How to align our desire to the Lord's will?
Updated: Nov 27, 2018
If alignment is the desire of our heart, there are two essential steps for our actions: 1. an understanding of the reference point, and 2. an act of agreement or movement to such point. Alignment presupposes accuracy and correctness in its very definition.
Alignment is so important in every aspect of life. The process of alignment is like adjusting your side and rear mirrors in your car so you could stay in the right lane, foresee dangers on your sides or behind while driving on a busy road with many pedestrians or a high way with fast cars. I don't know how many times that because I forgot or was in a rush, I neglected aligning my mirrors and felt uneasy and anxious, and praying for a long red light to fix it. Especially when I was already on the road or on my way to the destination, it became too late that my mirror was not perfectly aligned that I might not be able to see or judge the situation correctly.
Consider this official instruction on how to align your mirrors here,
To adjust the driver's side-view mirror, place your head against the left side window and set the mirror so you can just barely see the side of the car in the mirror's right side.
To adjust the passenger's side-view mirror, position your head so that it is just above the center console.
it first direct you to place your head at a stable and fixed reference point before making any physical adjustment. While on the road, it might already be too late to follow those instructions since you are forced to keep moving forward while being surrounded by busy traffic.
Likewise, it is equally important that before we plunge into the business and demands of life, or before we leave our home to embrace the traffic of life, we could get into the right mindset and find that unchanging and stable reference point. We could do so by pausing for a moment whether it is to pray, to meditate, to read, or to journal. We will feel the peace and stability from the alignment as we become more acquainted with the rock of our life, our Savior Jesus Christ, and his original teachings in the scriptures.
While we get on the road, we could still take the opportunity to align ourselves to His way by focusing on the correct reference points and continue to check where we stand. For me, my alignment comes from two simple sources--hearing the words or taking bold actions. Both are sources that increase my faith and ability to repent.
1. An Understanding of the Reference Point
First, it is important that we have an understanding of the reference point of the Lord's will. In order to align correctly, we should seek correct knowledge. Often times I make the mistake of assuming that I know what the Lord wants for me is the same for everyone. We often learn from watching, reading and gathering other people's opinions, behaviors and examples, or what I was taught by families, community authorities or popular voices on what was expected of me. Those sources will pull us towards all directions and cause confusions. My suggestion is to always check with the one unchanging and stable source of wisdom.
The first step is really tuning into the right channel of a radio station by putting aside the noises. Those noises in our mind or around us that sound louder and become more authoritative than ever. The only way to tune in to the Lord's will is by seeking, listening and become acquainted with His words directly so you drink from a source that is unmediated and untainted by human errors and biases. For me, the sources that I trust the most is by combining the power of scripture study and prayers. This is what I do exactly:
Step 1. I pour out my heart to the Lord with my feelings, thoughts, regrets, sorrows, hopes and dreams with an open mind and a trusting heart that He would correct me to the right path. Acknowledge Him and His power which I believe in and trust with all my heart.
Step 2. I either have an inspiration to read certain books or chapters. Most of the time, my eyes were closed when I pronounced the prayer in faith, and then open the scripture with faith to wherever God would take me. I don't like to read the scriptures for the sake of finishing it because it makes the purpose more about the destination rather than the process of growth. You can learn from prayerfully open any page (that even include the Bible dictionary--see Prayer), and I would start reading; the key is that I would not stop reading until that the words from the scriptures would teach me, guide me or help me feel God's love. It always works miraculously as if you are actively conversing with God, and hearing back His answers.
Step 3. I ask God in prayers or talk to God in my mind again to let Him know what I learned and confirm with Him whether I am on the right track. I would feel peace, direction, and enlightenment afterwards, rather than darkness, anxiety and confusion.
This process could take any amount of time as you wish. It could take as short as 5 minutes to as long as 60 minutes. Please make sure that you are in an environment that you can be completely available and present for God with no anxiety about time (Example: you may set a timer so that you are completely in the now without worrying about time).
It is important that we talk with God often. This is because if we spend more time talking with our own mind, the world, or other people who have one similarity--all are imperfect and flawed, we will most likely become the person we interact with the most or embrace the ideas that we invest most of our time and energy in. What helped me the most has always been finding an activity or space where I can be alone conversing with God. It does not have to be in your room or closet, it could be walking in the nature, or working out at the gym, or while you take a walk or sit on the bus. It could be anywhere as long as we are spending time pondering/praying and opening our scriptures to have a two way conversation with God.
2. An Act of Agreement or Movement to such Point
Second, if you could not receive answers directly through the words of prayers and scriptures, it would take some time and some work through our faith and experiences to uncover His answers while we are on the road. In fact, in order to align accurately and correctly, it is important to allow ourselves room for the process of aligning, which errors and corrections must as be expected and allowed as an essential process. It is impossible to learn, grow and understand the right way without first being willing to step into the wrong way.
The concept of prediction errors are critical in our learning and growth as a human. When a child who touches a hot stove for the first time, he or she learns by being burned or cry when what he or she predicted was not right, then learning to take care and avoid the errors. This is exactly the process that we learn to align correctly and the very path that accuracy is achieved. Being willing to make choices, take bold actions, watch and examine our feelings and thoughts during and afterwards is essential.
For example, you could ask yourself after taking an action a very simple question: am I feeling closer to the Lord or farther away from Him? The Lord and His Spirit usually accompanies feelings of humility, meekness, joy, peace, charity and compassion towards yourself and others. If you are feeling more prideful, boastful, sad, guilty, anxious and selfish, most likely that you could align again to take a different action. It is truly by trial and error that the Lord wants us to learn if after searching the scriptures and prayers, He did not already provide you direct or simple straightforward answers.
Even if we are already on the road, we are unprepared in terms of alignment with the correct or right way, or have been unable to receive the correct alignment by being in a parking lot. Luckily, when we are on the road and cannot find a place to park immediately, there are some red stop lights, or life situations that forces us to pause and change. We have an opportunity to recognize our errors or correct our courses. We could take the time and space to adjust our errors and align our mirrors to our visions and situations.
The RED stop lights in our travels when we need to get to somewhere else may be unpleasant, undesirable, discouraging, or even frustrating. Those pauses are actually necessary for the order and flow of the traffic, and very good for us and our safety. If we view rejections, pauses and stops in life as an opportunity to realign ourselves by having a correct reference point to adjust our mirrors, we would be in a much better place than we were if we have green lights all along.
The reason why God does not give us all green lights, or all red lights is precisely because it is in the traffic of life we could take bold actions and move forward, but we also need time to take pauses or opportunity to to align, to reflect, and to adjust so we could go further in the right direction and arrive at our destination in safety and peace.
I believe that being able to stop--whether we proactively taking pauses and reflections about our life to align with the Lord, or whether we are forced by painful or heartbreaking situations like failures or losses to evaluate what we want and what makes us truly happy, and recenter ourselves in the way that the Lord wants. Rejoice when we are in those situations because we are in the best place even though we may feel the worst. We are repenting, adjusting and aligning our way with the Lord's way. That is a time period that is invaluable, essential and critical to the transformation and becoming of a disciple of Jesus Christ.
To summarize everything, as busy as we are as fellow travelers in life, the more we are able to stop and pause so we could do some aligning activities with God, the better that we are able to feel fulfillment, stability and peace even if we may seem to always be in the middle of struggles, trials and hectic life. We can carve out the sacred space where you could pause and align by focusing on talking and listening to God.