Willing God's Will


I took up a new book yesterday and was plunged almost immediately into this passage:

from Desiring God's Will
David G. Benner

Looked at carefullly, willfulness is more against something than for something. My willful self refuses to quit as I seek to push through my writing block or finish lecture preparation even when my spirit is dry and my body is telling me to take a break. A spirit of willingness invites me to pause and turn to God, simply opening to God for a moment, lettling God bring perspective and clarity about my need to stop writing for the night or throw out what I've started and wait for the gift of a fresh idea. Willfulness, in either circumstance, is my fight against quitting, against attending to my body, against attending to God's Spirit. The act of willing surrender is a choice of openness, a choice of abandonment of self-determination, a choice of cooperation with God.

Thinking about this yesterday, several things struck me, and looking at it again this morning, I see yet other points. Let me start with the caveats. In the example above, trying to break through writer's block or finishing prep for a lecture one can see a certain amount of willfulness, or one can see tenacity. Breaking through a writer's block requires a certain amount of staying at the computer or writing desk and simply writing your way through. In this particular case it is difficult to distinguish how much is necessary and how much is willfulness. That is the line between tenacity and stubbornness is unclear. There are times at which we are required to stay at a task to achieve the breakthrough we need to attain--and this can go for tasks in the spiritual life.

Now, as to yesterday's thoughts--how often do I allow willfulness to overpower a spirit that cooperates with God? It is far too easy for me to take over, even when God has begun the task, and to run it my way. Perhaps blogging is an example. There are times when God is clearly in control, and there are times in which Steven is running the whole show. Surrender to God shows in the effect the individual pieces of writing have. I have written things on which I have recieved comments that surprised me. I thought it was yet another entry, others thought that it spoke to their hearts. That's when God is in charge. When Steven is in charge its a wandering mess that generally leads me to threaten yet once again that I'm going to take all my marbles and go home. I do that once or twice a year and it seems about time for a fresh crop. But perhaps this year rather than making a fool of myself again, I can listen to what God has to say, stop feeling sorry for myself, and continue to write as He leads.

It's all a balance between willfulness and willingness. Willfulness to conquer the stubborn parts of the self, and willingness to cooperate with God. They blend into the same thing, and yet they take on such different aspects.

I'll keep you posted on the book.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on May 10, 2005 6:47 AM.

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