(Dr. Norquist is on vacation this week. We are re-running a letter that was published earlier in this column).
Dear Dr. Norquist:
I am a very religious person. I feel very lost with regard to what I should be doing with my life. I've been asking God, praying for direction, but I haven't received any answers. I'm looking for some kind of direction from God. It seems he hasn’t answered my prayers. What do you think I should do? I've been taught that God answers everyone’s prayers. How can I get an answer?
Dr. Norquist responds:
Where do you think the answer comes from? You must listen inside for the answer. The act of praying can cause an understanding of what is true for you. Through putting your prayers and your wishes into words, you are helping to clarify for yourself what you desire. Create in your mind’s eye a vision of the ideal God has for you, the best self that you can be. Pray that you become this ideal or that you move in that direction. Through prayer, you can become more powerful and more centered on what it is you believe you should become. Through prayer, you can become closer to the ideal God has for you.
Ask for discernment to know what is true for you. Ask yourself often, “is this what God wants of me?” This inner knowing, this discernment must be cultivated through the practice of asking and listening from your heart. With practice it becomes second nature.
There is a difference between faith and faith in action. We are not just passive recipients of God’s wisdom and grace. Through discernment of what is true for us, and then taking action on this truth, we are growing, learning, creating and developing our own Godly nature. Remember that God has given you this life. God has empowered each of us. You are responsible for what you do with your life, not God. Create a clear vision of your ideal self. Practice accessing this place of inner knowing, and then choose to take actions that evolve naturally from this place of inner knowing. I hope this helps you in your quest for an answer.
(Dr. Sallie Norquist is a licensed psychologist (NJ #2371) in private practice and is director of Chaitanya Counseling Services, a center for upliftment and enlivenment, in Hoboken.)
Dr. Norquist and the staff of Chaitanya invite you to write them at Chaitanya Counseling Services, 51 Newark St., Suite 202, Hoboken, NJ 07030 or www.chaitanya.com or by e-mail at email@example.com, or by fax at (201) 656-4700. Questions can address various topics, including relationships, life’s stresses, difficulties, mysteries and dilemmas, as well as questions related to managing stress or alternative ways of understanding health-related concerns. 2013 Chaitanya Counseling Services