“Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.” -From the Lord’s Prayer, Matthew 6:10
“You need to start living in God’s Will rather than insisting upon what it is that you would like to have in life.”
Although they were merely words written into a greeting card – a birthday card – and I was reading them rather than hearing them spoken, I could mentally hear the accusatory and judgmental tone which I felt certain would accompany them had they been verbally spoken to me. That was the final sentence of what I had hoped would be a pleasant greeting but had turned out to be a rant regarding their author’s opinion on my life, which was not in alignment with their narrow and legalistic perspective of God.
They cut into my soul deeply like a dagger at the moment when I read them, and I still vividly recall the intense sensation of feeling spiritually wounded at that time, even though it was ten years ago when I did. The sense of feeling hurt was exacerbated by the fact that they had been written by a family member who I loved very deeply but who was so brainwashed by legalistic fundamentalist Christianity at the time that our relationship was damaged by brokenness as a result, and the fact that I had just recently experienced some major life traumas, losses and disappointments during that time which I was still processing, reeling from, and still attempting to make some type of sense of, as there was no apparent reason I could discern that I should have experienced them.
Reading this assertion from another that the negative events which had transpired were a direct consequence of my “living outside of God’s Will” – a sentiment which definitely did little to contribute to my sense of spiritual well being at a time when something which would have proven to be beneficial to my spiritual health was most desirable – reminded me of another fear-based statement my father had drilled into me when I had been younger. We had been discussing prayer, more specifically praying for things in our lives, and he adamantly stressed the following multiple times during each of our conversations regarding the topic:
“Whenever you pray, don’t ask for what it is that you would like, but rather always state, ‘Not my will, but Your Will’.”
In retrospect, to be fair and factoring his understanding of God into the equation, I understand that he was in his own way attempting to be helpful and offer some type of guidance based upon his beliefs. Even taking the fear and apprehension with which I associated matters concerning God and prayer in general at the time, I understood the intention he was attempting to convey: asking God for help but not being specific or dependent upon any set or specific outcome was a realistic fashion in which to approach prayer. Yet the method by which he was suggesting I did so did not quite resonate with me; the insinuation that somehow God would not want for me to have and experience the things in life which I desired and would limit me from being who I was – which I extrapolated from his comments – felt deeply disturbing to me. I was striving to work towards a healthier spirituality based on the awareness of a Loving God Who wanted me to experience joy and happiness, in a fashion which was loving and respectful of all others rather than clinging to the self destructive visualization of a God that would dictate every moment of my life in a set and specific way as if I were a puppet, whether I liked it or not.
“The reason you are experiencing all these negative events in because your very life and your very faith is in direct opposition to God’s Will and Law.”
While the relative who wrote the greeting card and my well meaning father were unaware of the fact that I am a bisexual man as well as a Christian (at least, it is my assumption that they were; perhaps they were aware and the fact simply remained unspoken), the individual who stated the third statement above was completely aware that not only am I bisexual, but that bisexuality for me means experiencing the need for and having honest, committed and intimate relationships with both a female and a male partner. When they made the above statement to me, my life at the time was enduring a storm of chaos, disarray and personal disaster on several levels, and I had been relating my frustration over the fact to them.
I suppose I could have avoided the statement that they made in response – one that at that particular time was a “trigger” for excavating old and unhealthy perceptions of God that I was striving to let go of and overcome-by simply declining to comment when I provided an answer to their honest inquiry of “What’s wrong?” by relating my burdens to them, in the hopes that it was sincere compassion rather than my being strategically baited for the unsolicited heaping serving of judgment I received in return. I should have anticipated such, as this individual – a co worker where I was employed during that chapter of my life – had consistently and aggressively sought any available opportunity to prosletyze to me, most frequently when I was in a vulnerable state emotionally as I obviously radiated as being at that time.
