A photo of Diana Gutiérrez

Diana Gutiérrez

Panama City, Panama


I just broke up with my boyfriend. It was not because we had so many troubles, or because he cheated on me or I cheated on him, but because there were so many little things. They were accumulating, so many little things. We both go to church, and I didn’t know what to do because I actually love my boyfriend. I am still in love with him, but I knew that there was something wrong. So I said, ‘God, if this is for me, I will leave it in your hands. If this is not for me, you’ll take it away.’

At that very moment, so many people started to talk to me: ‘Hey. How are you doing? I haven’t seen you [be] very happy,’ and ‘What’s wrong?’ and ‘What’s going on?’ I realized that the relationship was taking my happiness from me. So God started to send people to give me light.

My parents worried about me in the last month because I was not happy. They actually told me,‘We think you should see a therapist.’ I started to go to therapy and it actually helped.

This weekend I decided just to break up with him and I said, ‘Let’s see what happens.’ And my ex-boyfriend showed a face that I had never seen. It was actually a little scary. So I could see the truth. I could see this is what had been hurting me all the way. He was not in love with me, but he depended on me. He was all over me, and he was obsessed. I couldn’t see that because I was so in love, and I was so involved in the situation.

But so many things happened, and [then] I could see clearly. And it’s really, really interesting because last week I wouldn’t be able to say that because last week I was perfectly fine! I was thinking everything is alright. But it happened. Because I said, ‘Everything is in your hands.’ I relied on God.

Daniel’s Reflection

I was gifted with an extraordinary example of faith when I met Diana Gutiérrez, a young medical student, in Panama. Diana shared with me her story of having just broken up with her boyfriend because something didn’t seem right. She made the very conscious decision to break up and put the relationship in God’s hands. She said, “God, if this is for me, I will leave it in your hands. If this is not for me, you’ll take it away.” What ensued allowed Diana to see that her boyfriend was not in love with her but, rather, obsessed with and dependent on her.

This idea of putting our problems in the hands of God is one I struggle with but it always pays off when I do it. My first struggle is that I believe God gives us so many abilities to deal with life. Second, I don’t want to be a passive person. But I’ve learned that turning something over to God does not mean either of these. Today, placing my problems in God’s hands means for me that I am asking a deeper wisdom to guide me to what will serve God and the Universe best, not just what I want for my own selfish, predetermined needs. This is so well described by my favorite mystic, Father Richard Rohr, in his book, Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps, throughout his chapter on Step 11:

“When you ‘pray,’ you are supposed to take off one ‘thinking cap’ and put on another ‘thinking cap’ that will move you from an egocentric perspective to a soul-centric perspective...I call the first perspective ‘the calculating mind,’ and I call the second perspective ‘the contemplative mind.’...The first mind sees everything through the lens of its own private needs and hurts, angers, and memories. It is too small a lens to see truthfully or wisely or deeply. In short, prayer is not about changing God, but being willing to let God change us, or as Step 11 says, ‘praying only for the knowledge of his will.’ True prayer is always about getting the ‘who’ right. Who is doing the praying? You or God in you?

Little you or the Christ Consciousness? The contemplative mind prays from a different sense of Who-I-am. It rests, and abides in the Great I AM.... People’s willingness to find God in their own struggle with life and let it change them-is their deepest and truest obedience to God's eternal will.”

Today my approach to turning my will over to the care of God can vary. My friend, David Charpentier, always reminds me “more will be revealed.”

Sometimes it is me simply meditating on an issue, asking the Universe to “help me to see what I cannot see.” I liken this approach to the wonderful quote from Carl Jung: “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” And, still, sometimes it means I am verbally asking the Great Spirit to help me resolve something I cannot resolve, understanding that it may not get resolved the way I want. Turning over a problem to the Universe may also simply be recognizing the truth proposed by Albert Einstein when he said, “You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created.” For me that means some problems can only be worked out spiritually, not by my hard work and thinking.

The result of my turning problems over to a Higher Power are always positive, even if it just makes me pause for reflection before acting. The result is so beautifully articulated in AA’s Ninth Step Promises: “God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.”

Thank you to Diana Gutiérrez for teaching this 50+ year old a lesson you learned much earlier than me! I learned a great lesson in faith from you.      


Rohr, Richard, OFM. 2011. Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps.

Franciscan Media.

Permission to quote text from this book was given to the author by Sharon Lape of

Franciscan Media on July 1, 2021.

Alcoholics Anonymous. The Big Book. 1939. “The Promises,” Chapter 6, pp. 83-84.

“We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.”

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