What does it mean to "turn it over to God"?

When I first started looking into Christianity, one of the things that most perplexed me was the concept of turning a situation over to God.

When I would receive advice like, “Jen, you need to just turn it all over to God,” it kind of sounded like a bad idea. Being the dense person that I am, I took the statement a bit too literally. I thought that that would mean setting all reason aside and taking no further actions of my own free will. Basically, I pictured myself lying in bed in my pajamas, waiting to do anything at all until I heard the booming voice of God give me detailed instructions.

I think that this concept might be at least somewhat confusing to others as well. I frequently get emails from people who are looking into religion for the first time, and one of the things I often hear is confusion about abstract concepts like this one. (As one reader put it, “So often in this journey I’m completely lost in abstractions, like there is some decoder ring needed to discern what real things I can do to learn and grow.”)

In case it’s helpful to anyone else, I thought I’d elaborate on what I’ve learned. Here is an example of one of the first situations that I attempted to put in God’s hands, including specific examples of the actions I took:

Background: Early last year, my husband and I desperately needed a house. We’d been living with my mother for two years while we got our business off the ground, and while it was a wonderful experience, we both felt that it was time for us to move on. We both felt strongly that we wanted to buy a house near my mother’s so that we could still see her frequently. Our budget was very limited, however, and it was going to be hard to find a house in our price range in the specific area we wanted.

We had been leaning this direction for a while, but when we discovered that we were expecting our third child (when our second was only five months old), I started to feel panicked. Not only were we cramped already, but I was growing weary of being a housewife living in someone else’s house. Yet there were so many options swirling around in my head: “What if we can’t find a house that meets our needs? Should we rent an apartment? Should we stay here?” I didn’t know whether I should be looking at local apartment complexes, looking at houses for sale, trying to find ways to make it work to continue living with my mom — I was so overwhelmed and confused.

After spending a couple months agonizing over the situation, I decided that I wanted to let go and turn it over to God. But what would that mean? Should I stop looking at houses? Should I try not to think about the situation at all? After getting some great advice from wise friends I finally felt like I had an idea of what it would mean to turn this situation over to God. Here’s what I did:


1. Followed the path of peace: First, I began to pray regularly for direction on this matter. When I contemplated the logical arguments for and against each of our choices, I found that only the option of buying a house gave me a sense of peace. Even when I approached the other options in a positive, “can-do” way, they left me feeling uneasy. I was cautious not to assume that that therefore was a sign that we were meant to get a house, but just took it to mean that this was the path we should pursue at that moment.

2. Stopped pursuing paths that unnecessarily distracted from living my vocation to the best of my ability: Another way to phrase this one is that I “stopped banging my head against walls.” My old way of searching for a house would have been to stay up until the middle of the night surfing real estate websites, let thoughts of mortgages and closings consume my mind, walk around grouchy and irritated because I felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders, etc. A big change in my behavior after turning it over to God was that I only worked on house research as time allowed. I trusted that if we were meant to get a house, I would find time to do the necessary legwork without having to set aside the foundational work of my vocation like taking care of the children, keeping some semblance of order in the house, going to church, etc.

3. Kept the ultimate goal in mind: What I found was that to turn the housing dilemma over to God was, ultimately, to set my goals higher — much higher — than the details of the situation at hand. Early on in the process I thought of my goal as, “TO GET A NEW PLACE TO LIVE! NOW!” To turn it over to God was to focus on the fact that my ultimate goal in this or any other situation is simply to know, love, serve, and grow closer to God.

We ended up finding a perfect little house at a great price. We found it by driving through our desired neighborhood on the way home from running some errands one weekend — the owner had put the For Sale by Owner sign up less than 24 hours before. When we told him we wanted to make an offer, he said a bit hesitantly, “I hope you guys don’t think it’s weird if I tell you this, but I really feel like this is an answered prayer.” So did we.

So, if that’s helpful to anyone, those are some specific details of what I did when I turned a dilemma over to God. I should note that my actions weren’t really as perfect as I described there — I glossed over a lot of ups and downs for the sake of brevity. Also, just because that’s what I did doesn’t mean that that’s the perfect way to do it.