Their comment to me was somehow perhaps the worst imaginable. The concept of a God that would deliberately allow me to suffer and bring about hardship and strife upon me for merely being who I am and believing as I do in a God of Love rather than a God of Legalism is infinitely more distressing to me than one of a God who would send someone to a place of infinite punishment in the great unknown of whatever form of life follows the one we are currently experiencing. Their allegation that the hardships in my life were a direct and deliberate consequence of my refusal to submit to blind obedience to a version of “God’s Will” which was defined by a literal, dogmatic and legalistic understanding and interpretation of the Bible was akin to a kick in the face when I was already feeling at my lowest.
And I know for a fact and from considerable experiences related to me from other Christians – especially other LGBT Christians – that hearing such comments are a common occurrence. All too frequently, proponents of the falsehood and psychologically scarring practice of “reparative therapy” cite the LGBT individual as having a life of pain and suffering based on the concept that all of us are “living outside of God’s Will” and that the high rates of drug and alcohol abuse and suicide amongst the community can be attributed to the “affliction” of being LGBT and the consequences of our “failure to comply with God’s Will”. (Pay no attention to the reality that those tragic statistics can actually be attributed to the emotional abuse from those who falsely insist that one being at peace with their sexual orientation is somehow an offense and affront to God and society as they would most desire it to be.)
Further adding to the sense of terror and the feeling of dread which I at one time in my life accompanied the concept of something being or not being God’s Will was how frequently a reference to it surfaced anytime in life the prayers I or others lifted up for ourselves or another were met with a sense of disappointment. It could be something as trivial as a family vacation we had been looking forward to being cancelled due to unexpected illness, or something as serious as a loved one whose recovery we had been praying for passing away. The cause given for having the opposite of what we had been hoping for occurring? “It must have been God’s Will.”
It should come as no surprise that all of the above left me a victim of a distorted and maligned understanding and perception of what “God’s Will” allegedly entailed. As a result of conditioning from the type of statements and experiences I shared above, for far too many years I deprived myself of the joy of placing my trust and faith in Gods Will for my life. You might surmise that after reading of these past experiences with contemplating “God’s Will” (and more accurately, my being exposed to others attempting to dictate what they personally would like God’s Will for my life to be and yet others attempting to attribute unanswered prayers, events in life which we truly possess no control over and negative experiences we find ourselves mired in for no immediately apparent reason despite our every effort to avoid them or our being undeserving of being afflicted with them) that I would still to this day approach the concept with a shade of anxiety, apprehension and negativity.
While that was definitely the case in the past, I am grateful to state that present day the thought of trusting in and living in God’s Will elicits quite an opposite myriad of feelings. But today in the present, and in my personal experience, it is when I feel most as if I am living in, doing and attempting to live God’s Will for me as well as trusting in God’s Will for my life that I feel an intensely deep, resonant and true sense of not only joy and closeness to God but harmony, wholeness and peace in my own life and that of those surround me.
You might inquire upon my stating that assertion what it was that transpired to facilitate such a shift in negative thinking to positive on the concept of trusting and living in God’s Will, or what it is that enabled me to determine precisely what “God’s Will” can be defined as.
I can honestly and sincerely answer all of the above questions save for being able to provide an exact and precise definition of “God’s Will”, however, I have discovered a few clues as to what I believe that “God’s Will” involves from reading the Bible with an open heart and mind, life experience, and feeling.
Several years back in my spiritual journey, being discontent with how I had allowed my own fears concerning the concept of “God’s Will” to allow it to become a maligned idea which my anxious mind met with animosity, I decided to do some soul searching by locating what I could within Scripture as clues which might be indicative of what “living in God’s Will” could be interpreted to mean from a non-legalistic Christian perspective. As I had long since abandoned the ideations of a God Whose Will could be based upon a “one size fits all” code of conformity to legalistic rules, a God Whose Will would be capricious and selective, blessing some and casting aside others, or a God Who would demand that we suffer or wallow in low self esteem, I was able to read through and make a list of qualities which I felt could be classified as being in alignment with what I believe in my heart that “God’s Will” for humankind would encompass. A few verses from the Gospels seemed to speak to me on the topic.
