In my religion, there’s a special prayer you make when you want to make a decision, and you’re looking for some guidance or reassurance.
You pray two raka’at (units of prayer), and recite a du’a (a prescribed set of words of prayer) that essentially says: I’m making this decision, so Allah (God), if it’s good for me, then bless me in it. If it’s bad for me, then keep it away from me, and give me something better, and let me pleased with that alternative.
After you do the prayer, though, there’s no extra step. There’s no special response you hear back through a dream or anything like that. This is just a prayer that states you’re making a decision, and gives you the confidence that now you’ve asked God to intervene further and guide you to what’s best.
But the thing is, now you have to deal with the nuanced art of reading the signs of your life. There’s no particular response from God, as I said, but you then do have to intelligently examine what happens moving forward. Does something fall through with you decision and now it’s given you a chance to take a second look? Have other options suddenly presented themselves after you’ve already chosen? Maybe these are signs indicating you need to think again about this decision.
Or did some extra benefit pop up that you weren’t expecting? Is there some factor of your decision that you now realize is even more important to you than you initially thought? Maybe it was the right way to go, then.
But of course, things aren’t always clear. We ask for guidance, but we don’t always accept it, or notice it, or follow the direction it’s leading us to.
I think about this process a lot, this process I call reading the signs of your life. I think about it because I’ve failed at it so many times.
I’d pray that prayer, and literally right after, some different option or path would present itself and I’d be too caught up in my own ego and “trusting my gut” to see that I should’ve reconsidered my decision.
Your decisions make up your whole life, and that’s scary because your decisions are yours, no one else’s.
Even if you pray about a decision, you can’t blame God when you ignore the signs or a decision turns out different than you wanted.
Because it’s also true in my religion that despite the fact that I’ve definitely made some choices I shouldnt’ve made, even after asking for guidance–everything that happens is meant to happen.
You’re meant to mess up the way you did. You’re meant to ask again and again, and keep coming back looking for that guidance. You’re meant to learn from this apparent “trial and error” you feel you’re going through, because that’s your story. There’s a Storyteller who knows how it ends, the details of how you end up where you do, but you’re just a character who’s learning and trying to accomplish your goals through the obstacles in front of you. Through it all, your story is a story of change, as all stories are.
So try to read the signs, but don’t get too caught up with looking backwards. Put your trust in who you trust, and move forward.
I pray Allah gives you what’s best for you in the time that it’s best for you, and that you have the presence of mind and heart to appreciate it when it comes.