When I am struggling with a situation, if I can express what I’m feeling in words, I can then move forward. It was a particularly trying time—coming to grips with the reality that my 28-year-old husband was just diagnosed with Stage IV terminal cancer and we had just moved into a friend’s house to see where the next six months would go. The oncologist basically said that if nothing worked, six months would be all we would have.
At 27, I realized I had to resign myself to the new life ahead. I figured that if I resigned myself to it, I could move on to accepting the new reality (I must add that I was proud of taking this step as I thought it was the correct thing to do). However, this resignation did not bring peace. And it did not give me any hope.
Freedom Comes Through Consenting
At the time I was reading Interior Freedom by Fr. Jacques Philippe, seeking some solace. I love that if you take action, if you look, God is there, waiting. He was there. It was as if there were flashing lights and bells ringing. These words brought such clarity and the start of peace:
When we are faced with things that we find unpleasant or consider negative, in ourselves or in our situation, there are three possibilities. The first is rebellion… Rebellion is followed by resignation… The attitude to aim for is consent. -pg. 29-31
Philippe continues, “We say yes to a reality we initially saw as a negative, because we realize that something positive may arise from it. This hints at hope” (pg. 30).
His three steps finally put words to what I was feeling and gave me a path forward.
- Rebellion // In my mind I had rebelled against the idea and reality, but not God.
- Resignation // We know I was stuck there.
- Consent // Where I needed to be.
What Does Consenting Entail?
Consenting to any life-altering journey is anything but easy. Some may ask, “Do we have a choice?”
Yes, we do.
God created us with free will, not as robots to follow commands. He wants us to love Him freely. We can live with the life we’re “dealt” (resignation) or we can turn it over to Him (consent).
Does consenting mean that the suffering is gone? No. But when we consent, we place it fully in our Loving Father’s hands.
Our Lady’s Consent
Mary is the perfect example of this. She had no idea what was ahead of her when she consented to the Angle Gabriel’s message: “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High…” (Luke 1: 31-32).
Mary did question “How can this be…?” But she moved quickly to consent. “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:34; Luke 1:38).
Mary consents. Consenting takes action. Being resigned is passive. Being a handmaid is an active role. Mary humbles herself. “Be it done to me.”
We are so familiar with these words. But to live them out is a different story. When I am in the trenches of life, do I really jump to, “Be it done to me, Lord”? Do I offer myself as His handmaid, His servant?
Sadly, that is not my first reaction to life’s trials. However, we can look at Mary. We can find the courage to say “yes” even when we don’t know what the next step is. We can consent to God’s will. A real “yes!”
Consenting is a Lifelong Process
I come back to these three stages often. Consenting is not a one-and-done. It can be a daily or hourly decision based on the situation or journey. Some will find it easier to consent in one area of their lives than another. Do not be discouraged by that. Faithfully keep giving it to Him.
How do you do that? Speak to Him from your heart. (He knows what you’re feeling anyway.)
“Lord, I do not understand why this is happening. I do not know what the future holds. But, I give this to You, Lord. I give You control.”
“You are my loving Father. Your will is best. Help me to remember that and keep giving it over to You.”
Speaking to Jesus from my heart is how I finally reached consent rather than resignation. Telling Him my anguish, my fear, and my worries finally allowed me to place them into His Hands. There are trials that come when I forget to consent, and I resign myself to the circumstance. However, now that I have gotten to consent once I am able to get there again.
If I am resigned, I am letting life happen to me. When I consent I am giving it to God to work through, and I see the hope.
In what part of your life do you need to move from resignation to consent?Resigned or Consenting? #BISblog // Click To Tweet
Maureen Fiudo hails from Upstate NY but has found her home in the Midwest. She loves praising the Lord through song, spending time outdoors, and a good cup of coffee. Helping women see their beauty within brings her joy! You can follow her husband’s cancer journey here.