In the middle of my struggle to understand God's chosen path for me, I attended a talk on singleness led by a nun. It focused on discernment, understanding if you were called to a religious vocation, marriage, or life as a single person. At the very start of her discussion, the nun joked about being a celibate woman giving dating advice. She went on to point out that she was in fact in a very committed relationship (with God) and that she, too, had struggled with the path He had called her to take. Society leads us all to believe that we are SUPPOSED to get married. It leaves very little room for alternatives. She wanted us to really begin to think about where we were on our life's journey and what God was calling us to do.
One of the things she emphasized most is our proclivity as human beings to try to force things. Believing that WE know what is best for us, we try to create what we believe to be the ideal situation, exert extreme effort to WILL the situation we want into being. We try to force things.
Grasping tight to what we want---whether it is what is best for us, best for this world or not---will always result in unnecessary struggle and pain. We may not be saying it in our words, but our actions indicate that we are trying to assert our will over God's. We believe that we---not HE---knows what is best for us. And through our own weak, narrowminded power we will make it happen. When we fail, we question Him, we demand to know why, we feel empty and abandoned and overwhelmed by frustration.
Our grasping natures will get us in trouble every time.
What feels better, really? Muscles clenched tight, tense with fear, fingernails digging in, fingers tinged in pale clinging? Or the release, muscles relaxed, at ease, open and free? People will run if you hold them too tight. And they will place their hand in yours when you hold it open.
It's all about letting go of our will and holding on to God's. Spending less time in our own heads and more time in prayer with Him. Only in letting go will we ever be able to hold on to anything.