A BELIEF THAT GOD ACTS with purpose in this world must lead to attempts, however feeble, to discern how my own actions might be attuned to God's one action.

William Barry in Presence

YOUR PROFESSION is not what brings home your weekly paycheck; your profession is what you're put here on earth to do—with such passion and such intensity it becomes a spiritual calling.

Vincent van Gogh, quoted in Edward C. Sellner, Mentoring

DISCERNING AND ACTING on God's will does not mean you'll never have difficult days or feel lousy sometimes. But choosing to live in alignment with God makes you more joyful, compassionate, and peaceful, even on bad days.

Debra K. Farrington, Hearing with the Heart

GOD GUIDES us first through his Word, then through our heartfelt desires, then the wise counsel of others, and then our circumstances. At that point we must rely on our own sound judgment… . God gave each of us a brain, and he expects us to put it to good use.

Bruce K. Waltke, Finding the Will of God

A TALENT may be so great that it propels a person forever down one path, as is the case with some artists. But even for these extraordinary folk, call determines whether and how they use their gifts.

Elizabeth O'Connor, Cry Pain, Cry Hope

THE BASIC DECISION, after all, is to let God be God, to say "yes" to the work of the Lord, which goes before the church's ability to understand or even perceive it.

Luke Timothy Johnson, Scripture and Discernment

CIRCUMSTANCE and coincidence may cause us to be in the right place at the right time to do God's work in a specific way.

Suzanne Farnham, Listening Hearts

GOD IS ALWAYS calling us! But there are distinctive moments in this call of his, moments which leave a permanent mark on us—moments which we never forget.

Carlo Carretto, Letters from the Desert

THE FACT THAT I THINK that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.

Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude

OUR ONLY TASK is to seek willingness. This radical willingness will, if we are faithful to it, shatter every idea we have about ourselves; about our inner growth and transformation; about living a Christian life; about contemplation and our relationship to the world; about God.

Maggie Ross, The Fountain and the Furnace

IN HIS WILL is our peace.

Dante, The Divine Comedy: Paradise

Related Elsewhere

In a recent Books & Culture article, Richard P. Hansen laments the many "formulas" for finding God's will.

Past Reflections columns include:

Article continues below
Work and Vocation (Sept. 17, 2003)
Bumper Sticker Theology (July 30, 2003)
Songs from the Soul (July 8, 2003)
Walk Humbly (May 28, 2003)
Mercy (May 8, 2004)
Cross and Resurrection (April 16, 2003)
Justice (March 18, 2003)
Sex, Love, and Marriage (Feb. 14, 2003)
Mountaintop Spirituality (January 23, 2003)
Word Made Flesh (December 20, 2002)
Desert Springs (November 25, 2002)
Matters of the Mind (October 16, 2002)
Bumper stickers (August 6, 2002)
Preaching (July 18, 2002)
Prayer (June 24, 2002)
Suffering and Grief (May 20, 2002)
Writers and Words (April 18, 2002)
Crucifixion (March 28, 2002)
God's Mission (February 13, 2002)
On Enemies (January 8, 2002)
Life After Christmas (December 26, 2001)
Love & Marriage (November 13, 2001)
The Word of God (October 22, 2001)
Leadership (October 11, 2001)
Suffering (September 13, 2001)
Change (August 14, 2001)
Living Tradition (July 18, 2001)
Sacred Spaces (June 11, 2001)
Friendship (May 17, 2001)

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