I would love to hear from readers as well: What is an example of a situation in which you made the choice to “turn it over to God”? What are some specific actions you took (if any) after making that decision? How did it turn out? Long comments welcome. icon smile What does it mean to "turn it over to God"?

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39 Responses to “What does it mean to "turn it over to God"?”
  1. Anonymous says:

    I came to clarity around this when I heard a story about Mother Teresa. Late in her life, a reporter asked her if she was anxious about choosing a successor and the future of her order after she died. “What will happen to your work?” the reporter asked. Mother Teresa corrected the journalist and said, “If it is my work, it will die with me. If it is God’s work, He will take care of it.”

    Yes, it doesn’t mean that Mother Teresa was NOT going to work to discern who should succeed her, or plan for new Houses of Charity 10 years down the line, it just meant that she realized the limits of her control.

    One foundational truth of Christianity is the First Commandment–that there is a God and I am not God. There is work that I am tasked with as a follower of Christ, but it doesn’t mean that I will always be successful or even correct in the paths I choose to live out that vocation.

    I remind myself with each evangelical task I undertake or project that I plan that I’m not guaranteed success. Christ, Jesus didn’t bat 500 when preaching to the crowds and HE IS GOD.

    So, there are limits that I have to recognize and keep trying to discern where God is calling me to act. That’s how I might define “turning it over to God.”

  2. Thea says:

    One thing I’ve noticed is that, more often than not, a situation doesn’t honestly resolve until I turn it over to God – as though God were waiting for me to catch on and relinquish my desires before he calmly and neatly sets things in order.

    An example, I suppose, would be our recent move: when we found out we were expecting our first baby while living in a cozy one-bedroom apartment (while living off my income only so that my husband could finish school), we admitted that a larger place would be nice, though time, finances and circumstance made it difficult for us to actively look for a new place.

    One day, as I was considering this, I gave the situation to God, praying that, if he wanted us to move, he would provide an opportunity for us. The very next day, our landlord called to tell us that a larger apartment had opened up in our building, and would we be interested in moving?

    The rent was perfect; the timing perfect. Because it was in our same building, our deposit and first/last month’s rent were transferable, and we were able to move in without any strain at all to our accounts. We’ve since moved and found that the apartment itself is just what we need – as it could only be, if God had ordered it so neatly.

    So there, there’s my long comment plus example. I’m not sure if I’ve commented here before, but I do love your blog. I stop by often.

  3. Ginkgo100 says:

    The best example I can think of happened last fall. (I think I may have told you this story before.) We moved to another state in January 2006 and bought another house that spring, never imagining that our old house would NOT SELL. By fall, I was feeling desperate, consumed by anxiety as our savings dwindled. (By “savings,” I mean our retirement accounts, which we were forced to cash in, one by one, at heavy penalties to avoid foreclosure.) We prayed frantically for the house to sell, periodically adding a saint to the list.

    Finally, embroiled in desperation, I tried something new. I think it was God’s idea for me to try this, that the Holy Spirit whacked me upside the head, so to speak. What I tried was to pray not for the house to sell (that is, to get what I wanted, what I thought I needed), but for God to take care of it and take away my anxiety.

    Whoosh: within 24 hours the anxiety was, if not gone, at a very manageable level. We did not go into foreclosure. The house did eventually sell. And I am not freaking out about our diminished retirement savings because I trust God with that, too.

    There was another situation in which I resisted turning things over to God, and God had his way anyway, and in the end it caused me great pain. In fact, there is still enough of a wound there that I hesitate to detail the situation. If I had changed my attitude during the process, I think the pain of not getting my way would have been much less.

  4. Jason says:

    I don’t have an example, but I love this post. So often, we Christians use catchphrases and lingo that are have obvious meaning to us, but don’t mean anything to people outside the church. I’m glad your taking a look at practical applications of this concept.

