In terms of Spiritual Growth, surrendering our will to God can be challenging at times. As imperfect beings, not all of our desires are in alignment with God’s plan. Sometimes we wish for things that are not in the Highest Good for ourselves nor others who may be affected by our desire. Even Jesus Christ, himself, once asked the Father, “If it be thy Will, please let this cup pass from me.” But yet, He gave up his will, for something that was better for all involved. Abraham, also, was willing to sacrifice his son, the love and joy of his life, to follow God’s will.
How many times do we have situations where we want something so much and something different happens. We have certain expectations and when those expectations are not fulfilled, we feel let down, discouraged, unhappy, angry, frustrated, etc. But then time passes and somehow we get through the situation and as we look back at it months or even years down the road, it becomes very clear that the things that DID happen were part of the plan that you were meant to go through. For example, you realize that the “other” job you took rather than the one you really wanted was, in fact, the best way for you to go. Or you realize that the suffering you experienced from the death of a loved one really taught you things you couldn’t have learned any other way. Or perhaps, the person that offended you and hurt you so badly was really the catalyst for you to develop more forgiveness in your life.
In each of these challenges, God provides a way for something better to come of it as long as we turn to Him. But how many times do we allow ourselves to wallow in the mire of self-pity and despair? We blame God or even deny His existence as we say, “Surely, if there was a God, He wouldn’t have allowed for this thing to happen”. Well, that’s frankly not true because God has given each of us the gift of free agency, the freedom to make choices and sometimes the bad choices we make have negative consequences. The other important point here is that not all bad things that happen are a result of making bad choices. There are many innocent people who are affected by circumstances beyond their earthly control. For example, the child who was born with a disability, people who die from famines or earthly catastrophes. When we came to this life, there was a plan in place for us to go through certain experiences. I personally believe that we actually took part in creating our own unique plan for this life that is based on the kinds of things we wanted to experience. And perhaps you are thinking “Well, yes, but I never would have wanted to experience that.” What we need to understand is that our perspective often changes and perhaps we did realize it would be difficult, but we saw the greater good that would come out of it. For example, in order to appreciate happiness, we must experience unhappiness. In order to fully appreciate the light, we must experience the darkness and so it goes, “There must needs be opposition in all things”. Another example are the times we struggle and struggle for the things we desire and then finally, we accomplish it. If you were to compare your feelings of how you felt after the intense struggle with having that thing given to you with no effort on your part, in which situation would you feel greater bliss and happiness? Obviously, the one where you had previously experienced the struggle. God knows this and as we helped to plan our Earth lives, I believe that we understood this as well.
Once we understand that everything happens for a reason, that there are no coincidences in life and that there is always a silver lining in all experiences IF we turn back to God, then we can handle the challenging experiences a lot easier because we see things from a Higher perspective. Surrendering our will to God doesn’t mean we give up our goals and desires. In contrast, we need to have a clear picture of what we truly want. That’s how we are guided in our life. We follow our true desires and what resonates with us deep down. But how do we know when to go for it and when we need to surrender? Thats a question I have often pondered. For me, I think about in this way. We are the creators of our reality. We decide the ultimate goal of what we want and then we take that and give it to God. We say, “This is our desire” and then we let God handle “the how”. Sometimes we have expectations as to how it is supposed to happen. But when we understand that is our job to form the vision and it is God’s job to figure out the details so to speak. Sometimes we get so caught up in “how” it is supposed to happen that we end up worrying and then we are defeating the purpose of even having the goal. We need to completely release the expectations of “how” and realize that God knows the best way to handle it in a way that is for the Highest Good of all involved.
The idea of surrender also applies to the ultimate goal or vision that we have because there are many times that we don’t get that ultimate goal even though we have done everything we can think of. But again, we must remember that God’s perspective is different. For example, perhaps we desire a particular job because we think that job will give us a feeling of empowerment and bring greater happiness. But God sees it a bit differently. He sees that we desire a feeling of greater empowerment and happiness in our work and He knows that that the specific job we think we want actually would not provide the deeper feeling that we desire. So, something completely different and unexpected happens. Perhaps you get laid off or you have to move suddenly. Then, something else comes up that is so much better for you in the long run. And then we realize that God really did know what He was doing.
The key here is how we approach these challenging situations. Instead of asking the question, “Why Me?”, perhaps we can ask a better question, such as “What would Thou have me learn from this experience?” or What is the best thing for me to do about this?” The latter will always lead to greater growth whereas the former will only attract more of the same negative experiences.