First and foremost were all of the Parables and teachings of Jesus, in particular the Beatitudes. Encouragement and admonitions of Christ that we strive to be gentle, merciful and peaceful, even when the trials and tribulations of life can render being able to do so on a consistent basis, all seemed to me to be something God would want. In all of the Parables, I can extrapolate and discern qualities we can embody and a code of ethical conduct I feel that we are called to strive for which I feel are congruent with what I believe the Will of the Loving God to be: forgiveness, as opposed to revenge; compassion as opposed to indifference or selfishness; placing emphasis on Love and Compassion as opposed to insisting upon adherence to religious ritual.
And for certain, there is the Greatest Commandment of Christ (Matthew 22: 37-40): that we express our Love, Gratitude and devotion to God by loving our neighbor as ourselves, and treating all of the rest of God’s Children with the same measure of Love as we ourselves would want to receive.
I also read through and found that many other of my favorite verses seemed relevant when compiling a list of what I feel are valid ingredients to God’s Will for us: in Matthew 9:13, Jesus tells us that He desires mercy rather than sacrifice, meaning that He calls us to show compassion and love to others rather than make sacrifices. On a literal level, the verse is addressing those in His time that literal sacrifices are not a required element of religious practice, but on a metaphorical level, I interpret this as an admonition that what matters is not our adherence to religious dogma or ritual, but our willingness to show care and compassion for others.
In John 10:10, the message Jesus gives as to His reason for giving us the teachings which still remain the timeless foundation for all of Christianity: that we may have life, and have it abundantly: that we may live life to the fullest. I take this to mean that by practicing His teachings, we are gifted with the power to take advantage of all of the blessings and possibilities in our lives and through our faith to live them to the fullest potential.
And finally, as I was searching for clues as to what aspects of God’s Will in general could be for us, I came across another of my favorite verses:
“Take my yoke upon your shoulders and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. Here you will find rest for your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11: 29-30, The Inclusive Bible
What I have always gleaned from this verse is a reassurance that what it is that Jesus did to transform thought about God still rings true and is a timeless message. By embracing His teachings of God being about Love, and transferring the emphasis from religious Law and Ritual to emphasis on Love for one another and embodying and allowing God to flow through us by striving to be as loving as we could, a tremendous burden truly is lifted. This to me alleviates any concern that it is some onerous or difficult task to live in God’s Will; it drives home the point that we need not adhere to legalistic, literal understandings of the Bible or archaic rules from a time past which no longer apply to be in alignment with the Will of a Loving God.
There are hundreds of other examples I found in the Gospels and in Scripture which I could cite as what I feel to be elements of what I feel God’s Will in general to be for everyone. And beyond the Bible itself-as a book is too small to even begin to contain the full Majesty of the Loving God, there are some more elements I feel compelled to mention. Not specifically contained within or addressed within the pages of the Bible, but which remain true to the Spirit of the Gospels are elements of what I feel to be within God’s Will which I feel are relevant in pointing towards a vague and general definition.
For example, for the LGBT Christian, there is absolutely no rational cause to subscribe to any sort of low self-esteem, guilt, fear, shame or self-loathing regarding one’s individual sexuality or sexual orientation, whatever that may be (provided we are responsible with the gift of our sexuality and act on any desires we have in ways which are loving and respectful of all others). The Jesus I know from the Gospels would never place a heavy burden on us by asking of us or requiring us to repress our natural sexuality or sexual orientation in order to be living within God’s Will. I feel that He calls us instead to come as we are and place our efforts into altering our spiritual behavior – to discern how it is that we can assist in furthering God’s Presence in the world by utilizing what gifts we have to be God’s hands, voice and physical presence to share love and compassion with others from our own unique perspective.