  5. Aimee says:

    Jennifer – first I would like to say that I have been a reader for quite a while, but have not commented on many posts. I usually have baby #4 draped on me while reading, and I stink at one-handed typing. I am a cradle Catholic who consistently finds excellent and heartfelt insight in your posts. You remind me of all the reasons why I love my faith – thank you :)

    My biggest and clearest “Let go and let God” story happened about 5 years ago (but I have noticed many other instances in my life): My husband and I were living on a Marine Corps Air Station in NC (we had #1 and #2 back then) and he was coming to the end of this particular tour with the Navy (he was stationed at the Naval Hospital). He was about to reach the point in his military career where we needed to make a decision about being career military or going civilian. (Time to fish or cut bait, you might say.) We had a good life in the military, and he enjoyed his work. We had no real complaints, other than always being so far from family and our occasional separations from my husband.

    It basically came down to a question of permanence for us. Did we want the children to grow up in one town, close to extended family, keeping the same set of friends, or did we want to travel the world and expose them to all kinds of different adventures? We could honestly make a case for both lifestyles and we were seriously on the fence.

    My husband and I talked it over and we decided to “give it up to God.” Other friends were driving themselves crazy visiting prospective employers all over the country, and we didn’t want to do that. We had some pretty definite criteria for a civilian job: We wanted to live in a certain part of PA, my husband wanted to continue to teach interns and resident doctors, and we wanted to see him before 11 pm every night. We prayed and we told God we were open to whatever plan was going to be best for our family, but that didn’t mean that we just sat back and did nothing.

    We continued to talk about our goals, and to refine them even further to make them more family centered. My husband would pick one window of time every day to search the web for available jobs, but other than that we did not worry about it.

    During one of his “job searches” on the computer, my husband came across the name of one of his former attending physicians when he was an intern. He saw that she was now the program director for a thriving residency program in eastern PA – exactly where we wanted to be. There were no jobs listed on the website, but he thought he would drop her a line just to say hello and to see if she remembered him.

    The next day he got this message: “Hi, R! Are you almost done with your committment to the Navy? Do you want a job? Because I have one for you.”

    We were stunned by the speed of the offer, and in following up with her, we found out that this job fit EVERY SINGLE one of our specifics. We took a trip up to PA to check things out, and after a nice dinner with his soon-to-be boss, he agreed to take the job.
    On the way home, we both commented on how this was like one big neon sign from God saying “I’ve got this, kids.”

    We have never doubted or regretted our decision once. We talk fondly about our time in the military, but we know that this is the life God has meant for us. We have been here for 5 years and now my husband is the program director, and we have added 2 beautiful children to our family. We have also discovered some neurological and development problems in our first son, and we can see how we are so blessed to live in a state that provides the therapies and interventions that he needs.

    And the biggest benefit, at least for us, is the ability to see our families on a regular basis. The children are growing up with their cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, and it is a joy to see them form such close bonds.

    Thank goodness you welcomed long comments, because this has turned into a book! Thanks for the opportunity to share just one example of God’s goodness to my family.

  6. Thomas says:

    Can I offer a negative example that turns out well in the end?

    In January, I was desperate to get a car. I hadn’t had one in years, but this year it was pain, I lived further from campus than ever before, and I was riding the bus a lot. That had been okay until December when I was attacked walking home from the bus stop (I was okay – St. Michael saved me, another story).

    I had very little money, but I needed a car. I didn’t feel safe out walking anymore. One day I found out there was a repossessed car auction in a nearby town. I couldn’t get there on the bus. I cut all my classes and spent all day trying to get a friend to take me out there. No one could, and I got very frustrated and God and I had words.

    Then, I had to go to work…. I had to give up, stop trying to force my will, and do what I was supposed to do. I apologized to God.

    As soon as I got to work I received a call from my uncle. He had seen a car down the road from his house and said that it was a good deal in my price range, and I should buy it. I did, it was a good deal, and I really like it.

  7. Heather says:

    Perfect timing–I needed the reminder as we are at a place where decisions have to be made. I usually don’t panic as I learned long ago to turn things over to God but in this case I thought God had already answered the prayer and now my husband is saying no, he doesn’t think it is going to work.Must get back on track with releasing it to Him, especially since I took the first step and told my husband that I will stand behind him on this decision.

