Is it God’s Will or Your Will?

March 21, 2011

When your wishes remain unfulfilled and your life feels like one long, unremitting, struggle to overcome an endless array of obstacles, can you tell the difference between God’s will and your will?

More often than I care to recall, I have heard people throw up their hands in defeat and declare, “It’s God’s will that this has happened” or “It’s God’s will that this hasn’t happened.”  It doesn’t occur to them that God doesn’t take away a person’s free will, nor does He stop them from trying other avenues to make something work to His advantage.

If you study the lives of successful people, you will see a golden thread of truth, that the people who overcome adversity and attain their dreams, are the people who don’t give up; they are the ones who keep trying until they succeed.  In the midst of their ordeal, they realize they may have to approach the situation with the mindset of Winston Churchill who said, “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity.  The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

It’s no secret that people don’t like to change.  They may love new things, love new adventures, love meeting new people, but they don’t love to change anything about themselves.  It’s so much easier to say that it’s God’s will than to take responsibility for the way they live their lives.

I knew someone who had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.  He had gone the route of allopathic medicine and the disease was making huge inroads on his body.  He wouldn’t countenance changing his diet, doing things to relieve his stress levels, resting when he was tired, dressing in clothing that he didn’t have to wrestle on and off his body, or looking into alternative health modalities that wouldn’t interfere with his allopathic medicines.  Instead, he would tell me that he wasn’t giving in to his disease, that he was going to beat it.  My contention was that if he wasn’t willing to do something different to help himself, why would he expect to have different results?

During the time I knew him, I heard more about his lack of success with the healing process as being God’s will.  I had to differ.  God didn’t stop him from trying different things.  God didn’t tell him to wear restrictive clothing that took him an eternity to put on and take off.  He wasn’t working a full-time job so I knew that God wasn’t telling him that he couldn’t rest when he felt tired.  I also knew that God wasn’t telling him to enter willfully into stressful situations.  If this was really God’s will, then God has a lot to answer for.

It has always seemed to me that God is always being blamed or credited for something.  Every war from the Crusades onward has been fought in the name of God.  It’s amazing the way God seems to choose sides.

If one side wins the war, the victor will say it was God’s will.  If one side loses the war, the loser will say it was God’s will.  It’s akin to the nonsense I heard growing up that “this war will be the end of all wars.”  As a child, it never made sense to me.  As an adult I see it as a bunch of gibberish because anyone with a lick of common sense knows that wars beget other wars; they don’t end them.

This brings us to the heart of the matter: knowing when it’s God’s will or your will.  If you have done everything that is humanly possible, and you keep doing everything that is humanly possible and it still isn’t giving you the desired results, then maybe, just maybe, it’s God’s will.

On the other hand, if you allow yourself to feel defeated before you have exhausted every avenue at your disposal and it still hasn’t yielded the desired results, then look inward and acknowledge that it’s your will and not God’s will that has deprived you of success.

And best of all, if it’s your will that has sabotaged your success, you can change the outcome by changing yourself.  If you make the effort to find the opportunity in every difficulty, you will be living in accordance with universal laws and overcoming every obstacle in your path.

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