“After you have made a decision that is pleasing to God, the Devil may try to make you have second thoughts. Intensify your prayer time, meditation, and good deeds. For if Satan’s temptations merely cause you to increase your efforts to grow in holiness, he’ll have an incentive to leave you alone.”St Ignatius of Loyola
Have you said yes to something and then questioned your yes? Has God’s presence felt so strong about your yes and doubt swells up within you as you begin the journey?
Discernment to me can often be a very tricky little matter. I keep telling myself I’m going to go back and read the book “God’s Voice Within,” by Mark Thibodeaux. He does such a great job explaining discernment – when it’s God’s voice and when it’s not.
One of my key discernment guidelines I hold fast to in conjunction with prayer is ‘what brings me life’. This is a question I’ve learned to ask myself as a result of my awesome spiritual director. I’ve been trying to train myself to pause a little in my decision making through prayer and asking myself that key question – not easy when you are a person who tends to make decisions as if fire were about to consume you. Often, even when I do pray and make a decision that seems to give me life in the moment, something jolts those joy filled, life giving moments and that little thing called doubt begins dropping its luggage within the home of my heart and mind. Sometimes, it even begins to take up permanent residence.
The beauty I find in God’s will and saying yes to it is that even when doubt surfaces, God provides these little nuggets or crumbs to keep you on the journey He has you on. The only requirement is to remain open and let Him guide you.
“Doubt is but another element of faith” St. Augustine
I’ve also noticed through my own journey that each one of these crumbs has a little lesson to learn.
Nurturing bread crumbs.
I’ve recently experienced a journey when saying yes at the moment felt very life giving and felt as if God were pulling me towards this yes. As that adventure began, a little snag here and a little snag there began to cause doubt within me that I had misread God’s will in this and I was not supposed to say yes. They were so strong that often I felt like taking a U-turn and backing out of my yes. As those snags continued to come and I continued to question my yes, I learned more about myself and things within me that keep me from a closer relationship with God and those He places in my life. I truly believe this was God telling me not to give up on my YES.
It was not until the final moments were unfolding from this adventurous journey that I realized the doubt was not from God and my yes was from Him. Those little bread crumbs truly nurtured my soul through this adventure along the bigger journey I’m on. As this adventure came to an end, I realized that many blessings unfolded that I could have never imagined. Joy had filled my heart in so many ways and had out poured upon so many others.
My yes was truly God’s yes despite the rocks placed in my path that I kept tripping over. By God’s grace, the nurturing bread crumbs, I did not fall but kept traveling to see the glory He had prepared as a result of this yes. Sisters and brothers, we are truly God’s instruments in the symphony He is playing in so many lives surrounding us. It is a joyful experience to witness this. When doubt creeps in to your YES, open yourself to see what God is revealing to you about yourself through those doubts. The doubt is not from Him but He uses that doubt to show you His work in you and through you.
Chris McClarney in “I’m Listening” says it so clearly
I don’t wanna miss one word You speak
‘Cause everything You say is life to me
I don’t wanna miss one word You speak
Quiet my heart, I’m listening…..
Your ways are higher
You know just what I need
I trust You, Jesus
You see what I cannot see
“Whatever you are doing, that which makes you feel the most alive…that is where God is.” St Ignatius of Loyola