  8. Beth says:

    Well, we’re about ready to make a “leap of faith” when I start working part time in 6 weeks! We of course, will be doing our part by living frugally, etc, but we will also be totally trusting that we’re doing God’s will… I hope it all works out!

  9. Tertium Quid says:

    Pray for us. We are exploring some vocational options and looking to move, Lord willing, in order to be closer to family.

  10. Melanie B says:

    Good timing on this one.

    We’re facing a big move this summer (even though we moved last summer, husband’s job is moving and if I ever want to see him we need to move closer) and trying to decide if now is the time to buy a house or if we should look for another rental.

    Our financial situation just doesn’t make buying seem feasible; but all other indications are that this is the perfect time to buy. I know I need to turn it over to God but am struggling with how exactly to do that. You’ve given me a necessary refresher.

    I know it will somehow work out for the best if I trust God; but boy is it hard to let go of all those worries.

  11. Sandy says:

    When my oldest was looking at colleges two years ago, he had pretty much settled on one three hours from home. Then he got a postcard from a college we’d never heard of in New York City. They were offering a great deal on a trip to visit the school. (We only had to pay for airfare and a few meals for dh and ds.) We took advantage of the chance for ds to see New York City, never imagining he would want to go to the college there. Well, of course, the college was a great fit and ds called home to say “Mom, you are going to have to come see this place.”

    I always tell the story this way: as soon as he said that, my heart fell to the bottom of my shoes and I looked up and said, “Oh, Lord, that wasn’t part of the deal. He wasn’t supposed to like the place.” I instantly felt God’s reply, “what if this is My will for him?” I instantly answered, “then of course, Lord, I will consider it and follow Your lead.” I was given instant peace. Peace I still cannot explain.

    If you had told me three years ago that my son would go to college 800 miles from home, in New York City no less, I would have been filled with fear. Since turning it over to God, though, I have peace. I do not worry about my son’s safety. God has provided the money for tuition, airfare, etc. We’ve had confirmation over and over that this was indeed the right choice.

    The more you practice turning things over to God, the easier it gets to trust Him completely. We went through lessons about 9 years ago when we learned to trust Him for our financial needs and those lessons have been invaluable.

    Of course, I still go through periods of agonizing over details and feeling overwhelmed and forget to turn them over! It always feels like a big “duh” moment when I realize I haven’t prayed about the things I’m worrying about.

    Wonderful post!

  12. Ashley says:

    I love this post. I agree with Jason, “catchphrases” are all too common in Christianity and quite confusing.

    I’m currently in the throes of decision making (whether to move cities, grad school for hubby, job for me, etc etc). I was feeling quite anxious about it for a while, then we started a novena. That helped my worries a little bit, but this Monday after adoration, I really felt a sense of peace. As though, what will happen will be right. Don’t try too hard or worry too much.

    (Of course, questions and anxieties are still present, but it’s a process)

  13. Dustmite says:

    You know I have always struggled with “turning it over to God” and how much do you do vs. how much do you sit and wait. It has always been a dilemma for me. When has God taken care of it or when did I not really turn it over to him. This was a very good post and one that I will probably keep turning over in my mind for a while. Thank you.

  14. Hettie B. says:

    Wow, this is the first really meaningful, practical outline I’ve read about just what that phrase means. Although people have often told me to “turn it over to God,” no one could really help me do that.

    I truly had to figure it out for myself, and it’s been pretty constant for about 3 years now; since my fiance’s death, I’ve been having to pretty much rebuild my life from the ground up.

    But I do pretty much the same basic things you describe here. I think that ultimately, it comes down to the end of Matthew chapter 6, where Christ says: “Seek first the kingdom of God.” For me, that means never losing sight of God. That always puts things into proper perspective. It banishes loneliness, helplessness, hopelessness. It clears the mind and strengthens the heart. It gives you a sort of internal compass–allowing you to better sense which paths are open and which have roadblocks set up.

    None of this is easy, of course; none of it comes naturally. It comes supernaturally–that is where prayer and the Sacraments come in. With God’s help and His grace, we can always pick ourselves up, shake off the dirt, and keep going, keep striving.