Finally, I can state with confidence that living in God’s Will would never be something which would ever require us to act in any way which was deliberately or carelessly hurtful to any other person, in fact, quite the contrary. And I feel equally certain that God’s Will would never involve us acting contrary to our own true nature, self imposed suffering to the point of martyrdom, or being forced to sacrifice or abandon that which truly matters most and is most meaningful to us. While I cannot pinpoint any absolute definition of God’s Will to a tee, I can affirm with faith that whatever all it may entail, it comes from a place of Unconditional Love, rather than being based in fear, and perhaps that alone is all that is truly important to remember.
These are all qualities I believe to be inherent in God’s Will, and all of the above encapsulates my thoughts on seeking to discern a general outlook on God’s Will and an attempt at knowing what it entails. But that is merely a list of generalizations; I would not even begin to attempt to define what God’s Will is for anyone individually as that is an extremely personal and intimate matter which I have always felt should be left and kept strictly between them and God.
For one thing, regardless of what we believe God’s Will to be for our own lives, I feel that it is in direct violation of the teachings of Jesus for us to attempt to define God’s Will for the life of another – no matter how tempted we might feel to do so, and even if we are doing so out of love and compassion and care for that person. While many of us have the wonderful gift of empathy and the desire to want what we feel is best for those we love, I feel that only God and they can know best what will ultimately be the best for them. In some cases, it is better that we lovingly offer our perspective, so that they may determine for themselves if it feels right to them. Most times, I elect to just offer non judgmental love and strive to understand that regardless of how I would handle a given situation, their perspective could differ vastly: what might work best for me might not prove to be conducive to their well being, as in the beautiful and varied diversity God Created us all with, one size does not fit all. There are so many variables which we may not even have considered and the contrast between what it is we might elect to do could be so different based upon individual experience that it would prevent us from being able to offer the true clarity that can come from their seeking the answers within and from God alone. It goes back to extending the same courtesy I would desire to another.
It is when others purport and claim to know “God’s Will” for another that the problems can begin, as the majority of the time, what they are claiming to be “God’s Will” for a person is in fact, their individual will for that person. Other times, it can be their asserting their opinions and beliefs about what God’s Will is for all people upon another. To me, both of these are attempting to play God for another, and in the end only lead to negative results: brokenness in relationships, unhealthy and damaged spiritual outlooks, or both. Regardless of how compelled we might feel to do so, I feel it is in error for anyone to attempt to define what the Will of God is for another, or exert that view upon another.
While I think that we cannot and should not attempt to determine God’s exact Will for any one individual other than ourselves, I feel it is critical to seek and determine what God’s Will for our OWN lives is to the best of our abilities. I’ll speak a little more on that in a moment, but first, I want to address what I feel what doing God’s Will, and then what truly living and trusting in God’s Will means.
Obviously, doing God’s Will on a day to day basis would encompass striving to live the principles put forth in the teachings of Christ: kindness, compassion, caring, doing good for one another, striving to let all of our actions be based in a place of love and selflessness rather than fear or self absorption and self centeredness.
One thing I can state with confidence is that I firmly believe that what feels right or natural to us is in accordance with what I would ascertain and discern the Will of the Loving God I know to be. For the LGBT individual, this is great and refreshing news indeed; we are not required to sacrifice vital aspects of who we were Created to be to do God’s Will. All we need to do is ask, seek and knock and determine not only how we can best live and express the natural Truth of who we are, but simultaneously to focus on ways in which perhaps we can allow that to be an aspect of our expression of God’s Love in the world by setting a loving example and seeking to break down the walls of fear, misunderstanding, and prejudice which are tragically still so prevalent in society.
