“Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will” (Responsorial Psalm).
I WANT to do God’s will. Really I do. But how can I know what that is? Well, I can’t claim to have this ALL figured out. But I’ve got three techniques that I use. . .
1) Rightly inspired.
If I want to do God’s will, a good place to start is by learning about folks who definitely had that box checked. The lives of the Saints have been an excellent source of inspiration to me on how radical the submission to God’s will can be, and how different it can look from one person to the next.
2) Bless it or block it.
If I am presented with an opportunity, or a choice, or a crazy idea, I can immediately pray, “Okay, God, bless this or block it. If You want me to do this, help it happen. If You don’t, make it impossible.” Perfect, right? Except, in my life, things are almost never quite as blessed or blocked as I would like. For example, I recently got an idea for a significant new project that involved many complicated steps, the very first of which, oddly enough, was the procuring of four relatively commonplace items from the grocery store. I went to seven different stores, plus two locations to which my GPS sent me, which were not actually stores, all the while praying, “bless it or block it,” and was able to find exactly two of the four items. “Seriously God? WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?!” So, it’s not foolproof.
3) Direction, not just advice.
Today is the feast day of Saint Francis de Sales, an amazing proponent of the universal call to holiness, especially among the laity, and specifically of spiritual direction. When the lives of the Saints and personal prayer aren’t enough—which is often—spiritual direction with a trusted priest or layperson has been indispensable to me in discerning God’s will.
If you are discerning spiritual direction, this is a good place to begin.
Kendra Tierney is a forty-two year old mother of nine and wife of one living in and working on a big old fixer-upper house in Los Angeles. She's a homeschooler and a regular schooler and is relishing the new freedom from carpooling that's come with a sixteen-year-old in the house. Her new book, The Catholic All Year Compendium, Liturgical Living for Real Life, is here. You can find her first book, A Little Book About Confession, here, her blog here, and her word art here.