The idea of relying on God’s Providence wasn’t something on my radar until I read Heart of the Gospel this past April, which I shared in my blog, Short but Powerful Spiritual Reading. That book was a lightbulb moment for me in realizing God’s perfection. This has made it easier to surrender to Him, though it’s still not as second nature for me as worrying is.
Trust means letting go, of control, expectations, and fear, especially during times of uncertainty, and well, that’s still very new to me. It’s gotten a little easier in the last year thanks to the resources I mentioned in my blog, The King of Love My Shepherd Is, but I have yet to trust 100 percent. Believe me, though, I wish I did. Worrying only leads to overwhelm and a paralyzing fear, and reliance on God removes that. The times I’ve been given the grace to totally surrender to God are full of peace, and I really want more of that.
In 2024, I’m being given the chance to put this desire into practice.
I’m writing this blog at the beginning of December 2023 and by this time in the year, I’m usually planning for the next one, dreaming about the goals I’d like to achieve, looking up productivity videos or blogs, and designing routines that I hope will help me manage everything. This planning excites me.
So, imagine my shock when I realized a couple of weeks ago that I had no idea what to envision for 2024. Like, nothing. I thought that would change by now but nope, I still have no clue as to what God wants from me.
I don’t know if it’s because I’m receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation in January and God is keeping what He has in store for me a surprise so that I don’t freak out, or if it’s just His response to my prayer for the grace to rely on Him more. Regardless, I’m surprisingly calm about it, even excited. Well, excited and scared, but mostly excited.
This not knowing is liberating in a way. It’s a breath of fresh air. I kind of have no choice but to rely on God now, and who better to rely on, right? And the thing is, He’s always proving to me that He is someone I can rely on. He’s the one person who has never broken my heart. In fact He’s the one who is healing my already broken heart!
Still, old habits die hard, and I have an itch to have some sort of plan to hopefully make relying on God’s Providence come more naturally.
Cultivate trust in God by getting to know Him
We trust our loved ones right? Our family, our best friends, our closest confidants. We know that when we need help, they’re the ones we can count on to bail us out. But that trust didn’t magically appear, it had to be cultivated by getting to know them. Talking together, laughing together, suffering together.
I’m grateful to say that I do grow closer to God with every year. I pray more, frequent the sacraments more, and spend more time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and I’ve felt the impact of a deeper relationship with God.
The more I pray, the more I recognize God’s will working in and around my life. The more I frequent Confession and receive Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, the stronger my conviction becomes of God’s mercy and love. The more time I spend with Jesus in adoration, the more I long to be with Him in Heaven for all eternity, and the more I desire that for everyone.
It makes sense, doesn’t it? The more I cultivate a relationship with God, the more I love Him and the easier it is to trust His promises. The more I get to know Him, the more I believe He loves me and the easier it is to do His providential will.
So in 2024 I’d like to continue deepening my relationship with God. Talking, laughing, and crying with Him more. How exactly, I’m not sure yet, but I trust He’ll let me know when the time comes.
Keep a gratitude jar
I’m a naturally selfish girl. I look inward before I look outward, and I often find myself affected by what I don’t have and want rather than by what I do have. It makes me live in both the past and future, lamenting things I’ve missed out on or daydreaming about an ideal “someday.” I hate living this way because not only does it make me live anxiously, but it also stops me from living in the present. My selfishness and ingratitude make me miss the ways God’s Providence is always at work in my life.
In 2024, I want to take notice of God’s protective embrace more, so I’m going to keep a gratitude jar (which is the only clear image I have for the new year). And of course through Divine Providence I already have everything I need to get started in abundance. Not only does LWGL have a free printable download in the shop for a gratitude jar activity, but I have a few containers and many sheets of pretty scrapbook paper sitting in a drawer, just waiting to be put to good use.
I know that intentionally looking for where God is already taking care of me will make it easier to trust Him during the difficult times. While I’m suffering, all I’ll have to do is look at the jar full of reminders of His love for me to trust that I’m well looked after.
Be patient with God’s perfect timing and will
This is the hard one because growing up in a culture of instant gratification has made me less than patient. If my computer lags for a second, the world might as well be ending. Factor in God’s timing and sometimes I’m anxiously waiting for my prayers to be answered. Or He does answer but with a “not right now” or “I have something better for you.” But because I’m still very broken, at first I don’t want what’s better for me, I want the lesser thing I’m asking for, preferably now.
But to rely on God’s Providence means to be patient and to accept His will. I have no idea how He’ll help me do this; I just know that it will probably hurt. But even in those growing pains, I know I can rely on God through it all because He loves me and wants what’s best for me.
And that’s what relying on God’s Providence comes down to right? Surrendering to a God we know loves us with all His Heart because He suffered and died on the Cross for us? Trusting in a God who doesn’t watch us from afar but wants to be as close to us as possible even in this life, so He makes Himself Food for us in order to dwell within us?
When I think about it like that, relying on God’s Providence doesn’t sound as scary. It sounds exciting.