From a young age, we are taught to make plans for every step of our entire lives, apply for college, choose a degree, find a career that will set us up for success, seek out a relationship, and make choices about where and how we want to live. However, what happens when our plans don't align with God's plans for us?
As humans, we often want to be in control and know what’s next so it can be difficult to let go of our own desires and trust in God’s will. But doing so can drastically change your life leading you toward the fulfillment of your vocation and life’s purpose.
Trust through Scripture
In the Bible, there are many passages that speak to the importance of surrendering our plans to God.
Proverbs 19:21 says, "Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." Similarly, Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
These verses remind us that God has a divine plan for our lives, and it is always much bigger, far more creative, and more significant than anything we could have ever imagined for ourselves.
But there’s a small problem. It sounds easy enough to say we trust in God’s will over our own, but it’s often much harder to actually put this into practice.
Here are 4 spiritual exercises you can easily incorporate into your daily life to practice leaning into total trust in God's plan:
4 Ways to Lean into His Will
- Pray, Every Day
Take time every day to pray and ask God for guidance. Ask for the strength and the trust to surrender your plans to His will over your own. I like to pray the simple yet profound prayer from St. Faustina’s Diary, “Jesus, I trust in you.” Design your day around this dedicated prayer time and watch as the desires in your heart either start to materialize if they are His will or disappear if they simply aren’t.
- Listen with Reverence
My spiritual director tells me, often times people think prayer is just about talking to God and asking for special intentions without ever providing a space for silence. A conversation involves two people, what happens when all you do is talk in the conversation? You don’t allow the other person to talk and the ability for you to listen, right? Try to spend some time in silence and listen to God's voice. Be attentive to what comes up. His voice sounds and feels different to everyone. It may come in the form of a feeling, an idea, through the words of others, or in my case, even visually.
- Let go and Pray the Surrender Novena
Release your grip on your plans and trust that God has a better path for you. This can be difficult, but remember that God's plans for us are always for our salvation and our good. What’s helped me with moments of uncertainty and the unknown is to pray the Surrender Novena to Jesus Christ revealed to Fr. Don Dolindo Ruotolo by Christ himself. Fr. Don Dolindo was an Italian Franciscan priest, a prophet of our time, a mystic, stigmatist, and a contemporary of Padre Pio. In one of his communications with the Lord, Christ revealed this Novena to him. In such chaotic times, with evil rampant and unleashed in public around the world like never before, it can be easy to fall into anxiety, depression, and despair. This Novena taught me how to totally surrender all of my desires, hopes, doubts, fears, and worries to God.
“You see evil growing instead of weakening? Do not worry. Close your eyes and say to me with faith: ‘Thy will be done, You take care of it.’ I say to you that I will take care of it, and that I will intervene as does a doctor, and I will accomplish miracles when they are needed.” - Day 4 of Surrender Novena
- Act with Fearless Faith
When you feel called to take action, do so with fearless faith and trust in God's plan. Remember, we can spend our whole lives in prayer but God also calls us to ACT on His will. We have to meet Him there and be open and willing to take on our own Fiat as Mother Mary did hers. Act and participate in the life God gave you knowing that even when things don't go according to our plans, God is and always will be in control for our greater good.
Go Forth and Trust In Him
When we surrender our plans to God, our lives can change drastically in an instant, we may find ourselves on a different career path or in a different relationship than we had planned. But we can move with trust that these changes are leading us closer to God's purpose for our lives. When we let go of our own desires and trust His higher power, we’re able to experience a deeper sense of peace and fulfillment knowing we are co-creating with Him.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."
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