Discernment, Part #1: Presumptions

01 Feb


As I posted yesterday, I had a great meeting with my spiritual director.  He is big on Ignatian Spirituality and the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises and often we will use these tools.

I am in a season of discernment, trying to figure out what’s next for me.  After 18 months of trying to take it a day or week or month at a time, it is now time for a longer perspective — what will this next season entail?  Where will it lead me?

At this point I have four clear possible pathways that I COULD pursue.  The question is, which one SHOULD I pursue?

How one figures this out is what discernment is all about.  Over the next month or two (or however long it takes) I will be going through an intentional process of discernment, roughly following the Ignatian Exercises.  Because I think these are helpful tools for all Christ-followers, I will be posting about the process (and, I am sure, results) here.

Today, I just want to post some PRESUMPTIONS that one must hold in order to work through this process:


1. I presume that I WANT WHAT GOD WANTS for my life. That is, I want MY WILL to match HIS WILL for my life.

This, of course, is harder than it seems.  Part of the ongoing process is the constant prayer for purity of heart and that this presumption would be true.  At all times in the process, we should act AS IF it is true.


That is, all of the choices are within God’s permissible will. You cannot discern between what is evil or sinful — we know that we are not to do those things.  That is not an issue of discernment, but obedience. Discernment is about determining among good options what is the best option.  For this process to work, all options must be within the scope of God’s Will and Kingdom Agenda.

3. I presume that amongst the good options GOD HAS A PREFERENCE.

This is why I am asking God what to do — because I believe He has a preference for me. I believe that He is involved with (and wants to be involved with) every aspect of my life.  All the options are permissible — all our good — but God prefers one amongst the others.

Because I believe that GOD WANTS WHAT IS BEST FOR ME — SO I WANT WHAT GOD WANTS.  This is the most basic presumption of the process.

This entire process is predicated upon a real and dynamic relationship with the God of the Universe — a God who listens, who speaks, who prompts, who cares, who loves and who knows.

One of the hardest things about decision making is that we never know all the relevant factors. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow, we don’t know what unpredictable things will happen to us.  There are always more unknowns than knowns.

But God knows.  He knows all that can be known. So His PREFERENCE is based on all factors — not just the ones I know. Remembering this makes it easy to trust in Him.

  • Do you believe that GOD WANTS ONLY THE BEST FOR YOU?
  • Are you willing to SEEK OUT GOD’S PREFERENCE?
  • What helps you DISCERN and MAKE CHOICES?
  • Any advice? (much appreciated!)
1 Comment

Posted by on February 1, 2011 in Lessons Learned, My Story, Uncategorized


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One response to “Discernment, Part #1: Presumptions

  1. John Fecteau

    February 7, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    <html><body bgcolor="#FFFFFF"><div>I know we have been told since we heard about god that we should seek his will and do it. Seems to make sense. Especially when we tell ourselves we are broken and can’t get anything right because we are apart from God.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>I take a different approach. I think we are bad conversationalists. &nbsp;We need to improve on that. Wevare not apart; we just don’t show much interest in talking. &nbsp;He designed us to exercise free will and tell him about it; not figure out how to yield it. He doesn’t want to lead. He has been doing that for an eternity. He wants us to lead. That brings him joy. &nbsp;That is the design of the creation. What will you do with your opportunity?<br><br>John</div><div><br></div></body></html>



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