For people seeking God, spiritual discernment is about inclining ourselves toward God's will. And that's a challenging task! Sometimes our souls are restless as we seek to discern God's will for our individual lives. We face vocational decisions like what career path to choose or God's calling on our lives. We face relational decisions about the friends we choose to surround ourselves with or our commitments to marriage partners. We encounter decisions about where to live, what to purchase with our money, and how to engage injustice in the world.
And those are primarily individual decisions. Communal discernment is also central to our lives. What should a friend group do when one friend is engaging in dangerous or addictive behavior? What should a faith community do to collectively make a difference in their neighborhood? How should a family discern how to move forward when facing job loss? Communal discernment may be addressed spiritually if the community invites God into the process.
As we seek to engage in discernment, however, we are bombarded by marketing, social media, and busyness. It is daunting to find even a little clarity as we listen for God's voice to cut through the noise. As we engage in discernment alone or in community, there are spiritual practices to help guide the way. May these practices provide a path to the clarity and light you may be seeking.
Discerning on your own
Discerning with others
If you are interested in this spiritual practice of discernment and you would like to explore more and with greater depth, here are some resources you might like to utilize:
- Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life, by Henri Nouwen
- The Call to Discernment in Troubled Times: New Perspectives on the Transformative Wisdom of Ignatius, by Dean Brackley
- Beyond Majority Rule: Voteless Decisions in the Religious Society of Friends,
by Michael J. Sheeran
- The Examen Journal: Finding God Everyday, by Mary Williams
- Let Your LIfe Speak, by Parker Palmer
- Soul Care in African American Practice, by Barbara L. Peacock
Eat This Book, by Eugene Peterson
- Chasing Vines: Finding Your Way to an Immensely Fruitful Life, By Beth Moore
Practice, not Perfect
"It is as if we have been wandering in a foreign land looking for peace and purpose in our lives and a true sense of who we are. Jesus stands in our midst and beckons us home so that we can be restored to our true selves."