On Divine Abandon
I have been reflecting on the idea of divine abandonment. I will discuss what it is, why you should adopt the mindset, why it is hard, and why it is necessary.
What is it?
Fr Jean Pierre de Caussade is a Jesuit priest who wrote “Abandonment to Divine Providence”. Although there are religious over (and under)tones, the message is a good one. What is abandon? The word abandon means to leave or give up something. It is offering up an aspect, thought, or work to fate. What is de Caussade asking you to give up? In the context of his work, he’s referring to abandoning wordly matters and wills. He dictates that we should offer all these matters to God and not to worry.
Why should you care?
That’s all honky dory for de Caussade, but who cares? How does this apply to your life? Well, he has a point. I care about a lot of things. I care about my career, about the money that’s coming in, the bills that I have to pay. I care about the work I do, the pride I express in my craft, and about life. If you’re anything like me (lol, you pleb), you care too. And it’s good. It’s good to care, but de Caussade is saying that, well… sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s better not to care and just let things go.
There’s a comforting sense of freedom when you forgo the outcome and do things for the sake of doing them. Ever heard of intellectual pride? It is when you get caught up in knowing that you’re better or smarter than others. Who cares about that? By adopting a sense of abandon, it keeps you humble and in your own britches.
Another great aspect of divine abandon is that you are no longer concerned with the outcomes. So what if you fail at that exam? OR what if you suck a little bit? That’s okay! We all suck. Equally! (/end motivational speech). Living out the life of abandon helps you to get over yourself and start living.
Why is it difficult?
I’m not sure I’ve fully convinced you yet, but let’s go over some reasons why this is hard.
- we like to be right
- we like to be proud of our work
- we care
And we’ve covered these thoughts previously, so I’m not saying anything new. These aspects of your life and personality are cool and good. But it’s when we take things too far or when you can’t keep your head out of your butt that you have problems. Abandon helps us to regulate and moderate ourselves in equilibrium.
Why is this even necessary?
In my own life, I’ve seen this attitude as a blessing even in the corporate world. I used to have a boss who would get his directs to work on slide decks for a client meeting that he knew he was never going to use. Having abandon here is perfect. Just cause you poured long hours and tears and blood and stressed about it for weeks (totally did not happen to me), doesn’t mean it is all bad, yeah? yeah? You don’t have to get upset or even think terrible angry thoughts at your manager. Sometimes, these things happen and the result is not always up to you.
It sucks, but sometimes, just completing the action is sufficient and good has been done here.
I hope this piece has been helpful to you. It’s definitely a different way of approaching things and I strongly recommend reflecting on it before you completely cast the idea aside. It has been a huge help in my life and I think I’m doing pretty alright (if I don’t say so meself :D).
Until next time!