Everyone thinks they’re a good driver, but are they really? I know I’m not, but I also know I’m an excellent parker. Does everyone who says “not my will but thine be done” think they’re doing it? Probably. We’re tricky that way. Especially when we really, really want something. We can spend from sunup to sundown saying “not my will but thine,” and we don’t really mean a word of it. But how to tell when we’re mostly tricking ourselves? We turn to a handy dandy checklist.
- I have at least a smattering of knowledge about God’s will for all of his children.
- I have a pretty good idea of how he works with me.
- I can point to times I’ve submitted to his will, and I can point to times I haven’t. (Not submitting is the easy part, we’ve all done it. If you’ve never submitted before, what on earth would make you think you’re doing it now?)
- I’m clear in my mind as to what my will is.
- I have worked diligently on my own behalf to bring about what I want.
- I have prayed fervently for what I want if it be his will.
- I know without the shadow of a doubt that the Lord loves me.
- I recognize that he knows me (and my eternal self) far better than I do, and if anyone is confused about what is best for me, it isn’t him.
- I have prayed earnestly to know his will
- I have surrendered the outcome to him, at least intellectually.
- I have pondered the silver lining if I don’t get what I want.
- I no longer feel an urgency about the thing in my prayers, and I have room for other prayers.
- I’m surprised to realize that for a minute there, I didn’t even think about it.
- When I try to turn my mind back to it, I feel restless because my mind seeks a different focus.
- The only way I feel peace is in moving toward a fresh horizon, which may or may not contain the thing I really want.
- I don’t care what happens as long as I can feel this peace.
The moral of the story is there’s a lot of groundwork involved in surrendering your will to his, but you’re just play-acting at it if you’re obsessing over the outcome, or even taking its temperature every 5 seconds. You’ll know it’s for real when you feel so much peace about it, you’re bored by the whole subject. And don’t think it isn’t possible for you to feel such peace. That’s giving up before you’ve even tried. You don’t have to do it all at once. Little breadcrumbs of surrender at a time are fine. Surrender isn’t an event, it’s a journey.
If you find yourself mad, frustrated, disappointed, discouraged, sad, or lonely, you’re on the right track. As long as you’re feeling something, you’re on the journey. It’s only when you feel indifferent that you know you’re lost. There now, doesn’t knowing that give you some peace? Told ya. Just one breadcrumb at a time.