Discernment – Clarifying Choices

A reflection by Sr Lynne fcJ from FCJ Centre St Hugh’s, in Liverpool, first appeared in the FCJ Sisters Blog

Life is filled with choices and decisions, and when we are trying to live a faith-filled and God-directed life we can find it difficult to know how best to choose. A question often arises such as ‘What is God’s will?’ or ‘How do I know what God wants of me?’

These are good questions to ask, but it is also important to consider what we mean by them. Is it that I believe God has a predestined plan for me which dictates every day of my life? If so discernment would seem a little cruel – a god knows the only one direction in which I can be pleasing and yet hides this from me and makes it difficult for me to discover is not the loving God we believe in!

I think rather, God’s will might exist more fully in our becoming, step by step, the person we are called and created to be. In other words discernment, and the following of God’s will, are more of a process, an ongoing journey, through which we mature, grow and become more loving. Discernment is a living out of my humanity with all it’s ups and downs, alongside others. It’s a movement into a constantly deepening relationship of love, through which we become more attuned to God’s ways, more patient, generous, loving, faith-filled. I think discernment takes a lifetime – we aren’t a finished product!

This helps us to put our choices and decisions into perspective; we are trying to make choices consistent with Gospel living, we want to listen to the ways in which God’s Spirit moves us… BUT… its not all up to us! God is at work in our lives, is guiding us and bringing us slowly towards wholeness and holiness. We try to choose well, and then attentively listen in prayer and through our day to day life, to what is the right next step. Sometimes we will choose wrongly, make a bad decision that doesn’t lead us towards a more full and free sense of who we are, and then we may have to re-choose, but God is always present with us, guiding, encouraging, challenging and loving.


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Photo of lamp and Bible by ArvaCsaba on Adobe Stock