For me as a bisexual who experiences bisexuality as the need for intimacy with both a woman and a man, it means living that truth of my being in a fashion which is loving and respectful of all concerned, and having honest, caring and committed relationships with both a female and a male partner where everything is mutual, up front, and honest and there are no secrets or betrayal; it merely means I am faithful to two partners instead of one. There are many who might not understand, but I know in my heart our relationships are gifts and blessed by God just as monogamous heterosexual and homosexual relationships and marriages with the same sincere loving qualities are. It means that rather than being ashamed or insecure about my sexuality and sexual orientation or believing the false accusations of others that they are “unnatural” that I embrace all aspects of who God Made me to be as natural and normal for me, and seek to build bridges to understanding with others rather than walls of fear and defensiveness. And it means that I never allow the opinions of others regarding their allegations that I am “living outside of God’s Will” to prevent me from boldly proclaiming my faith as a follower of Christ, however unorthodox my life or beliefs may seem to some others.
And it means that I pray to always remain awake, alive and aware to make good use of any and all gifts God has Blessed me with in order to share the sense of peace, Oneness with, and awareness of God’s Unconditional Love for me and for all others with everyone who I can in my life. It means that I live confidently in my faith, and let the issues which others may allow to divide us to be non-issues, just as they are between myself and God.
And those are just methods by which I attempt to do what I feel God’s Will is for me as a bisexual and a Christian on a day to day, ongoing basis. That covers what I feel that doing God’s Will on a consistent basis is for me. Yet, there is another aspect which I think bears discussing, beyond merely striving to DO God’s Will on a regular basis, and that is trusting in and living God’s Will for our lives.
This to me is an entirely separate issue. While we may be very confident, secure and at peace with God about who we are, and knowing that God Loves us with an Unconditional Love, and strong in our daily faith in God, there is the issue of what “plan” if any God may have for our lives that we may or may not have considered as we go about our journeys. It might help for me to refer to these as those times when life takes a dramatic turn which we may not have anticipated, and our lives seem turned upside down.
“I have much more to tell you, but you can’t bear to hear it now. When the Spirit of Truth comes, She will guide you all into truth. She won’t speak on her own initiative; rather, she’ll speak only what she hears, and she’ll announce to you things that are yet to come.” – John 16: 12-13, The Inclusive Bible
As much praying and soul seeking as we can do, as great a sense of trust as we might have in God, and as secure as we might be with ourselves and our own identity, I have come to discover that there is no way we can ever be fully prepared for some of the surprises, twists and turns which God will often present us on our journey. In my own life, that is when I have had to face the challenge of learning to fully trust in God’s Will, and live it even when it can initially seem in opposition to some of the plans which I had made and the things I had hoped for in the life I feel that God and I co-create together.
As certain and secure as we might be in who we are, and what we want, what we cannot ever be certain of is where life will take us, or how things will transpire. We can’t know it all now; to attempt to do so to me would be not only an exercise in pointlessness but would also take so much of the fun and adventure out of life. Plus, as stated in the verse above, God Knows we might not be able to handle it at that given time, and it might detract our focus from what we should consider relevant at that moment in our lives. We cannot ever be certain of what God Might have in store for our lives; we can say that we might, but in my experience, more often than not, my personal discernment of such has been little better than one of those dime store oracles of times past, the Magic 8 Ball Toy (“Reply Hazy. Ask Again Later.”).
When we find ourselves presented with a situation where it appears that God’s Will is taking our lives down a different path, we are faced with a couple of alternatives: we can elect to exercise the gift of Free Will that God has Blessed us with, or we can elect to go with God’s Will. I can already tell you from what I feel the best path to travel down is based on personal experience, but before I do, a few of my personal opinions on “free will”:
We all possess “free will.” We have complete freedom at any time to choose whatever we desire, anything we want to do. We can act out of love, trust and faith in God, or we can act out of fear.
We can elect to stay in the job where we are miserable, the relationship where we are unfulfilled and mistreated, or the negative situation we fear we could be permanently ensnared in which we know is not the highest good which God would Want for us to have, rather than seek strength from God to conquer our fears and break free to embrace greater blessings God would Want us to have. Those of us who have elected to escape into aimlessness such as drug or alcohol abuse to avoid facing issues we know we need to address are free to continue on the same self defeating and self destructive path; God is not going to stop us, or force us to cease doing so, although we may continue to reap the natural consequences of said actions. That’s our prerogative.