    I still have a long way to go, but I feel like I’m definitely going places. My life has taken some really surprising and often magnificent turns! Things I never could have imagined for myself. Things that couldn’t have happened if I’d just stuck with what I wanted or what I thought was best. I think that all our lives would be pretty dull if we limited our possibilities to our own little visions and wants.

    Thanks for this excellent post. I wish you and your family every happiness in your new home! :D God be with you all.

  15. Colleen says:

    I had a big “turn it over to God” experience back when my husband and I were dating in college. We had been dating for about 6 months and both of us were beginning to think that the other may be “the one”. Without talking to each other, we both started thinking and praying about marriage. At that time, my husband was not Catholic, but he was Christian, very involved in his faith, and we shared the same moral values. I always thought I would marry a Catholic man and I was starting to feel concerned about our differences of faith. Also, one day at daily mass on campus, the priest talked in his homily about choosing a spouse and he emphasized that finding a Catholic spouse should be priority. After he said that I really began to be concerned. I forced myself to focus and listen to the rest of the homily, though, and the priest reassured us that marrying another Christian can work , but it can be a big stress in the marriage.

    At that point, I decided to give it all over to God (a.k.a. I stopped worrying about it). I still prayed for discernment in my vocation and for Eric. But, I had a real sense of peace and knew that everything would turn out right, whatever that happened to be.

    Just after this Eric and I were separated for the summer at different internships in different states. Eric was having similar thoughts, but he decided the solution was to convert me to his Christian faith (he was raised Church of Christ in a very anti-Catholic church that did not even believe that Catholics were Christian). To convert me he knew that he would have to logically explain to me how the Catholic church’s teachings were wrong. And, to make sure he understood what those teachings were, he bought a Catechism of the Catholic Church. As he started to read it, he was so compelled by the teachings that he just devoured it, reading the entire Catechism from cover to cover followed by the Bible and many other apologetic books. In short, he converted himself instead of me! Actually, God converted him and in a way that I never could have imagined.

    At the end of the summer when we went back to college he surprised me by telling me that he was ready to start RCIA classes. He came into the church at the next Easter vigil and we married about a year after that. Giving it over to God and trusting in His will made all the difference.

  16. Beth says:

    Of course I forgot to mention that we had to totally turn our struggle with infertility over to God. It took us 4 years to conceive our daughter, and she was WELL worth the wait! But it was such a struggle to wait and trust and know that God had a plan for our family. I was not always patient, but I always knew He had a plan for me, and now it’s better than I could have ever imagined! (Of course now we’re praying for number 2 :)

  17. Stina says:

    First of all, I love that you said “long comments welcome.”

    I don’t have a story to share right now. I desperately need to go to bed, so I haven’t even read the other comments. I just wanted to say that your example of buying a house is so perfect for me right now. I, too, have been up late looking at house on the web, etc…

    Anyways, going to bed now, but just wanted to say thanks for shedding some much need light on what I need to do (or not do, as the case may be).

    God bless you!

  18. Tausign says:

    This is a great post: both the subject and the comments.

    My story is in dealing with an adult son who is struggling mightily in life. He continually makes one poor choice after another and brings misery to himself and others. In his late teen years I realized that he was certainly out of my control and yet his behavior continued to affect the whole family, not just himself.

    I have done what is humanly possible and have given him over to continuous prayer. That’s the only way in which I can attain peace. Otherwise I would become bitter. At the point of intercessions each morning and evening in LOTH I pray: Lord guard him, guide him, and give him the grace of conversion. The issue still isn’t resolve and may never be in my lifetime…but I am at peace with the situation as it is in God’s hands.

  19. Melissa says:

    I had a similar situation happen with the house we bought last year. I can relate to your point about only allocating a certain amount of time for searching things out…I can go on and on and play out every “what if” scenario my imagination throws my way!

    Allowing God to open doors we would not even dream of is so much better than taking control of the situation myself!

