Something about this quote by Imam Ali (AS) touched me and it just made me pause and reflect on how deep it is. If there’s anything that life has taught me in these 32 odd years, it’s Sabr (patience). Nothing ever plans out the way you expect it to be. In fact, people and books would always say “life is full of surprises” and it used to always make me wonder. Yes, I am completely aware that it’s not physically possible to be in control of everything in my life. When you’re in your 20’s you feel invincible and you’re so sure about everything. You reach your 30’s and it feels like everything you were so sure off, you’re not anymore.
Life has taught me that these ‘surprises’ in life are all the things you didn’t plan for or even expect to be thrown at your path. It could be the job you never expected to get, the marriage proposal that you didn’t even think about, the pregnancy that you never planned. Life has a million ways of surprising you; irrespective of what you’ve planned out for that day, week, month or even year. I guess what it all comes down to is “taqwa” complete, basic and utter faith in God’s Decree in your life. And how many of us really have that ? I can only speak for myself and I know that it’s hard. Personally, it’s not about not being control of my life. It’s about the ‘not knowing’ of what’s been planned for me.
How many times have you wished that you could just fast forward your life just to see how you’ll end up, who you’ll end up with, or where you’ll end up ? A million unanswered questions of where your life is heading, and this is where it all comes down to: surrender.
Surrendering those questions of doubt and replacing them with the belief that whatever is out there, whatever the outcome is, is the result of what is needed in your life at that particular time.
We’ve been fortunate enough to be given the gift of Istikhara prayer. But how often do we really make use of this prayer ? How many of us get on that prayer mat to ask GOD to guide us towards what is right for us ? Instead, we rush in making important decisions in our life without consulting the Best Planner of All. God has a way of teaching us that what we want isn’t what is always best for us. And when what we prayed for isn’t what we are left with, we are wrecked with disappointment, frustration and anxiousness.
If I really want to be happy, I need to stop asking what His plans are for me, and just accept them. I don’t have the mental capability or know-how of predicting what God has planned for me. In order to attain true happiness I need, and must surrender my doubts and questions and believe that whatever is meant for me, is for my own good. I may dissapoint myself with wishful thinking and fail by making wrong decisions, but I believe that God knows me more than I know myself. I need to relinquish my so called ‘control’ of my life and remind myself that I never was in charge.
Does this mean you shouldn’t have hope, that you shouldn’t try when the going gets tough, that you shouldn’t plan for the future ?
No. I think it’s quite the opposite. Have all the hopes that can lift your spirit, never give up on on what you believe in,be dedicated to your goals. But accept that you are not in charge. You’re just a passenger. You can plan your itinerary, have all your checklists and bags ready, but it’s your Creator that’s the driving force, not you !