The Co-Author Relationship: God and I

Sunset at AssosDiscernment doesn’t happen in a vacuum, but in the context of our relationship with God. Discerning God’s will only makes sense if we have or seek a vibrant relationship with God. Whether we are trying to discern a major life choice, or live in greater conformity to God’s will, the best way to grow in that relationship and to become attuned to God’s voice is to spend time in prayer.

The title of this blog pushes this foundational principle a bit further: that we believe that God co-authors our life with us! If we believe that the Holy Spirit is directing our life, that God and I are “writing” our life story together, then it becomes even more important to spend time with God. Any time spent in prayer is important, but a quieter, more contemplative approach to  prayer will help us to learn how to listen to God in the light of God’s saving love. (More about listening in prayer later.)

One of the challenges of the Christian life is a temptation to try to earn God’s love, rather than trusting in God’s love. We don’t want to allow our discernment to be colored by this temptation. A true partnership, being a true “co-author” is a relationship of trust. Doing God’s will is not about proving ourselves, nor about trying to control our life and relationships. Instead, truly seeking to do God’s will is being like Mary, whose “yes” to God came from her ongoing relationship with God. At the Annunciation, Mary recognized God’s Lordship in her life, but she also recognized that her consent and her love were essential in collaborating with God’s salvific plan. She could only say “yes” the way she did precisely because of her relationship with God. Mary trusted God completely: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord.”

When we truly seek to live God’s will, we recognize that this includes growing in our relationship with God. A true attitude of discernment allows God to take the lead, to set the parameters to our story, and to invite us deeper into the great adventure of our life.

Pen_UncappedTo Journal About:

  • How would I describe my relationship with God?

Partnering with God

kaleidoscopes-201644_1280I was recently asked to take on a project that I didn’t feel prepared for. I knew I had some skills to bring to it—namely, writing and editing. But the visual, artistic sense of design that the project required was completely beyond me. In addition, the project had technical requirements that I knew nothing about. So, I had to gather a team of people for the project.

My first days of working on this project felt like trying to pick up chunks of jello. I could never grasp anything concrete about it—although the chunks of jello were gradually being formed and then put together, the project felt completely out of my grasp. Everyone had a different vision of it, and we were all learning how to do something for the first time. Though I was working on a deadline, no one else had planned for this project and had to squeeze it into their own timetables. I had no assurance that we were going to finish it, never mind make the deadline.

Due to the remarkable people I worked with, the project not only came together, but came out beautifully and just on time. In the end, the project was not something I could point to and own, saying, “I did this!” Actually, I felt that I’d done very little; the beautiful result really came from the shared collaboration that we developed as a group.

Through this experience, I rediscovered two keys to collaborating on a creative project: 1) choose my creative partner(s) well and then 2) trust them.

These insights are even more true when I reflect on co-creating the “masterpiece” of my life.

1) Choose our Co-Author well.

We could try to “write” our lives by ourselves. But choosing to go solo is not only a lonely thing to do, it is also impossible for us to truly shape our lives on our own because so many things in life are beyond our control. Besides that, we’ve all run headfirst into our weaknesses; we know we need help. For the most important work of our lives, we want to have the best partner possible.

We may seek other collaborators as well, but it seems pretty obvious that choosing the All-Loving, All-Powerful, All-Good God—who loves us and always wants what is best for us—is the best choice we could make.

(Next post we’ll look at trusting our Creative Partner!)

The best discernment partner ever!

Due to our internet going down, I haven’t been able to post here or on Twitter since Thursday. Happily, we are up and running this morning!

Also, it’s my understanding that Lifetime will run the last two episodes of The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns from 10 PM-Midnight EST tomorrow night. As before, the #RealPostulants and #MediaNuns will be tweeting about it, using the hashtag #TheSisterhood. I’ll also try to put my commentary up Wednesday morning. (Although I’m definitely going to be short on sleep!)

REQUEST FOR YOUR HELP: If you are watching The Sisterhood, feel free to tweet questions about discernment to me @SisterMPaul, and I will answer them on this blog! (Or you can simply email me anytime or put a question in the comments on any post.) God bless you!

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Photo by Sr. M. Emmanuel Alves, fsp. © Daughters of St. Paul.

© Daughters of St. Paul. Photo: Sr. M. Emmanuel Alves, fsp

We do not discern alone.

Does it surprise you to discover that you have a partner ready to help you sort out your life? A partner who wants the best for you, who understands you better than you do yourself, who knows what will bring you the greatest happiness and fulfillment, who can bring to life your deepest dreams, who respects your freedom, who waits for you to ask for guidance?

This perfect partner is the God who created you out of love and for love, who died to save you and bring you greater freedom, and who now not only sustains your every breath but desires to walk with you and enliven your daily journey with joy, peace, and fulfillment.

The God who knows you better than you know yourself created you with a specific mission in mind. Yes, God has a dream for each of us, and shares with us our deepest dreams for ourselves—dreams of being our best selves, of living lives of purpose, meaning, and love.

God is with you on every step of your journey: previous, present, and future. When we remember that we have the perfect Partner to discern with, a Partner who shares our deepest dreams, we no longer need to fear the uncertainty of sorting through our lives on our own. Because we are not alone. God’s dreams—God’s story for you—are beyond all your cherished hopes and dreams.

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Daily Discernment Tip

Today, pray this simple prayer of trust several times: Lord, I trust in Your dream for me.