I have always been “strong willed” since I was a young child. Others call it stubborn, or occasionally even belligerent. I stick with strong willed. And I have always considered it a positive trait, something that kept me strong when otherwise I wouldn’t be. But I have begun to think that I may be wrong.

Strong willed. That means that once I have decided what I want or what I will do or what I think, then that’s just the way it is. Changing my mind by mere persuasion is near impossible. I’m a softy, but I’m a very decided person, usually.

My will has led me many places. Across the country to go to a college I couldn’t afford. Back home to less than desirable situations, because like I said, it made me “strong.” To an acceptance letter from the Peace Corps. To job offers in China. To the accursed Florida to regroup. To avoid many friendships I could have made. To ignoring good advice I should have heeded. To hardening myself against so much, senselessly. To a whole lot of pride. My strong will may have helped me “survive” some things, but it very seldom has graced me by taking me to good places and for good reasons.

Probably because I am not perfect, omniscient, or well educated in virtue. In short, because I am not God, nor have I listened hard to His whispers, His thunderstorms, or His call of my name in the night.

My strong will has always been MY will, not HIS will. And I now believe that that is where I’ve gone horribly wrong.

It’s not that I shouldn’t have a strong will – it’s more that I should have a strong will to do His will, in all things. Somehow, that got overlooked when I thought I was made so strong. Imagine the strength I would have had if I had been doing His will instead.

Armed with this new perspective, I can begin the correct path. But I do not expect it to be easy. Like I said, I have a strong will, that doesn’t often align perfectly with His. In fact, that may make it much harder than it would otherwise be. I will have to break my own will so hard to reach His.

How does a strong, proud, slightly arrogant, very vain, set in her ways woman voluntarily break her own will?

Fortunately, many saints have gone before me, and lent me answers. Self mortification. Self denial, especially of the things of the world, and the many influences I cave to. Imitation of Mary, the lives of the saints, pursuing simplicity, minimalism, and time in prayer. Truly beginning to eliminate everything that doesn’t bring me closer to Him. My greatest defence will have to be a devout and almost constant examination of conscience. I will have to take away my usual recourses and leave myself solely armed with prayer in order to relinquish my will.

Its going to be the hardest and most worthwhile thing to spend the rest of my life doing. I only wish I had started earlier.

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