“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is– his good, pleasing and perfect will.” -Romans 12:2
I used to spend a lot of time praying that God would show me His will for my life. I wanted to know so that I wouldn’t make a mistake and spend my life doing something that wasn’t God’s will. But the prayer was usually accompanied by a half-thought in the back of my mind that wondered if I really wanted to know. What if God’s will for me was something I wouldn’t like? What if it was too hard for me? What if He sent me to Africa or something like that?
What I failed to grasp was that God is not a malicious taskmaster who is just waiting for me to ask for my next assignment so that he can ask me to do something that I hate and am not good at, but rather He is the one who created me with all my strengths and weaknesses. He knows what I am capable of even when I still have doubts. He knows what makes me come alive, what makes me angry, what fills me with wonder. Wouldn’t the God who thought up my passions want me to use them?
I think that there is a sliver of doubt somewhere in all of us that tells us that giving God complete control in our lives would mean giving up something that we like. That somehow it will be less than the ideas that we have for ourselves. But that is a lie. His will is certainly to challenge and change me, but he never aims to wipe out my personality or give me a boring life.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” -John 10:10
His will is that I will live, truly live. Live a life free from guilt. A life not weighed down by the consequences of selfishness and vanity. A life when I will be more fully myself- as I was meant to be.
But that takes a change in me. It’s my will that has to change to fit into the good, pleasing, and perfect will that God has for me.
And that’s hard. It’s easy to be vain and self-focused. It’s easy to seek comfort and nice things. We have been doing that since the first time we cried and found that we could get what we wanted if we kept it up long enough.
It’s hard to surrender, to let go, to let yourself be uncomfortable. But it’s in the discomfort, the moments when we are the most vulnerable and helpless- the moments that the wisdom of the world tells us to avoid- that God works His transformation in us.
The more He transforms us, the more we find that we want to do what God wants for us. The more we learn to care for others over ourselves the more we find joy in looking outside ourselves instead of always looking for ways to better our own existence.
It’s a process. There are still so many days when all that I can think about is how to make myself feel good. I still indulge my own vanity more often than I like to admit. But the satisfaction it brings feels more and more empty. Because I’ve tasted joy and it was better.
So I’m learning to stop praying to know the details of God’s will for me. I know that it is good and perfect, and that should be enough. I’m learning instead to pray that God would make my will more like His. That I will not be satisfied with the good things that the world says will make me happy, but will always seek the best.