Over the years, I’ve known a number of people who have felt abandoned because they didn’t feel that their prayers, or questions to the universe, were being answered.
In my early years, I had the same experience. Then I discovered that I was asking the wrong questions.
In the past
I recall asking God, the Universe, or whatever term you prefer, questions like:
- Should I accept this job?
- Is this the person I want to spend my life with?
- Should I risk my job and stand up for my values or cave to the ethical pressures I’m experiencing?
- Which of these opportunities should I pursue, both interest me?
The thing that all of these questions have in common is that they are “if” questions. “I wonder if …” could easily be the preface to each of the questions above.
By asking the if questions we’re In essence asking God or the Universe, to choose for us. This flies in the face of most religious and spiritual teachings. Virtually all teachings acknowledge that we human beings have free will…the right to choose for ourselves.
Without realizing it, asking God or the Universe to make the choice for us, or to guide us in that choice, means that we want to relinquish our free will.
While at times many of us wish that someone would choose for us, we rail at any attempt that others make to control our lives. We can’t have it both ways. We can’t have free will and have someone else…even a deity…making the decision for us.
The right questions
I’ve learned that the right way to ask these questions is to ask “How”, “What” or “Which” questions.
- How can I be successful in this job? What will it require of me?
- How can I make this relationship beneficial to both of us?
- How can I retain my values and meet the demands being placed on me?
- If I can’t retain my values and my employment, how can I position myself for a new job…a new source of income…when I stand up for my values?
- Which of these opportunities enables me to serve the greatest number of people? For I know that my success is directly related to the number of people I serve.
Implicit in each of these questions is the fact that you have made or are anticipating making a decision…not asking for the decision to be made for you.
When I ask the right questions, I always get an answer. Often more quickly than I would have imagined. But when I ask the if questions, I never get an answer.
In my experience, the unanswered question is a reminder that I have to choose. Once I choose, God or the Universe is quite willing to help, but not until then.
The next time you feel alone and abandoned by the higher power you call God, the Universe or whatever other term you use, remember that you’re asking the wrong question. Reframe your question to ask how, what or which and you’ll get the answer you seek.
For our kids
I don’t profess to be a religious instructor, but in teaching your kids to pray or connect with a higher power, remind them that they have free will and that free will requires them to choose.
Once they choose, teach them how to ask the right questions so that their prayers and questions get answered.