“So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do.”2 Thessalonians 1:11 (Catholic NLT edition)
What is your life’s compass? What are you using to navigate and guide your decisions?
Many of us struggle with making decisions in our life, especially those that are not black and white? It’s easy to know which path is in accordance with God’s plan when one leads to grave sin and the other does not. But what about those choices that both result in good? Which aligns with God’s will? How do you handle those? How do you discern the right decision?
We each will make a ton of decisions a day, small and big. Some will be second nature and others will require a little thought. We may have a few that creep up having lasting effects on our life or others in our circle? These may take a little extra effort to determine what God is calling us to.
Where do we start? How do we discern God’s will?
Prayer is very important in discerning our decisions. When we enter a state of prayerful discernment, I think it is important to be aware of our emotions and feelings.
As you consult with God in prayer, ask Him about plan A and then about plan B. What are your emotions and feelings as you ask Him about each? Imagine you have made each decision. Is one more joyful? Does one create a little more anxiety?
Detach yourself from the decision? Surrender it to God, seek freedom from the outcome. Ask yourself which serves God more than myself and accept the outcome with peace?
I have a dear sister in Christ that shared a story with me. She had been praying about her career path and had offered it to God. She had gone to a retreat center to discern attending a retreat to help deepen her relationship with God. While visiting the retreat center, she noticed a job posting. She spent some time in prayer and decided to apply. After being interviewed, the retreat director called her to offer her the job. Within the same week, she had been sought out for another position, offering much more income. Through our conversation there was one thing I noticed through her discernment, she had detached herself from the decision by not allowing the decision to serve her but her serve God. As she prayerfully discerned her spirit, emotions and feelings, she decided to take the job at the retreat center. This job offered less of what the world told her she needed and desired but offered an opportunity to serve God, filling her spirit with joy and life.
Some may say, well of course that leads closer to God because it’s working at a retreat center, serving God.
Sometimes even those decisions that lead to serving or leading a ministry may not be God’s will. How do we discern those decisions?
Even these decisions we can walk through the exercise of detachment and evaluate our emotions and feelings to see which brings more life and which serves God more than ourselves and our pride.
Ask yourself, will this take away from the things God is calling me today to serve and lead, such as healthy time with my family? Will it cause discontent with my spirit trying to balance the things I’m committed to providing God centered moments with my loved ones? Will it impede my time with God in prayer and other things I’m doing to grow deeper in relationship with Him? If the decision leads to anxiety, discontentment or will draw you away from those that are deepening your relationship with God today, then that is likely not the decision that best aligns with God’s will for you.
Life may present us with choices that come wrapped in very big shiny packages and others in small cardboard boxes. Most often the big shiny packages are those things that align with the world and the small cardboard boxes, with God. It is important to prayerfully detach ourselves from our decisions to ensure that we are aligning it with God’s will.
Discernment is our compass leading to the center of us, the place where God resides in our deepest desires. When you are battling a decision, consult with God. He is calling you through your faith to accomplish all He has planned for you.