Man Plans; God Laughs: Recognizing the Divine in Life

plan-god-laughs-spirituality-divine-0605134We turn to God for help when our foundations are shaking, only to learn that it is God who is shaking them. – Charles C. West

The author of the quote above was really on to something. How many times have you asked yourself, “what’s going on here?” or wondered why such-and-such is happening, especially when you don’t have a clue? It’s easy to think you are doing something wrong and you are being punished. It is a slippery slope sometimes when our lives are just not working out as we thought they would, or as much as we think they “should” (a word I try to avoid as much as possible).

Rather than asking, “what am I doing wrong?” ask instead, “is there some Divine plan of which I am unaware?” This is easier said than done, especially in those times of a downturn in either relationships or work, death of a loved one, or illness.

Not believing that there is some Divine plan places a huge burden on us as human beings to be totally responsible for the course of our lives. Some people believe that we are. I, for one, find it comforting to think that times of adversity, life challenges, or even points of stagnation have some purpose. I am also humble enough to accept that I may not understand it just yet. The hope is that I will understand it at some point.

So how does one figure out the divine plan?

  1. First and foremost, one has to believe that there actually is one. If you don’t, then you might as well stop reading right here.
  2. If you do, look at the evidence as impartially and objectively as possible. If your career choices are not working for you, try considering that it may be time for plan B. If the business you started has fallen off drastically, even though you feel like you’re doing everything right in terms of bringing in new business and it hasn’t helped, it might just be time to consider that a change is what’s called for. Is that giving up? Not necessarily. It may be a matter of simply cutting your losses. It may be worth examining why you are holding on so tightly.
  3. Try to remember other times during which you thought you were on the right path, discovered you weren’t, and had to make drastic alterations in your life. I’m talking about that divorce, relocation, job loss, financial hardship and so on. Then remember that you survived, and maybe you were even better off than before. (This is not always the case, but it applies in many, if not most, cases).
  4. Most importantly, pray a lot (or however you connect with spirit). And when you are done praying, shut up and listen! The listening part is the most challenging (this applies to dialogue with humans as well as the divine). In the quiet is the information you need.
  5. Pay attention to dreams, daydreams, flashes of inspiration, and outright epiphanies (these are rare and should be cherished).
  6. Talk to people you trust — those who will give you honest feedback. Sometimes it is really hard to see ourselves, especially our strengths and limitations.
  7. If, when all is said and done (meaning you’ve done all of the above more than once), take the risk of trying something out. If it doesn’t work out, you can start the process all over again.

In my experience I have learned that there are no choices that didn’t have some lesson in them, however painful. I’ve also learned that the Divine plan changes what it looks like from time to time so you have to keep checking in (it’s all part of the larger plan, however).

Perhaps the most important advice of all, which I say to myself and to all of you: remain hopeful. Hope will go a long way on the journey to clarity.

© Copyright 2013 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Kalila Borghini, LCSW, therapist in New York City, New York

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • torrey

    torrey

    June 5th, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    experienced this!so many times when there are things going against everything you are trying for,it may work to just take a step back and see things from a new perspective.has helped me more than once and I hope it does in the future if I am in trouble again.not sure if that is divinity at work or something else but if it does work to accept then why not!

  • Lulu

    Lulu

    June 5th, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    There is no way to find out the divine plan other than to simply allow it to unfold in front of you. Go with it and learn from it; don’t consistently try to struggle against it because that leaves you nothing to gain. Life is all about learning on a daily basis, just remembering though that there is always a greater power in constant control.

  • diana R

    diana R

    June 6th, 2013 at 3:59 AM

    I try to tell my kids this all the time.

    They want things to be just so, you know, exactly what they perceive that it should be. I try to tell them that life does not always work like that, that many times we don’t have any control over what happens and what doesn’t, that you just have to give it up.

    But of course, they don’t listen. They will have to learn the hard way I guess.

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