02/13/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Partnering with God in Tough Times

As a result of the recent financial crisis, a friend of mine told me he felt he'd lost control of his life. To me, the current challenges make it clear that none of us have control of the world. But what we can control is how we choose to respond.

Although my friend lost money, I saw that he could still choose to take every opportunity in his life to experience joy. He could still choose to be open to abundance and prosperity. Rather than giving up, I suggested he take action to protect and strengthen himself through these challenging times. And I reminded him he's not alone.

"You have a partner in God," I told him. "A partner in whom you can trust completely all the things that go on in the world."

I'm not suggesting there will be no more storms, droughts or blizzards. Partnering with God doesn't guarantee I won't lose money or have a health challenge. We all have challenges to overcome and from which to learn. However, through my trust in God, I choose to respond to each challenge as an opportunity for learning to become a better person and contributing to a better world.

In my partnership with God, I have an agreement just like I have an agreement in any other partnership. I don't control my other partners nor do I control how anyone chooses to be a partner with me. I don't control them nor the partnership, just as I don't control God. All I can do is make the best choices for myself. So I choose to strive towards perfection and then let go of control. I call it "Letting go and letting God."

Some years ago, I chose to take a vow of poverty and focus my life on being of service. I gave up my material concerns as I had known them. I no longer owned anything. I didn't have all kinds of things that a lot of people have. I didn't have any income or pay taxes. I didn't have a bank account.

During that time, I had many opportunities to learn about what really matters to me. I learned about true abundance and prosperity which allowed me to live a very rich fulfilling life. I found the freedom that comes from not being attached to things through the perception of personal ownership. I found deeper appreciation for what is present in each moment and circumstance in a way that felt as if I was owning everything.

Eventually, I chose to let go of my vow of poverty. In the period since that time, I've also lived a very rich, fulfilling life. My life now has many more material concerns than it had years ago. At times, I find the greater personal material concerns weigh upon my sense of freedom. It's somewhat like having been in a sheltered lifestyle and then re-entering a life with many more concerns to take my attention away from the grand experience that freedom from material concerns brings.

My ability to experience prosperity and joy are more about my having the willingness to choose how I respond in appreciation of what is present in each situation. I have found that when I choose to respond with trust in God, I am partnering with the one who is in control and leading through learning rather than obtaining anything material.

God, the Creator that created me, is within me. I still am who I am, regardless of my financial situation. God is still my partner. Through my partnership with God, I can experience richness, abundance and fulfillment. It's up to me to choose, and to then let go and let God.