How I Practice Discernment

When I first considered writing this series for the blog, I thought that I would walk through a decision over the month here, with you. Instead, I took some wise counsel to hold off with that particular part of the series as it could feel stilted or fake. But I do want you to know that I am serious about discernment as a regular practice in my life.

I first began being aware of the wisdom of discerning a decision about 15 years ago. I was newly graduated from college, newly married, and in my husband’s first ministry assignment. A mentor, whom I was both intimidated by and longed to be like, invited Chad and I to join a group of like-minded people for a weekend.

Our original gathering purpose was a ministry that we all believed in and were invested in. But the conversation went so much deeper over the weekend: who we were, difficult relationships, calling, ministry dreams.

15 years later, we still gather together for a weekend. We laugh, eat, and worship together. But mostly, we ask each other, “What is God doing in you now?” And after 15 years of listening together, it is pretty clear to us the many places that God is moving.

I find it difficult to feel like it is really a new year until I have been with this group toward the end of January. They hear and call out places where I am seeking my own kingdoms, instead of God’s. They hear and call out places where I am hiding from the real work of transformation. They hear and call out where I have grown to look more like Jesus. They remind me that life lived and discerned in a community is richer, brighter,  and wilder than life lived on your own.

These dear friends know the deepest and darkest caves of my heart. But more importantly, they know the places where God is actively re-creating me. And they celebrate redemption alongside of me, as I do in them. This is the group that I trust enough to ask, “What next?” because they have been listening for God in my journey for so many years. They know the distinct flavor of when I am one with God and they will push me towards that sweet spot. I trust the wisdom of this group to be discerning the will of God.

Long before I studied Ignatius or discerning the spirits, I knew the love this group of people.

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