Updated: Sep 15
For years I consistently tried to come up with various ways that I thought I could please God. I would do this or that and try to convince myself that I was doing God's will. After much trial and error, I finally came to a realization. I was trying to please God to my understandings, not His. First, who the heck am I that I should know what is pleasing to God? Believe me, I'm simply not that smart. Second, being an avid spiritual reader, I have read over and over how "Gods' ways are not our ways." Suddenly the light bulb went on. I have no idea what to do to please our Lord. Because I only understand human thought, I was taking those understandings and trying to use them to please God, but God does not think in human terms.
We have a tendency to make our thoughts and ideas reality. It's a bad habit that most of us are guilty of. If it makes sense to us then it must be right. I don't know about you, but more often than not, I'm wrong. My wife can testify to that! Although I try pretty hard to hide from her when I'm flat out wrong.
Now, once I realized that I was trying to please God, but in vain, I was forced to try and figure out how to please Him to His liking's not mine. Easier said than done right? Whenever I get stuck, I always turn to the saints. All of the saints are brilliant in their own way. They provide teachings, understandings and can usually point you in the right direction through this sometimes woeful life.
I came to realize that in order to please God, I had to submit myself entirely to Him and forget about my ways and understandings of how to live my life. Great! How in the world am I going to do that? It took some time and an awful lot of prayer, but I finally gained some insight into what works, at least for me.
I began by turning away from the small things that I relied on in my life, the things that occupied my time. I guess like most people, I loved watching TV. I had my shows that I watched faithfully every week and planned the things I did around these shows. I don't know about you, but Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory cracks me up, I love that guy.
I started to reflect on things that Jesus has said to us like, "Pray unceasingly." Well, I realized that I can't pray if I'm busy watching Sheldon and the gang. This was extremely difficult, but I decided that I was going to give up my favorite show and use that half hour to pray and see what happens. The first month was really hard, and I realized that my prayer time was full of thoughts of anger because I was missing my favorite TV show. Isn't this a contradiction in some way? Prayer is supposed to be good, peaceful and nourishing to the soul, yet I'm ticked off! But I made a promise to myself and to God, so I was determined to stick with it.
A few more weeks went by and suddenly I realized that I was praying during the show but I wasn't thinking about the show any longer. Not only that, but the amount of time I was praying was getting longer and moving into the next shows time, and for some reason I wasn't bothered. What's going on here? Could God be bestowing His graces on me and drawing me closer to Himself? This is very cool. Long story short, I eventually eliminated TV from my daily life. It took a lot of time and patience but I'll be honest, I don't miss TV much anymore.
I didn't eliminate the boob tube all together. I do watch religious movies, documentaries and things of that nature all the time. But watching these kind of movies and shows are a form of meditation on God. Unfortunately, I have to be honest or I'd be a total hypocrite, I do have one TV vice that I have yet to conquer, football! Thank Heaven it's only on for five months or I'd be in real trouble. I'm working on it though.
Don't misunderstand where I'm going with this. I'm not suggesting that you stop watching TV and throw it in the garbage. What I am suggesting is that you take an honest look at your spiritual life and how you're living it. What small changes can you begin to make that would be pleasing to our Lord. Maybe spend an extra fifteen minutes in prayer instead of being online. Or how about a small act of charity that you might not normally do. Perhaps when something frustrating happens or someone ticks you off, try to react with patience and humility instead of reacting with impatience and anger. Try to remember what Christ did for you during His passion and you may begin to realize that the things that seem so important to us, are really not that important after all.
Peace, good and blessings.