St. Paul expresses some of what I have been pondering, of how we learn to pray for the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit and trust in His guiding and leading us throughout life. We start to grasp the path God chooses by means of circumstances in which He places us. Some might suggest that Paul should grab hold of his life and not be passive nor making negative "thought projections."
"I did not shrink from doing anything helpful, proclaiming the message to you and teaching you publicly and from house to house, as I testified to both Jews and Greeks about repentance towards God and faith towards our Lord Jesus. And now, as a captive to the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and persecutions are waiting for me. But I do not count my life of any value to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God’s grace." (from Acts 16)
Rather, Paul knows that the Holy Spirit is laying out his path, God's will for his personal, unique, unfolding life and God-given purpose.
There are those who could say Paul brought it on himself, or anticipated it and projected the persecution, and intentionally suffered--unhealthy offering and devotion, emotionally or mentally unstable, inability to get along with people?--because he assumes persecutions are coming his way in every city he will visit. Indeed, he is persecuted, time and again.
Paul's attitude, deeply spiritual and all about faith in the Three Persons of the Trinity, does not today coincide in actuality with many people's (even priests) view or interpretation of being followers of Jesus and being a member of His Body, the Church. We may read and recite the Word, but we are influenced by this age of being in charge of our destinies despite saying and thinking we are submitting to God's will.
[St. Paul's words are of consolation to me with regard to seeking God's will for me within the Church--parishes, for example. I try not to anticipate parishioners being wary or insecure when they observe the phenomenon during Mass, or how God has not allowed my active participation utilizing education and earthly experience and talent.
[I do not negatively anticipate but am not surprised when God wills and allows something other for me, and precludes me from utilizing my degrees of the academic world, active life experience, and various talents. He blocks attempts to creep back into the active life, and that includes many relationships. Family and friends do not understand.
[In the past months, the disposition increases from deep within that I simply want to do God's will and get through this life of suffering and prayer. It seems as if throwing in the towel, but it is not.
It is accepting the Order of the Present Moment and holy (yet difficult!) submission to a path less trod, less active and thus not worthwhile. Parish priests and family and friends are so geared to active works of mercy and active service and initiatives, that my life can appear wasted and without value--even not in the will of God according to others understanding of Christian discipleship.]