Those of us who are LGBT can either embrace the Truth and Joy that God Created us to be this way, and decide to live that Truth with confidence, honesty, integrity and courage, or we can fight the losing battle of either pretending to be something which we are not in order to assimilate and conform to societal views or attempting to change that which God Created us to be in a futile attempt to placate the opinions others hold of who we should be. We can make the decision to remain isolated from family rather than seek acceptance by coming out, and God is not going to force anyone out of whatever closet they may have decided it is more comfortable to remain locked inside.
And even if we are in a place where we have conquered some or all of the above mentioned challenges, and suddenly God Presents us with an unexpected turn in our lives, we can stay in the familiar, even when we know we are being called to something better, something full of promise, even when we know God is presenting us with new opportunities for growth.
At one time, I would have always opted for the free will option, especially given the negative inaccurate views I held at one time concerning God’s Will. And the times that I have been presented with the opportunity to embrace God’s Will and selected free will, I can state from experience that God has still always taken care of me, even though my way nearly always led to disappointment.
But in addition to some of the previously mentioned insights about rethinking what “God’s Will” involves, there is another which contributed to transforming my thoughts on the matter. In the Lord’s Prayer – which I see every morning on the wall as I brew the morning cup of go-juice (aka Starbucks French Roast coffee) – is the following phrase:
“Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.”
I contemplated the part regarding God’s Will being done “on Earth as it is in Heaven” and something clicked in my soul. I have always interpreted the phrase “on Earth as it is in Heaven” to mean bringing forth the God Presence and the feeling of being one and at peace with God from within us to being active and alive in the world around us. As Jesus stated, Heaven is not in another location, but within us, Heaven being that sense of peace and Oneness we are intended to feel with God. To me, it stands to reason that God’s Will for us to be at peace within is something which is intended to be brought forth, and we should strive to allow that to flourish in our lives externally as well.
When thought of this way – the concept of God’s Will being for us to bring forth a sense of peace, Oneness and belonging with God, and being at peace with ourselves within and without, the line between what we dream of long for and whatever God has in store for us blurs. What was once something I would have relegated to only being defined as part of free will coincides with God’s Will; God May have things in mind for me I was not expecting, but God is not trying to take away my life, only facilitating a more abundant life for those and those around me. I can embrace the concept of everything happening for a reason, even if we cannot fully comprehend it at the present time and will discover the purpose at a later date with courage.
That is not to say that letting go and trusting in what appears to be God’s Will, even though it may appear contrary to what we had planned or hoped for is not a terrifying prospect at times. Sometimes, it’s best to, to quote a book title, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” I have another phrase, which has been with me for years, when it seems as if God’s Will might be leading me down unexpected paths to a destination where I know I will ultimately be at peace:
“Just Go With It!”
This has come up several times in my life, usually during major junctures where I was going through a time of major life adjustments, or spiritual and personal growth which seemed difficult.
One significant moment took place many years ago as I was experiencing my own coming out process as a bisexual. For years prior, I was terrified that I was not “allowed” to be bisexual, even though I knew as well then as I do now that is how I was Created. I knew in my heart that God Loves me Unconditionally as I am; that was not the issue. It was the fear of coming out to friends, family, fear of judgment and persecution. It was knowing that even if people did understand bisexuality, they may not as easily accept the idea that for me bisexuality means being honestly committed to both a girlfriend and a boyfriend. It was stepping outside of the prison of my personal closet that I had allowed to be my comfort zone for so many years.
I was struggling. I knew in my heart then as certain as I do now that being a bisexual and feeling the desire for, attraction to, and need for intimacy with both women and men was very natural to me; what truly felt unnatural was the denial and repression of those feelings.
