“If you want to make God laugh, tell Him about your plans.” – Woody Allen
If you know me, you know I have a pretty good relationship with God. I’m not religious. Rather, thanks to my personal epiphany, I’ve spent the last 26 years allowing God to lead my life. The results have been pretty remarkable.
I am neither an angel nor a holy roller. Far from it. And I fail pretty much every day in seeking God’s will in my life. Which is to say—I try. I just live in the same world as you do. A world where we’re told that if we fight to get what we want in life, we’ll be happier. This absolutely contradicts the whole “let go and let God” idea.
Still, I try. I could just do way better.
Part of letting God guide my life means hitting my knees every morning and night to say the serenity prayer. The prayer goes like this –
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Simple, right? This prayer asks for everything I need. And yet it doesn’t ask for any thing.
Early on in my recovery when I was struggling to get my life back on track, a friend pulled me aside and explained something that really stuck.
“You’re a smart guy, Jimmy. But you’re no Einstein. And you’re not God. Do you know how smart God is, Jimmy? It’s like this, if Einstein was the smartest person who ever lived, all the knowledge he had was just a pimple on God’s ass. Be patient, Jimmy. God knows better than you do what you need.”
I grew up going to Baptist church in the deep south. Over the years I’ve heard religious people swear that when you pray the right way, God answers your prayers and gives you what you want.
And maybe they’re right. I don’t know. I just know that the prayer I swear by asks for serenity, courage, and wisdom. Only. Thanks to the pimple on God’s ass thing, it’s been my experience that when I get out of my own way and let God do His thing, things tend to work out.
NOTE This is a good time to clarify that the idea of letting God guide my life is not a passive existence. I set goals. I work hard to hit those goals. I just don’t force my will. Forcing my will got me to the edge of my life at 27. And when I gave up my will for His, life got better. So much better that I stuck with it. Anyway, back to the story.
The bottom line is that I don’t negotiate with God. I don’t ask God for things.
I have more today than I ever dreamed of 26 years ago. Like I said earlier, my life is remarkable. There’s only one thing wrong right now—my job.
I’m mired in the worst 12-month stretch of my career. It’s such a tough stretch that I’m now wondering whether God wants me to do something else altogether. Still, I am what I am and am quite good at my job. The tough part these days is getting doors to open. In fact, I’ve had so many doors slammed in my face this past year that I carry a red handkerchief for the nosebleeds. As a result, money isn’t as right as I want it to be.
So this morning while running the dogs at the park, I decided to break from my position about asking God for things. I lifted my head to the sky and said, “Dear God, please send me some money.”
I immediately laughed at the ridiculous request, and dropped my head.
And saw it.
It rained last night and the ground was wet with mud. But there it was, right below my feet, shining like it had just been dropped from heaven.
What. The. Hell.
So I guess it’s true that God does answer prayers. You just have to be careful what you pray for. Or at least be specific.
The point, for me, is that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. Keep waking up and seeking His will. Keep moving in the direction that feels right and true, and things will work out. Also, life is too good to be glum.
And so the heavens rolled with laughter this morning. That God, what a joker.