I believe that life is perpetual discernment. I am coming to believe that I will never fully know who I am called to be for the rest of my life. Rather, I hope that I will be able to discern through conversation, prayer, dwelling and introspection who I am now and might be in the process of becoming and being called to be. There is then a constancy of discernment in life.
I am not saying that this is discernment like having to pick out what to wear each day of life, though this is true. But I mean discernment on more of an adaptive level (to borrow the language of Heifetz and Linsky). I am talking about discernment about: what are my passions? Am I growing in what I am doing, or have I hit a plateau? For me at least, the ability to grow, be empowered, fulfilled and be enriched is just as important if not more important than the amount of a paycheck. This hits at the discernment piece.
The question of “who am I?” will not change. But the potential answers and the richness of those answers will change given life experience and life situation.
What do you think? What have your own discernment experiences been, or better, how is your perpetual discernment going now?
6 thoughts on “Perpetual Discernment”
Discernment/contemplation: not something we do, but rather life with God.
In my experiences, I would suggest our Jesuit brothers and sisters have much wisdom on practices and perspectives that stand the test of time.
I like the richness of defining discernment as “life with God.” It gets to the richness of the constant discovery and opening of new possibilities which are possible and God might be leading us towards. It also points to the reality that discernment is not an individual thing, but an on-going relational part of life.
I understand discernment/contemplation as (1) expecting to find God up to something in my midst and (2) paying attention.
I find that being content with my life process is important- not easy- but critical to the discernment process. As my son who is 16 thinks about what he wants to do or be as he continues to grow- it reminds me that I never would have thought I would be where I am at this moment in my life. I did have dreams, a bucket list you could say, and yes I am doing some of those wonderful things, but it is different than discernment. I have been a reflective listener to the spirit all my life- even from an early age. I trusted God in my relationship with the world. It wasn’t easy. I didn’t like being divorced or having trouble conceiving children or always leaving a job and friends just when I was settling in. But looking back, I love where I am and what I have learned. I continue to be surprised by what comes my way. But it is because of my faith that I am unafraid to walk through doors that suddenly appear. Is discernment over-rated? Do we work to hard at understanding instead of being present? Babbling away in Wisconsin.