And one day, as I was internally tormenting myself with the delusion that I had to “choose a side” or “don’t choose one, but keep it quiet,” and attempting to censor and repress these aspects of myself, I just took a deep breath and cleared my mind and awaited the first non-cluttered thought to enter my consciousness, and it was the one that has stayed with me whenever I was feeling concerned about something, uncertain, afraid, unable to truly discern or determine the best possible path or decision I should follow:
“Just go with it.”
And suddenly it all made sense. I should simply cease the madness of attempting to be or attempt to be anyone other than who God Made me to be and just relax. Instead of seeking to be something which was NOT natural for me, what I should be doing was seeking God’s Guidance to find peace with who I am.
A few years later, I was contemplating a major career shift. I was absolutely miserable in my cubicle, even though being there paid the bills. At the same time, there was pressure from both girlfriend and family that we relocate and the opportunity to begin a new career doing something I loved rather than what I disliked doing. However, we had been in the same place for years. The job was a “sure thing” and a steady paycheck. So I elected to continue on the same path.
Two days following my decision to stay, work offered me an ultimatum which I was very uncomfortable with as well as a pay cut. I could have stayed but there was that feeling, that spark of courage and inspiration again to “Just go with it”. We made the move, and as frightening and challenging as it was, the results were infinitely worthwhile.
And perhaps most recently – and currently – was one of the most profound instances where I needed to trust in God’s Will and “go with it.”
My Mother had been ill for some time with a crippling and debilitating illness, and she and my Father had moved seven years ago from the big city on the West Coast to a tiny small town – the family home town – in the Southeast to an estate they had inherited. Her condition over the years got worse, and then close to a year ago, my Father was diagnosed with a crippling and debilitating illness and could no longer care for her as he once had.
Being the only child, I am the only one left to take care of them. Every day I would pray to God to being them a miracle, help them to get better, help the situation improve for them. We would visit, and I would do what I could from afar. For close to three years, the family has been asking if my girlfriend and I would be willing to move out to the guest house on the family estate to assist in caring for them. Their comment was just my being closer than thousands of miles away may help.
One day in church, I heard something that inspired me: “Whatever it is you are praying for, ask yourself, ‘What is it that I can do to help bring it about?'” That was when I first thought maybe there was something I could do in this situation.
A few weeks later, my Father was given instruction that he should not be driving, which meant they could no longer get to medical and therapy appointments easily and their closest relatives were unable to keep up. Moving my parents out West was unfortunately not an option. So we flew out for a visit and it was apparent what the right thing to do was. I was told by everyone in the family that no one would pressure me – it would ultimately be fully my decision, as they knew it was one of the most difficult ones I think I have ever had to make. Which it was.
It would mean uprooting all I had known for the past 23 years and letting go of the West Coast, big city life and going to a small town with a population of less than the suburb I had lived in. It would mean a major, major adjustment to a new and very different place, and it would mean finding, or creating resources and support for other bisexuals which were prevalent where we had been living for years as none existed there and LGBT people in general were met with apprehension and fear. It would mean saying goodbye to old friends and favorite places, and moving on to something new. And, there would be a huge amount of work and finances required in order to make it happen.
Have you ever experienced that feeling where you always know when you’re doing the wrong thing but not certain if you are doing the right thing? Usually I do, but this time I knew without question what the right thing was to do, and I did not even ask God in prayer what I should do as I had already ascertained what that was, but rather that I find peace with it. And I did – by just “going with it.”
It was amazing how everything fell into place so smoothly as it did: I kept my job remotely, we found the resources to get moved, and new opportunities waiting on the other side here and in nearby cities. Arrangements were made to continue long term friendships and our relationships with our partners long distance and to fly out to visit the old home city several times a year. We and the cat made it here safely and although I cannot say the feline enjoyed the plane ride, he is happy and healthy. The move was, and still is stressful, chaotic and tumultuous; as I sit here writing this on a borrowed computer as we are waiting on the moving truck containing what was not sold or donated, and a million things to do, it is still in progress.
