Trust Our Co-Author

In the last post, I talked about how important it is to choose our creative partner well. The second key to collaborating creatively? Trusting our creative partner.

Trusting our Co-Author might be a bit harder than choosing God as our Co-Author. This is especially true when things are difficult or seem to go wrong. We might even feel worried that God will use his almighty power and “take over” our lives, and that we will be left without any real choices to make.

It’s true that our all-powerful God has ultimate control of the universe: God gave us the world and ourselves, and put us in a certain time and place. It’s also true that throughout our lives, wonderful and terrible things happen. We cannot control many of the circumstance of our lives, and the illusion that we can is a destructive lie that makes us focus our energies in the wrong direction and lose our serenity. The nature of life is gift: God creates us, provides what we need, and then works through everything—even the evil choices of others—to bring about a greater good for us and for the world.

But God doesn’t control us, and doesn’t want to! The mind-boggling truth is that God leaves us free to respond to our circumstances, including trying to change them. God values our free will tremendously, and never forces us. He might invite us, nudge us, woo us, seek to persuade us…but ultimately, which path we choose to follow, and what we choose to think, say, and do, is up to us.

God asks us to trust him, but he trusts us first, just as he loves us first.

An important motive for trust is remembering God’s premise for the story of our lives:

Our all-good God loves us and always wants what is good and best for us.

According to God’s storyview, the story of our lives will reveal the victory of God’s love over all obstacles. In upcoming posts, we’ll start to look at how God’s love is at work in the story of our lives, and how we can trust in God’s love for us, no matter how the plot of our lives is developing.

Pen_Uncapped

To Journal About:

  • How have I experienced God as trustworthy in my life?

Discernment Attitude: Trusting God Wants the Best for Us

BibleAs looked at in the last post, we know that the Bible reveals to us God’s basic story premise:

Our all-good God loves us and always wants what is good and best for us.

What does this mean for us? Unpacking God’s story premise gives us a couple more important foundations for our discernment:

1) God is good and always wants what is good. So whatever we are discerning must in itself be good; it must conform to God’s law. Our all-good God would never want us to do something morally wrong. God doesn’t contradict himself. When we are making a choice between good and evil, we are making a moral judgment or moral choice. This is different from discernment in the spiritual sense. God always want us to choose what is good.

2) God loves us as we are. Our Creator God wants what is good and best for us. Having created us in his own image, with intelligence and free will, God invites us to live our full potential, to “become our best selves” by loving fully and freely. While God will never violate our free will, evil in the world around us and our own tendency towards sin condition us to make choices that are not always truly free. This is why God sent his Son into the world. Jesus Christ is God’s “Yes!” to humanity, God’s “Yes” to the question of whether God loves us.

A big part of discernment—and why a good discernment often takes time—is our becoming interiorly free enough to receive God’s love. Receiving God’s love and letting it transform us means  letting go of fear, guilt, outside pressures, or anything else that can distract us from God’s invitation and dream for us.

3) God is always, actively, seeking what’s best for us. The Gospel of John reminds us that God is love. For God, love is not a noun but an active verb. Whether we know it or not, whether we see it or not, God takes an active part in our lives. Because God is pure Being, whatever God wants is also what God acts to bring about. God doesn’t just drop us into the world and walk away. Jesus reminded us of this concretely at the Last Supper, when he promised to send the Holy Spirit, and that he would be with us always.

The Holy Spirit is God at work in the world around us and in the people around us, including family, friends, enemies, mentors. This means that: Authentic discernment always takes place within the context of this vibrant relationship with God. The more we seek out a vital connection with God, the better our discernment will be. True discernment means listening for how the Holy Spirit is speaking to us, how the Spirit is inviting us, how the Holy Spirit is acting in our lives. One of the key places where the Holy Spirit speaks to us is in the depths of our own hearts.

God’s Storyview

rainbow809697_26431701-foto stoch-xchngOur loving Creator has revealed himself as Father. God has created a world that is exquisitely designed, beautiful, astonishing, powerful, and full of mysteries. This amazing and mysterious universe is where we live our lives, our stories. As we grow, we discover how our universe works—in its physical aspects (such as the rule of gravity), in our human nature, in the spiritual realm, etc. If we want to discover and live God’s story for us, if we truly want to co-author our lives with God, it’s helpful to understand God’s overall design. How can we tell what’s most important to God, and how God views his creation?

By listening to God.

God reveals himself in many ways, but most clearly in Sacred Revelation: the Bible and Sacred Tradition. This is where we can best find God’s view of the world he has created, his overall design for humanity, and the stories that he wants us to live. One simple way to describe God’s “storyview” is this basic premise that describes salvation history:

Our all-good God loves us and always wants what is good and best for us.

The spiritual art of discernment only makes sense in light of these foundational truths: that God is good, that God loves us, and that God always wants what is best for us. These fundamental truths give us important principles with which to shape our stories. In my next few posts, we’ll unpack them.

Pen_Uncapped

To Journal About:

It might be helpful to take a moment to take in this profound statement that is the foundation for any good discernment, allowing it to sink in.   

Our all-good God loves us and always wants what is good and best for us.

When I read this statement—to myself or aloud—what is my first reaction to it? What do I think? What do I feel? Do I believe it to be true?