Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Discerning God's Will

Seeking and attempting to follow God's will in your life is the most essential and difficult task we are given. Whether it's the decision to change jobs, date or marry a certain person, or pursue a "big V" Vocation, these circumstances all warrant prayer and soul searching. 
What is something you've discerned in the past or recently? How did you go about discerning God's will? What advice would you give to someone going through a similar situation?

Discernment, discernment, discernment.

This word, within Catholic circles, is commonly used when talking about Vocational discernment. 

"Oh my gosh, who is he???" 
"Don't even think about it....he's discerning." 


"Huh...I didn't know she veiled..."
"It's a new thing, she's discerning!"

...you get it. ;)

But really, "discernment" simply means "the ability to judge well", which can and should be applied to any major life decision. 

I'll be perfectly honest, I struggle with discernment. Ever since college, when I grew in my faith and relationship with the Lord, I have found it difficult to unite my will with that of God.

Ultimately, I know He has the best plan, the best path, the best everything! But, I'm stubborn and I like to get my way. (Sounds suuuper mature when I write that out!)

So, what's a girl to do?

When I first began Vocational discernment, I had no idea what I was doing. I didn't have any kind of spiritual direction at that time, but I was attending Mass daily and reconciliation regularly. Eventually, the more and more time I spent with the Lord, the more I desired to surrender my will to Him.

And over time, my prayer "Thy will be done" became one that was totally and completely true. It was only then that He gave me the peace I had been seeking and filled my heart with reassurance of my Vocation.

So, ultimately, this is what I look for when discerning: peace.

Peace of heart, peace of mind, peace in speech and action. When that peace permeates every fiber of my being, I know I'm on the right track.

But, it's not always that easy. When the conversation is just you and God, it's difficult to surrender, but much easier to be confident in your path. But what about marriage discernment?

Now this, my friends, can be complicated. What are you to do when you have peace from prayer but your partner does not?

It's in the more sticky or muddled discernment that I make an effort to seek out counsel, both from spiritual advisers in the flesh and in their writings. We, in the Catholic Church, have such an amazing resource in the Saints! Their writings are a plethora of wisdom and guidance.

Additionally, we have men and women of today who are writing specifically for this generation. They know the specific struggles we face and have sound advice on how to discern among the distraction. I'm currently making my way through Fr. Timothy Gallagher's Discerning the Will of God and I would highly recommend it.

But what about you? How do you discern "big" things in your life? How do you know if God wants you to change direction or keep moving forward?

Link up your thoughts here!

Next week's topic:
We've talked about conflict, but that can be avoided through solid communication. What are some of your tips for becoming a better communicator? What are some strategies for healthy communication? When was a time you were completely misunderstood or completely misunderstood someone else? How does communication affect your relationships, and how does it help you prepare for your vocation?
(link-up will be at Lindsay's!)


  1. Peace is definitely important. A friend of mine from undergrad (my first ever Bible study leader!) took an extra year of parish internship before he applied for ordination as a deacon. He is a now a priest. That extra year was really important for his process of discernment. He wanted to know that he was completely confident in what God was calling him to do, and I told him that I admired the humility it took to do what he needed to do.

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