But things are getting smoother and gradually settling into place as we adjust to a new life, adventure and beginning. And most of all, the love, help and support we have been able to provide my parents – the people who have always loved and supported and cared for me – with, and their comfort in knowing they are cared for, is worth all of the stress in the world and all of the uncalled for apprehension which might have accompanied that first step.
The week before I departed, at a farewell event we attended, I was saying goodbye to a conservative Christian friend. He was shocked of my leaving and wished the best, and added, “Sorry you’re leaving, you’re doing the right thing, though. God has a plan, we don’t always understand God’s Will.”
“But it’s always best to just go with it,” I said, with a smile. He nodded in agreement. Amazing, I agreed with a Biblical literalist on something!
Not just in the current situation where God has taken me but in all of my experience, it is always better to go with where God’s Will is taking you rather than resist. I cannot for one moment actually state with absolute confidence and certainty what the exact Will of God is for anyone individually on any specific issue, but I can attest this with confidence:
Whenever we are doing the right thing (which I would define as the most loving thing or action), even if the right thing is not necessarily the easiest thing, I can state with a sense of sincere assurance that we are acting in accordance with what I believe in my heart is the Will of God. For it has been my consistent experience that whenever we are following our heart in any situation and listening attentively to that “still, small voice” – even when our fears, concerns and apprehensions that plague us at times on the surface level could be screaming at us that what we are doing is risky, dangerous, and involves our treading a new path into what may seem unfamiliar, unknown and at times perhaps even uncomfortable to us, that things seem to have an odd fashion of falling into place regardless of however concerned we may be that they are not. Where things seem to be initially falling apart, they have a miraculous way of coming together if we are just willing to take a leap of faith, trust in God and “go with it.”
For when we do, I have found that being able to let go of familiarity, fear of something new and different, or concern over what will happen and trusting in God’s Will only leads ultimately to better things and wonderful experiences we might never otherwise have had. It can lead to a deeper and more solid sense of trust that God will always carry us and take care of us if things get difficult if we are willing to play our part and go wherever it is God’s Will is taking us. And it can lead to a sense of peace in the assurance that we do not require any type of definite, prevalent writing in the sky to know we are living within God’s Will if we trust the compass built in to follow our heart to do the right and the most loving action in any situation, for it is my belief that when we are at peace with ourselves and doing the loving thing we can be certain that we are doing God’s Will and living God’s Will.
So if you are ever fearful of the concept of “God’s Will” for your life, there is absolutely no reason to fear. God Loves you as you are with an Unconditional Love, and only Desires that you have all of the blessings of life in abundance, while doing the best you can to share the gifts and the love God has blessed you with. You are not required to relinquish who it is you are to live in God’s Will, but only to live a life based in Love for God, expressed through Love for others. And no matter where God seems to be taking you, even if you are not certain where the path is leading, simply have faith that God’s Will is something you can place your trust and faith in.
What dreams do you have, for your own life, for your loved ones, for others? What is it that you can hear God calling you to do – something you may long to do but have been afraid it was not possible, or that would require seemingly impossible tasks to bring about? Or perhaps there is some opportunity which is on the horizon or which exists that the comfort of familiarity has prevented you from pursuing. Something which would allow you to make life better for you, your loved ones, or those in need?
If you find yourself at any of these types of crossroads in life, be it by choice or finding yourself there unexpectedly, do not be afraid. Take a deep breath, trust in the Loving God Who Jesus taught us of, and “just go with it.” While I cannot always say that it will be an easy task, I can say that placing your trust in God’s Will is always worth your while, and can only result in something wonderful with an outcome better than you could have ever constructed in your own imagination. For with God, and faith in God, there are no limits, and nothing is impossible – even what might have initially seemed so.
John Campbell is a native of Alabama.