|Lilacs from the back yard.|
I thought by the time I was 43 I'd have it all figured out.
That's part of the problem: the line, "I'd have it all figured out." I now know that I must let go of the idea that I'm in charge. I must trust in the plan that Jesus has for my life and to trust that He will lead me. Not easy.
So I went to the Jesuits.
I love those Jesuits. Their tag line (so to speak) is 'Contemplation in Action.' Yes, living in this world but doing the will of the Father.
So here are some steps I've been taking from the Jesuits. These steps are outlined in the book, The Jesuits' Guide to Almost Everything by Jim Martin. This is a beautiful book and I recommend it to EVERYONE!
Discernment is about LIVING YOUR FAITH IN THE REAL WORLD. Following God's desires for you will naturally lead to peace.
To be concise about something that really isn't: When you are faced with a decision you can't easily solve, the Jesuits call this the 'Third Time.' To help discern in the face of this uncertainty, do the following:
- Be indifferent. Come to the choices in front of you with NO preconceived notions. This is VERY difficult at times. For me it was coming to the conclusion that I could very well continue working at my current position. This is something I really did NOT want to do. I had to let go of my negativity.
- Put the choice before you in prayer.
- Identify your ultimate objective. For me this is to teach the faith in a Montessori classroom with affordable tuition.
- Ask God for help to move your heart towards the better decision.
- Make a list of possible positives and negatives of each option. This also reminds us that all options have positive AND negative outcomes. No decision will provide only positives.
- Pray about those lists and see which way your reason inclines.
- Ask for some sort of confirmation from God that this is the right decision. It is VITAL to realize that this confirmation must come from OUTSIDE of you. Don't just look or think about how you FEEL. I put all of this in front of my very cerebral husband and took his advice very seriously.
This type of discernment is based on reason. I have the unfortunate temperament to make decisions based on my emotions so this is a very important method to employ.
The Jesuits (smart guy, that Ignatius!) also have a method based on imagination. I'll write about it tomorrow. It is important to look at both methods, I think. They showed me two different answers.
Another important thing to remember is that this process can be ongoing. After a decision is made we must continue to reflect on it. This reflection may lead us somewhere new!
This decision-making, acting, reflecting propels us ahead. It's what makes one a 'Contemplative in Action.'