“I, the LORD, your God, teach you what is for your good, and lead you on the way you should go.” – Is. 48:17

Recently I was talking to one of my students about how friendships have the power to influence us. “They’re not going to lead me down the wrong path,” he said to me. “I’m a leader.” I nodded, dumbfounded. His sense of invincibility caused me to laugh under my breath. It brought me joy to hear my fifteen-year-old student think of himself as a leader. He surely is. Yet, people do influence us whether we are cognizant of it or not. “When we tell our friends our deepest secrets or let them in to our heart, we give them power to hurt or help us on our journey,” I tell him.

When I read the scriptures for today I remember that the prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures always called the Israelite people back to the covenant, back to their relationship with God. I am reminded of my relationship with God, my own friendship with Jesus. I hear a deeper invitation to trust God in the way I trust my best friend. Often, I take my student’s stance when I hear God inviting me to trust Her. God does lead me – I attend retreats, teach religion, and help out with catechism. I am on the path towards God, duh. I am involved in the things of God, but do I actually let God influence my life? Do I let God influence my habits, order my desires, and shape how I discern my journey? I start to think about my attitude towards others, how I often close my heart to their hopes and pains. I start to think about how I prioritize my life and whether that reflects my love for God. Too often I do not let God lead me because I do not trust in God. I’d rather trust my own plan – the one that makes me feel safe because it makes me feel like I am in control. Today, God is reminding us that She is looking out for our good, like a dear friend, and leads us along the way. We may not know where, but we know we are not alone.

This Advent I pray for the grace of trust – to be able to let go of control and surrender with my whole heart. I ask Mother Mary for her intercession as I learn to let God lead instead of desiring to control my own life. I hope that I may deepen my friendship with Jesus as I await joyfully for his birth.

Ana Lopez

Photo Credit: Mary Allen Armbruster