Discernment is an activity that best takes place within the context of authentic community.
As we pray and listen, we share what God is doing in our lives with others, seeking feedback, affirmation, encouragement, warnings, corrections, questions and further insights.
A few weeks ago I was meeting with my spiritual director and we set a course of some specific areas to seek discernment in this month. As I have gone through that process, I believe God has been moving me and speaking to me.
I have shared some of this with friends and today spent a couple of hours talking it through with my pastor at Panera Bread, while it snowed outside. It was actually quite beautiful.
God used the conversation this morning to refocus in a slightly different direction than I was sensing — actually, a pretty significantly different direction. But during the conversation, it felt right.
I will continue to pray, reflect, journal, blog and dream. I meet again with my spiritual director next week. I will probably also call some friends and mentors this week or next, just to process some more. Different insights are always helpful. Each person will bring an important perspective to the process.
But at the end of the day, others provide input and we individually need to decide — but God uses community to direct and guide us. And to also protect us from bad decisions. Beware life-changing decisions that are made without community input or contrary to the input you are getting. Sometimes the community wisdom is wrong — but I find rarely so.
More discernment, prayer, dreaming and journaling. Maybe some “low cost probes”. Perhaps broadening the circle of input.
And then… waiting on God to direct the next step.
That is the discernment process.
Slow, deliberate, communal, intentional, prayerful and faithful.
HOW DO YOU GO THROUGH THE PROCESS?