  20. truthfinder says:

    I’ve been reading your blog constantly; it really addresses some important issues very well. One of my most important “turn it over to God” times was when we were considering a totally life-changing move from Ohio to Missouri. I was content as we were, and where we were, but my husband was miserable. He was in a dead-end job, and we were renting a house from a family member after declaring bankruptcy. We were in the Presbyterian church. Although he had been baptized Catholic and grew up going to Catholic schools,
    he “converted” to the Baptist church not long after we met, and that was the church we were married in. We had — at various times in our marriage — belonged to several different Evangelical denominations, and ended up joining the Presbyterian church in an effort to be Christian in the small community where we rented our home. Through a series of unusual circumstances,(another story)we were invited by a close friend to stay with her in Missouri (where the heck was Missouri?) while we looked for work.
    At the time, there were many “insurmountable obstacles” to doing that, but my husband and I asked God that if this was indeed His will for us, He would clear the way. (Secretly, I felt confident that God would NOT enable us to move.) Within TWO WEEKS, every obstacle had been removed, so we packed our truck and a trailer, and drove to Missouri. If we had not done it, I probably would not have become a Catholic at Easter Vigil in 2004, with my husband returning to his childhood faith, (but that’s ANOTHER story!) Thank you for maintaining this blog. It is truly a blessing.

  21. Barb says:

    When people talk about turning things over to God, it reminds me of our struggle with infertility. I just started a new blog and you inspired me to write the beginning of our story of how our dear Lord answered our prayers.
    God is good, always…
    A blessed Sunday to you…

  22. Laura says:

    We are currently in the midst of a long struggle with our financial situation. My husband has an excavating business and, due to the downturn in housing, has had no work for six months. I have had good days and really bad days in trusting God in this situation. I have to say, though, that it has been truly amazing how God has managed it so that our family of nine has lived on a meager unemployment check this whole time.

    When I have bad days, I look back at all of the other situations we have been in and realize that, even though they have been tough and looked like there was no way out, God never abandoned us and many times the situation turned out far better than we could have ever imagined. Each time, though, the situations seem to last longer and push us to new heights in trusting God. This particular period has been quite trying and sometimes I find myself feeling a little excited becaus I can’t wait to see how God is actually going to pull everything off!

    Some days I find myself so mired down in the struggle that I cannot even pray to God to help me. I have read that in those times, it is best to just forge ahead with the task that is in front of you and look no further. Eventually the feeling passes and then I can maintain a better sense of focus and prayer. It also helps me to get to daily mass more often and spend time in Adoration. Thanks for putting this out there. It has been very interesting and helpful. God Bless!

  23. Chelsea says:

    Hi, Jen! Thanks for the comment. The feeling is quite mutual! You have no idea how much I needed to find your blog. I am a cradle Catholic with a great love for Christ and His Church, but I am often, sometimes violently, plagued by fear and doubt. Your blog has been a great gift of hope for me. I love it! Thank you!

    Peace,
    CZ

  24. 'Becca says:

    Trying to conceive was a lengthy process for me, and I was so eager to be a mother that I jumped into it in a very goal-oriented way, monitoring my body’s every twitch and timing everything just so. I’m a data geek, fascinated by numbers and dates, so I constantly had my baby’s projected birthdate in mind. I knew my fertility was less than normal and assumed that meant I had to try harder. TRYING is a good word for it; it was very trying! I worried constantly and felt that I was failing at this goal so many women achieve so easily, even accidentally. No fair! The anger and self-pity and doubts about my worthiness were overwhelming…and not at all sexually appealing.

    Of course, I prayed a lot during this time: “Please, God, give me what I want. Show me how to get it right now.” Each time I got my hopes up, I could list physical evidence that I might be pregnant, but I couldn’t FEEL it–there was giddy excitement but no sense of guidance or destiny.

    After a year and a half, we were beginning to have tests and very reluctantly to consider drug treatment. Slowly, I admitted that I couldn’t do this on my own. It wasn’t a matter of choosing a different path; I couldn’t see any path, just a little clearing in the dark forest where I sat alone and waited with no idea of how long it might be.

    On Palm Sunday I was a chalice bearer. For several days I’d noticed signs of impending ovulation, but I’d given up getting excited about that…but as I sat next to the altar in a white robe, getting ready to serve the Blood of Christ that renews all hope, I felt the egg pop out, and I couldn’t help praying. It was different this time. I prayed no words, not even “please”; I let go of my own will and just accepted God’s love and felt it flow through me.

