Last Lent, I had the opportunity to do the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius for the first time. A long-time fan of Ignatian spirituality, I decided it was high time I did the exercises. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was not prepared for what the Lord showed me about myself.
More or less, Jesus told me that in our relationship I am actually pretty controlling. Well, who the heck wants to hear that?! Not this girl! In praying about some frustrating things in life, I asked the Lord what He was trying to teach me. As I sat with it over time in silence, what kept coming to me is, “You’re not in control, sweetie.” I am not in control and when I try to control Jesus, I am actually unable to receive from Him.
The most difficult prayers I have prayed in my life (and still do) are ones of abandonment and submission to the will of God. For a type-A planner like myself, it is so easy to tell Jesus what I think the best option or plan is. But that is neither how God nor prayer works. We call that manipulation, not worship.
Reading the Psalm for today reminded me yet again that the hardest prayer for me to pray is a variation of “Here I am, Lord; I come to do Your Will.” (Psalm 40:8-9) When I feel those controlling tendencies creeping in, I try to catch myself and pray, Jesus, give me the desire to know and accept Your will. Give me the desire to want Your will more than what I want. Now it isn’t a fool-proof method, but I see it keeps me honest and accountable before the Lord in an area in which I struggle spiritually.
Jesus, when I try to control things in my life, I am unable to truly receive from You. Help me get out of Your way, so that You reign more in my life.
Jesus, give me the desire to want to want Your will more.
Patty Breen is a runner, youth minister ordinaire, and thinks old movies are the greatest thing since sliced bread. When not fundraising for World Youth Day, she is learning to find grace in all things. You can find out more about her here.