Oftentimes discernment is a word associated with vocations, whether we feel called to be married, single or a priest or religious. But God doesn’t only want to be involved in that area of our lives. There’s a saying that if we are faithful to God in small things, then we will be faithful to Him in big things, and this saying definitely applies to discernment. God is our loving Father, and as such He wants to know about everything in our lives, not just those big moments. And contrary to the common sentiment that “God has bigger things to worry about than my problems,” God isn’t limited and He loves us enough that He wants to know about what’s weighing on our hearts. Oftentimes if we’re being honest, the deeper reason behind this saying is that we’re too afraid to ask because He might say no or we’re afraid that He won’t care.
That’s the first question we should ask when trying to discern God’s will: “Do I feel free to go in any of the directions I’m considering?” Or, if we’re honest with ourselves, are there things that we’re afraid of that keep us from truly being open to all of the options? Often this fear makes us feel like if we say to God that we will consider the option we want the least, that He’ll somehow make us go in that direction. That can also betray how we see God, that instead of seeing Him as someone who loves us, we see Him as someone who wants us to be miserable and is always asking us to do the thing that we want the least! Just because He wants us to be open to all of the options doesn’t mean He’s going to ask us to do all of them. In reality, He wants us to be open because He wants us to be free to respond to Him instead of being led by fear. Of course we all know instances where the thing we didn’t want was the thing that was the best for us. But that doesn’t mean that’s always the route God wants us to go.
If for whatever reason, you find yourself in a situation where you don’t feel free, then it’s worth considering options to help you become more free. Going to confession can be a powerful way to reconnect with God and strengthen that relationship in a way that helps us to trust Him more, especially if it’s been a long time since you last went. We also have people here who would be glad to take some time to pray with you, whether that be me, Father Dennis or any of the other members of our staff. Father spoke about healing a lot during Lent, and while we often associate that word with physical healing, interior healing from fears, anxiety or past hurts can just as powerful. We also make a point to bring people in from outside of the area to pray with people who don’t feel comfortable with talking to someone local about their struggles, so we can set that up for you as well.
Once you feel free to discern all of the options, the key indicators that something is from the Lord is that you feel peace, joy, or a sense of excitement with one of the options. Sometimes you might not feel like one choice is becoming clear, but you have to make a decision. In those instances, the Lord can be saying that either option is fine and leaving it up to you to decide. I’ve had people say that they’re afraid that if they make the wrong decision, it will haunt them forever and they’ll ruin their lives. Even if we did make a wrong turn so to speak, that's when the God is like a GPS that recalculates with a new path for us to get where we need to. If we’re freely asking and truly willing to do whatever God is calling us to do then we should trust Him to show us. So if you don’t get a direction one way or the other, then trust that He’s letting you decide. Sometimes we just have to make a decision and go with it.
As I mentioned above, please feel free to let us know if there is ever anything that’s weighing on your heart that you would like prayer for. We’ve been especially blessed over the last couple of months to see God use our prayers in powerful ways, and we would like to keep making ourselves available. In a similar way, please let us know if you feel like you have benefitted from having someone pray with you. We’re all still learning how the Lord works through us, so it is really helpful to hear feedback from when we’ve prayed with people.