    Several days later, just as I was about to fall asleep, I felt something like a pin scratching deep inside me. I prayed the same prayer, felt the same calm trust. Over the next week, I began to know that I was pregnant. I was very busy with work and guests and activities, but I kept seeing the new blades of grass, smelling the wonderful fragrance of spring, feeling the warmth of the sunshine, and sensing something I recognized even though I had never felt it before.

    Throughout my pregnancy–despite all the queasiness and so on–there were moments of this unutterable sweetness that showed me the timing was perfect. I even got dates that satisfied my yen for number patterns: My son was conceived on 04-04-04 and born on 12-24-2004. God knows what He’s doing, when I give Him a chance!

    Sandy wrote:
    It always feels like a big “duh” moment when I realize I haven’t prayed about the things I’m worrying about.

    I know!! Isn’t it weird how that can happen over and over again? Why don’t we learn?! I used to feel really bad about it, but then I read a priest’s column in my diocesan newsletter about having a problem and being asked by a friend, “How have you been praying about this?” and having one of those “duh!” moments–so it happens even to priests; that made me feel a little less inept. :-)

  25. Anonymous says:

    “Commit your life to the Lord, Trust in Him and He will act” Psalm 37 How great is that? I often want to act on something but how? I turn it over to God and wait and sure enough something prompts me (the Holy Spirit?) or the resolution presents itself. I ask God to be obvious and overt with me because I am dense, and He graciously spells things out for me.

  26. happy appy wife says:

    I’m still learning what this means.

    Very timely post for me, as usual. Earlier this year, I gave my marriage over to God. This has been my concentration in prayer, and my focus of my daily active efforts and choices.

    Thank you for your encouraging post.

  27. Marian says:

    You described this so well. I’ve found that giving a matter “over to God” often involves choosing to put it there again and again, along with much recitation of truths about God In particularly I remind myselfthat I He is good and worthy of both my trust and praise, and that whatever He does with it will ultimately be for my good and His glory, no matter how it *appears * to me. He’s proven that countless times.

    It’s remarkable how many times God has waited for me to finally give up the control or de-throne an idol, before He really moves in amazing ways.

  28. Paige says:

    I am a mother of 4 and midwife in a rural county. I have been a catholic for since 1993. My husband was the reason I became catholic. He is a science teacher and like you, we always had a problem going between religion and science. I have decided finally that I will never have all the answers to all my questins and I am just going to have faith. It has really helped and eased my constant questioning.
    Well, the other day I was driving into the hospital for a birth at 0245. I said a prayer to St. Brigid. to help me stay internally calm and just enjoy the birth. This was the second baby I had delivered for this couple. I am always calm on the outside, but really wanted to allow myself to be calm on the inside. Not even 2 minutes later, my phone rang…”you can slow down, the baby was born!”
    She was only 5cm when I left my house, and I only live 12 miles away!
    Thanks St. Brigid!!

  29. Bonnie says:

    Have you heard, “Let go and let God”? In many ways it’s very similar to “turn it over to God” but that “let go” part is so difficult to me. Let go of the pain, let go of the old wounds, let go of the insecurities and fears?! How? And how long does that take? I still don’t know about all that. Do you?

  30. shaun says:

    I hesitate to post this, because it is a little different from where you’re going with this but . . .

    For reasons I won’t explain, tonight I ended up following some links back to a post I wrote a long time ago. Not much later, I found your blog asking this question.

    Seemed like maybe the Spirit was guiding this clicking around?

    I hate to say it, but you kind of have to read the whole post for it to make sense, but here’s the conclusion:

    I have recently made a “re-alignment” in the way I pray that has made a huge difference to me. A common motto of those who pray is “give it to God,” as in “let go, let God.” This is a nice idea. But it is not one that ever clicked genuinely with me, as I never really felt that sense of peace that I had truly decided to let God steer the ship.

