What should I do next?  Where would God have me go?  What job does he have for me?

Not surprisingly, Lori, Ruth and I have been suffering from the lack of direction many people are feeling right now.  We have felt for some that we should be doing something new, but what? We’ve all been looking for new jobs, passing tips on to each other.  I was either knitting or not-sleeping when I had a thought.  We should work on something new together.  

I didn’t share this with any one, waiting for more direction.  Then Ruth e-mailed Lori and I and said she felt like we should start a new project together.  That’s how discernment works.

Don’t know that term?  I didn’t either until I taught a class on prayer.  Discernment is a way to obtain God’s guidance and understanding.  It is one way that we can use to prayerful discover and recognize that we should be doing.  There are four elements to discernment.

Prayer and meditation

The first step is to ask God.  “What should I be doing?”  “How should I solve this problem?”  “What do you want me to to do?”  I don’t know about you but I may wonder what I should do but I don’t always remember to ask God.  So that’s step #1.  Face God and ask the question.

Listening for an answer

Once you’ve asked the question, you need to discern the answer which can come in many ways.  There’s the still, small voice we hear in our hearts.  We may find it in scripture in our dailing reading.  Or the sermon may touch on the subject we are contemplating.  My pastor calls moments like this God moments because God uses the various ways to communicate with us.  But these aren’t the only ways.

Community

Our faith communities also play a part in discernment.  If I’m not ready to hear something, it can be communicated to Ruth and Lori.  Not buying what I’m selling?  Think about those truths your friends bring to you.  After our Zoom call, Lori started calling me Professor.  That was my nickname when I was 13 and it has returned to me periodically my whole live.  I wouldn’t have given it to myself but there is truth there.

Patience

The last part of discernment is patience.  When we ask God a question we want the answer and we want it N-O-W.  But God doesn’t work that way.  Because of this, we have to be careful to hear God instead of opposing our will on the situation.

Ask, Listen and Commune in Patience until you perceive the will of God.  My pastor is teaching a course on discernment starting tomorrow.  I am truly looking forward to honing my skills.

–SueBE