Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Not Alone Series: Discernment

Welcome back to the second week of the Not Alone Series! 
This week we're talking about Discernment and linking up over at Jen's
Today I'm going to give you peek into my personal discernment. 


Ahhh discernment.
"Discernment"
That word.

Until I went to college, became involved at the Newman Center, and delved further into my faith, I'd never heard the word.
"Discernment"

It holds such weight. Maybe not in all circles, but in my Catholic circle, it was almost a level of status.
Those who had discerned.
Those who were discerning.
Those who had not yet begun discerning.

I didn't like it, and I still don't. So I hesitate to ever say the words "I've discerned into marriage" because
a) you're not fully "discerned" until you've taken vows, whether they be to another person or through ordination/entering an order (cliche, yet true)
b) it seems to carry such status

But it's true. It's a long story, but long story almost-short, fall semester of my sophomore year I realized that I was really horrible at objectifying the opposite sex. I remember thinking about how we hear women saying all the time that men look at women like they're pieces of meat...yet was I any better when I got to the first day of class early just so I could scope out the hotties? Um nope.
I made it my mission to see men as "Brothers in Christ" above all else. Not potential prospects, boyfriends, etc.
Just Brothers in Christ.

That was really helpful in every area of my life and gradually led into deeper prayer about what vocation I was made for. Essentially, I felt ready to begin that process because I desired to more purposefully prepare myself immediately for whatever the Lord had in store. 
I began to allow my heart to be opened in ways that I never thought possible and gave Him a sliver of my heart at a time. But I always felt like I was holding something back, and I knew that it was the part of me that didn't want to give up my life-long dream of being a wife and a mother.

I think this something that many women (and men, but opposite...) struggle to let go of. And it most certainly was for me. Perhaps it was also the sense of me losing control (I've recently realized that I really like a structured life) and that scared me spitless.
But over time, the call of the Lord to give Him EVERYTHING (not just the pieces of my heart that I was willing to part with) broke down my walls and I found myself laying it all before the cross.

FINALLY, I had opened my heart and let go in order for God to take over my life completely.
You see, He loves us so much that He'll never force anything upon us. We always have free will and always have to make the conscious decision to choose Him.

I found true freedom in choosing His will over my own.

Have you ever had a moment when you felt God speaking into your heart? 
For me it isn't a big booming voice, but a feeling injected straight into my soul. A knowing.

Some time after allowing Him to do whatever He willed, I felt that agape love encompass my heart in a way that I can only translate as Him holding me as a small daughter and saying:

"My child, you know I love you, and I would keep you for myself if I could. But because I love you so, I'm willing to give you away to the one I'm preparing for you."

(as the Father of the Bride weeps tears of joy and undying love, this is how I picture our Heavenly Father in this moment) 

Wowza. 

I'll admit, there are times when I question my recollection of these occurrences and almost fear that I'm actually called to religious life. Despite the beauty I've seen in religious, I've always had a personal aversion to the idea of me entering an order. But other than the rush of peace that I finally found when I gave it all over to Him, what keeps me calm and out of a 1/4th life crisis is that He so powerfully intervened and seemingly handed me His will the first time that as long as I continue to be open to whatever He throws at me, if His plans change, I'll know it.
Until then, I'm staying on this path.

Hokay, this is getting long. Final thoughts on discernment:

Above all, I believe it is most important to make yourself entirely and wholly open to the Lord's will. Like I said before, He won't force you into anything, but whatever He has planned will make you the happiest, most complete version of yourself. Sooooo it's definitely best to let Him take the reins. 
I mean, He created you, right?
Therefore He knows the deepest, most ardent desires of your heart and only wants your every happiness.

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Head over to Jen to link up your discernment post and to read other writings on anything and everything about discernment!

Next week's topic:
Prayer
How do you pray? Tips to staying disciplined? Give us anything you've got!

Please email any topic suggestions to mvmcfar(at)gmail(dot)com or jennifer.rn(at)gmail(dot)com
Don't have a blog but want to contribute? Send us an email to do a guest post! :)

15 comments:

  1. Though I love your post, I can't really agree with your last sentence. Growing up in a church where false doctrines easily flourished, "God wants you to be happy" was one of those errors. Not that God wants you to be unhappy, but God's goal for your life is to get you to Heaven and that you bless the people around you, not for you to be 'just' happy.
    But, as I said, I loved the rest of your post. Once again, I can totally recognize myself in your words.

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    1. I definitely understand what you're saying...I didn't mean "happiness" in the superficial sense, perhaps my mistake was in using that word. What I mean is that God created us and our souls and is leading us towards the life/vocation that is best for our soul and will bring us the greatest fulfillment through Him (or happiness, if you will). We may not realize it at the time, or "feel happy" (our culture is all about feeling, whereas God cares about inherent good for our soul), but (hopefully) eventually, we will be the "happiest" in life through following His will.

      Though I could argue that the Lord does love us as children and delights in our joy (again, or happiness)...though I would agree that this in and of itself is not the end goal.

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  2. "but a feeling injected straight into my soul. A knowing." Beautiful! And I have heard the "discernment is not over until vows" business, and it makes sense. Sometimes when I'm feeling owly, I might not-so-charitably point out that you discern marriage to a person not marriage itself, like that somehow makes it easier! :p

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    1. HA! Yes. I've had that remark before when I say that I feel called to marriage...
      "well, which kind? Because of course you know that every vocation involves marriage."
      Ugh. thaaanks.
      :)

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    2. Hee hee! Well, exception vocation to the single life (:O But no need to add to the debate. :P

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  3. Right there with you about religious life! I perhaps should have touched more about that in my own post, but oh well. "Discernment" is such a broad topic, it's impossible to capture one's whole experience in a single blog post. I really liked your post, gained some perspective, and completely and totally agree with your little bit on God's plan for our happiness.

    God bless you!

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    Replies
    1. thanks Sarah! you are SO right....I should've/would've/could've gone into even more detail and explanation...discernment could be a series of it's own! :)

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    2. Yes... I feel like I could have gone on for a while, but it would have gotten borrrrring. :) But, we could always pick another topic related to discernment, of course!

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  4. Love this , Morgan! :) I feel like I should have been more specific... ah well... too late now. :)

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  5. This was excellent, Morgan. I especially agree with the "discernment status" part. I never felt called to the religious life but I wasn't certain about my vocation to marriage until....I was engaged to Gregg. I was always puzzled by the folks who were sooo sure. Was God unwilling to let me in on the big secret, I wondered? But, I guess the Lord works differently with everyone. He kept mine a big secret. ;) God bless, Cindy

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  6. "I found true freedom in choosing His will over my own." That is beautiful.

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  7. Ahh the 'you haven't completely discerned until you make vows one way or the other is exactly how I feel'!! The whole story is beautiful especially how you learned to seek His will rather than your own.

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  8. ""My child, you know I love you, and I would keep you for myself if I could. But because I love you so, I'm willing to give you away to the one I'm preparing for you."" --> Favorite part (well, that statement and the fact that you used agape love!)!

    So beautiful, thank you so much for sharing =)

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  9. Love this series!

    Just found it through another blogger, and jumped in! Here's the link:

    http://catholicteenperspective.blogspot.com/2013/06/not-alone-series.html

    May God bless you all! Thanks for starting such a wonderful and timely conversation!

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