Monday, August 9, 2010


Hello fellow musers! I took a week off due to my Yellowstone vacation and some pressing personal matters. This week for me will be a discerning week and hence my next topic:-) In this reflection, I’ll be a bit more methodical. First, I’ll go into what discernment means and how we can use it. Secondly, I’ll cover some musings on the what it may take to discern accurately, and, lastly, I’ll give a specific example.

The word discernment is used a lot in Catholic circles. It usually refers to discerning God’s call whether that is religious life, a vocation or marriage/electing a spouse. Looking at a couple of online definitions for discernment yields: Perception of that which is obscure; and the trait of judging wisely and objectively. With the this definition in mind, it seems we are discerning all the time.

Some areas we discern are in the marketplace, job/vocation, where to live, what apartment to rent or what house to buy, what medical treatment to take or choose for a loved one, which friendships to cultivate and where they fit in our lives, which religion to belong to or what your beliefs about God and spirituality are, what person to date or get into a relationship with or marry, what values you subscribe to and where to place your heart. The list is endless. It can be a short-term or long term decision. For the sake of this musing, I will focus on more serious and long term decisions.

So what does it take to really discern accurately? I think unless you have been blessed with or developed wisdom and complete self-control—the key ingredient is time. A feeling or a thought may be fleeting or long lasting, and the heavier the decision, the more you wait to see if your thoughts and/or feelings are correct. I feel both heart and mind should be as open and clear as possible. This can take talking to good friends, who know you, a spiritual director or go straight to the source--God. It can also mean talking with the person or persons whom you will be making the decision about. Sometimes writing or just being social and active and not thinking are part of the discernment process. Again though, after and before all this talking and just living--the key ingredient it seems to take is time.

Relationships, especially ones that have potential for marriage, take an inordinate amount of energy and discernment. The more feelings and wishes disconnect with reality, the more discernment is required. It seems obvious that it takes two people to make the two congruent or incongruent. If the relationship hits bumps, it can be miscommunication, a fearful action or reaction, a dynamic that both caused unconsciously by being unappreciative or disrespectful, a past pain that colors how you view your current situation, incompatible temperaments, incongruent beliefs and the list goes on and on.

So I have to pause and first ask what is it that I really want? What is it that the he really wants? What is it that God wants?

How does he make me a better person and how does it seem he does not? How do I make him a better person and how does it seem that I don’t? How are our views of romance similar and how are they different? To what level do I trust him? To what level does he trust me? Do we care about one another and is there the right kind of passion there? How do we treat each other, and can we really overcome obstacles without wanting to injure one another or win? What emotional baggage is there from both sides, and are we the right people for one another to overcome this? What is the commitment level on each side? How do I take care to be honest with my potential mate so that their fragile heart and ego is taken into consideration? Does ego belong in relationship? How easily do we forgive and forget? How disciplined are we morally? How flexible?

How experienced are we individually in bending from I to we? Can we get there? What type of relationship are we best suited for for one another? Does my heart agree with my head, and if not why don’t they? Does his? What lingering doubts remain and can they be resolved? How do I discuss making a decision that will help each other best individually and in relationship? That can mean taking a step back, moving forward or parting ways for now. It is so much to weigh out, and so much will be left unanswered.

In the end for me one pivotal question will be – How is God invited into our relationship and what does He have to say? That love needs to be present and growing is a given…that it is God’s will that you be together is another. The two should coincide. And in the end, it seems all I can do is pray for time.


Valerie said...
August 11, 2010 at 8:12 AM  

Thanks for this post Angela. It helped me clarify some thoughts on my current discernments. And I see that time, patience, and trust are big challenges for me. But with them I know that what God really wants for me will be revealed. Wishing you many blessings today! :)

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