Passamaquoddy Bay, Maine
“If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self.” - Napoleon Hill
“I came to learn that God never shows us something we aren't ready to understand. Instead, He lets us see what we need to see, when we need to see it. He'll wait until our eyes and hearts are open to Him, and then when we're ready, He will plant our feet on the path that's best for us...but it's up to us to do the walking.” -Immaculee Ilibagiza
I was recently asked the question: “What is the difference between when you are living in God’s will or your own self will?” I am not at a level of spirituality that I could give anything close to a complete answer, but I can make some observations.
There are really two questions here – there is the difference as I feel it in the moment and the difference in the outcomes that I can only see in retrospect.
In the big picture, I can say that following the intuitive voice and the guidance of others who work to connect brings me things of lasting value. I am never “late” nor am I ever “early,” I am where I am supposed to be all the time. I am not only able to meet calamity with serenity, there is no more calamity. For example, today I locked my keys in my car – and of course I had an appointment to be met in a short while. My first thought as I shut the door and realized both they and my wallet were inside was “Ok, God, who am I supposed to meet in the process of trying to get back in the car?” Soon enough, a fellow came along who had a piece of wire and we were in the car. A conversation ensued, and a few things he is struggling with came up. We agreed to meet Sunday, I left and the “appointment” I was now late for showed up just after I did.
If this were an isolated incident I would be grateful for my “luck.” But it is not – these things happen numerous times each day when I am following God’s will. Often when I ask for guidance it is the thing that I don’t want to do that God asks me to do. Two days ago this was walking away from a place where I would be fed, had a bedroom to use and a shower available. I could easily delay moving on to the next town for a day – besides it was raining. I quieted myself and got the answer to move on. I called a man who mentors me to get his input, and he said without hesitation “You have got to go.” I did, and as a result I met a professor at a university that I would not have otherwise met, and we had a conversation on a spiritual level I have never had before.
Meaningful coincidences about when I am in God’s will – one of the “trail markers” God gives me is the number 1111. When I am in that “zone” I will see it constantly – even on broken clocks. When I am running the show I quit seeing it. There is much more – to those that have not been in that zone or witnessed these thing through one who is I would risk making you think I am manufacturing stories by going on.
On the other side of the coin is self-will. Besides all the meaningful coincidences being gone, there are other big signs I am in self-will. The first is that I immediately start wanting more – more of everything. It might be better camera gear, a better vehicle, more food, more money, more friendship, more more more. And I start plotting about how I can get these things I “need.” And when I do get them, guess what I want? Still more.
I start catching myself projecting into the future. I start having conversations with people who are not present. By that I don’t mean schizophrenic conversation – I mean that I start practicing what I am going to say or re-playing old conversations in my head. I find my thoughts on tomorrow, on next week, next year or beyond, and either start scheming grand schemes or decide that what I am doing isn’t worth it. I start looking for the “hidden meaning” in what others say, sure that they are manipulating things to their benefit. I get judgmental, and I start holding grudges. Soon, if I am not thinking about the future I am rehashing the past and either beating myself up or nursing resentments.
It really is this starkly black-and-white. God’s will gives me peace and meaning. Self-will gives me fear, guilt fantasies and anger. God’s will gives me a deep appreciation of my fellows – I feel I can connect with them at the deepest level possible. My will has me sick of people in general – myself included.
Yes, on a regular basis I find myself heading back into self-will – I want to be the director of the show. But today I do everything I can to catch it quickly, and when I realize I am I DO NOT beat myself up. I once again accept that I am a human being living on a journey over which I have little control, I laugh at myself and I do whatever it takes to get back into positive action.
Skeptical? Get on your knees and ask how – quit asking “give me” and start asking “show me.” Then quiet yourself, do the next right thing and the next thing right and watch what happens. God always shows up.
Today, may I stay the course.
Be present for life today !!