How to Pop the “Magic Question” and Stop Arm-Wrestling With God

Posted On September 17, 2021

When my second-grade religion teacher, taught us about the “will of God,” I figured following his will was like an arm-wrestling contest. God wanted me to do one thing, but I wanted to do another.

So, in my imagination, when faced with competing options, the Creator and I would sit face-to-face, rest our elbows on the table, grasp each other’s hands, and try to force the other’s arm down to see who wins. Grrr!  Grrr! We’d grit our teeth and grumble at each other.



As an adult, I often struggled with following his will. Like the time I went grocery shopping, and after I got to my car realized the store clerk had given me too much change. I figured God wanted me to go back and return the extra money. But I wanted to keep it.

So, I got into another cosmic wrestling match with the Creator. Mentally, I arm-twisted back and forth deciding what to do.

It’s not my fault she gave me too much money. I deserve to keep it, I argued.

But honesty is the best policy. The goody-two-shoes in me shook his finger, reminding me what God wanted me to do.

Eventually, the mental match was too much. God won. The store clerk was glad—otherwise, the register shortfall would’ve come out of her pocket.

These battles fighting God’s will didn’t work out so good for me. I didn’t like getting beat up by life when I won the match and made bad choices.


Popping the Magic Question


Several years ago, a wise mentor introduced me to a book by Richard Hauser, S.J.: Moving in the Spirit.  In it, Hauser says that God is like a Divine Parent who only wants us to be happy. God always invites us toward our highest good. The Creator sees the full picture of our lives from beginning to end. He wants us to do what’s most life-giving for ourselves and others. He wants us to experience joy and inner peace.

Our job is to awaken to God’s loving movement in our lives and respond by following it as best as we can.

My mentor suggested I reframe how I look at God’s will. She said that instead of arm-wrestling with the Creator, I ask myself this simple question:


“What would be most life-giving for myself and others?”


This question, my mentor said, points us in the same direction as God. It allows us to discern his will by determining what option would be the wisest, most loving one.

And we know God’s will when we experience one or more fruits of the Spirit:

lovejoypeacepatiencekindnessgoodnessfaithfulnessgentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

I call my mentor’s suggestion “Popping the Magic Question.” It’s magic because it helps me see things from God’s perspective. And the grudge match between me and God has ended.



Co-Creators Rock!


Instead of a competitor, I see God as a wise friend. He co-creates with, in, and through me. He wants what’s best for me. And when I take time to ask the Divine Spirit what would be life-giving for me and others, I make better choices and experience deeper happiness, even joy.




Making It Real


The other day, a friend pointed out that I sometimes act as if I have all the answers. Instead of defending myself, I paused, took a few deep breaths, and silently asked the Magic Question: What would be most life-giving for me and my friend right now?

I surprised myself when I let go of my anger and replied, “You’re right. Sometimes I do put on my superman cape. I need to watch that. Thanks for reminding me to take the cape off.”

We chuckled, and I grew.


A Spiritual Practice


Consider popping the Magic Question (What would be most life-giving for me and others right now?) when you’re faced with any decision—be it a simple response to another person or a major life choice.





When we stop arm-wrestling with God and instead focus on how the Creator invites us to grow, we create the life God desires for us. Happy. Healthy. Whole.


—brian j plachta


Diving Deeper

PS: To dive deeper, check out this 5-minute guided mediation: Chattin’ with the Creator.
Click on the link below to listen and InJoy:

Chattin’ With the Creator Meditation



Free September Webinar: How to Move Beyond Self-Care to “Care of the Soul.”


Join me for a Free Zoom Webinar to learn how you can connect with your Soul and live a life of deeper peace, balance, and wholeness.
During the webinar you’ll discover:
Why the greatest problem facing our troubled post-modern world is a loss of soul
How rediscovering our soul is a pathway to inner peace, wisdom, and wholeness
How to communicate with your soul
Spiritual practices to create the inner space and lifestyle you desire so you can live soulfully.
With insights from Thomas Moore’s book, Care of the Soul, I look forward to being your guide and offering you a way to deepen your relationship with your soul. We’ll also look at some spiritual practices you can integrate into your life to help you rediscover how your soul is and always has been guiding you.
Click on the link below for more details and to register.
PS: Feel free to register even if you can’t attend in person since we will be recording the Webinar and sending out the link to all who register so you can view it at your convenience.

Care of the Soul Webinar






Written by Brian J. Plachta

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