    After some additional meditation training this summer, in a class on depression management, I came to try a different way of praying. I had an experience much like the “opening up” experiences I have had in yoga. I could see that in “giving it to God” I was pushing things away, trying to separate a person, a thing, a problem from myself and hand it off.

    What I do now is “give it to God” through me. I use my “broken-open heart” as a doorway to the heart of Jesus. I embrace that person, thing, or problem that is causing me so much distress, because I know my heart can take it, and it can because behind it lay the heart of Jesus, which is big enough for every mistake, every hurt, every injustice.

    When I pray this way I have that sense of lightness and openness that is at once new and like coming home. I have a closer understanding of what Jesus meant by saying “I leave you my peace.”

    The main benefit of this for me is not so much that I got guidance or answer to prayer in a particular situation, but it that it changed my relationship to God from whiny child (I want! Give me!) to a more adult disciple. Not perfectly, of course, but the difference was huge!

  31. kjrice says:

    WOW! I love the keeping the ultimate goal piece! That should be our goal in whatever endeavor we pursue.

  32. AOS says:

    What does them mean to anyone? One night I laid on my couch praying to God about my businesswe just lost because of the econmie and a bad business partner I thaught was my friend and was praying also about looseing my father at 11 years old as well I am 33 now asking why all the things where happening to me and asking God to show me he was real I was looseing faith or just wondering why this was all happening to me. well I feel asleep praying my first time ever doing so. I was a woke in the middle of the night but no noise from anything just awoke there was a man in all white robe white hiar and I belive I white beared stood there said nothing but I was not scared at all for some reason and then went right back to sleep might of seen him for 5 secs what do you think this means if you dont know it s ok email me aos.ads@gmail.com

  33. Anonymous says:

    my job- footwork
    God- results
    peace and serentiy- seeking God's will and then aligning my will with God's.

    It's just that simple.

  34. Robert says:

    It’s really funny that I found this “common sense” explanation to something that I really needed to know. I’m sorry to say that I don’t have an example to give since I’ve never truly done it, but I believe that this post, along with other things that are going on, will help me in this direction.

    Thanks.

  35. Lynda says:

    I like the stories that you were telling about wanting to find the right house near your Mom and so you turned it over to God and things seemed to work out for you.

    I would like to start doing that, but I’m not sure how. I feel like I would be coping out of my own responsibility if I just turn things over to the “big guy”. You know what I mean?

  36. Cori says:

    I found out about turning it over to God when I joined AA. After struggling with drinking for a few years, my long-term marriage finally collapsed. I had been attending meetings for a year or so and couldn’t get this concept. When I found myself a divorced single mom, who hadn’t worked in 8 years, I was really scared. Of course I immediately started freaking out about finding my way back to my career after the 8 year absence, what was I going to do about retirement, etc. I worried about a lifetime of troubles all at the same time. Nothing was panning out for employment. Then I went back to turning it over or let go and let God. I swear within days of doing this by praying for God to show me the way, I finally got a call (after 6 months of NOTHING) from the temporary agency I had signed up with again. They offered me a temp job that was near my apartment and allowed me to get my son to school on-time. It gave me just enough money to take away the worry and to help me break back into the working world. I worked with a kind older lady who was willing to give me a chance. The job is done for now but I am trying other avenues and I know that something will pan out when I least expect it. I’m doing all the right things but I no longer demand my outcome and try to control it because God knows better than I! He gave me exactly what I needed instead of the crazy plan of what I thought I wanted! And that is enough for now!

  37. shalonda says:

    My spouse and I are having trouble getting and staying on the same page. I have spoke with wise people, but the betrayl I have expeirenced is so hard to get pass. I really love my spouse and want the marriage to work, but I am so busy being reactive that I cant be who God needs me to be.

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  1. [...] What does it mean to "turn it over to God"? | Conversion Diary When I would receive advice like, “Jen you need to just turn it all over to God,” it kind of sounded like a bad idea. Being the dense person that I am, I took the statement a bit too literally. I thought that that would mean setting all reason aside and I am a cradle Catholic with a great love for Christ and His Church, but I am often, sometimes violently, plagued by fear and doubt. Your blog has been a great gift of hope for me. I love it! Thank you! Peace CZ [...]