset. If God has provided the knowledge and the means for one small step, I need to wait and trust that He will provide for whatever my next step is supposed to be.
I think St. Gianna Molla’s words are the goal:
As to the past, let us entrust it to God’s Mercy, the future to Divine Providence. Our task is to live holy the present moment.
May Mary, who lived her life in God’s Will at every moment, help us to know God’s will for each step of our lives and encourage us along the journey.
Copyright 2023 Michelle Hamel
About the Author
Michelle is a wife, mom of eight, and grammy of 3 (with more on the way!). She spends her time reading, writing, and searching for good recipes to cook for her growing family. Her favorite things to do include spending quiet time in Adoration, shopping for baby clothes, and planning vacations. She loves to write about topics that feel God-inspired in order to encourage and comfort women. Michelle blogs at Normal Chaos.