Friday, March 8, 2013

Discernment: Not Cheating Oneself

The ninth step in the  Ignatian method of discernment might be entitled “Don’t Cheat Yourself.” In this step, picture yourself before the throne of God on judgment day. Will all the work you did in coming to this decision confirm your conscientiousness in wanting your will to be in harmony with God’s will? Or will you realize that you were trying to cheat yourself by bringing up silly reasons not to choose the vocation, or make any other decision, which, in the deepest, quiet part of your being, God is nudging you to choose.   If true, start the discernment process from the beginning and ask to sincerely be seeking God’s will, not your own or someone else’s.

There are times when individuals find every excuse in the book to avoid the choice that God is inviting them to make.  I see this in the elderly who are long past the time when, for instance, they should be driving or continuing other responsibilities that, in their prime, and even only 5 years ago, they were superb at doing. This avoidance of God’s will is also seen in young people, in all of us. The key, I think, is when I am protesting too much. When that is happening, I believe, I need to stop myself, sit down and journal my thoughts, looking seriously at that of which I am afraid.  Getting in touch with my fears and acknowledging all the objections I am raising might also bring me to the realization of how I am cheating myself. And, finally, imagining myself standing before the judgment seat of God, I may also have the courage to stop the rationalizations, the avoidant behaviors.
Source: Discernment of Spirits by Warren Sazama, SJ, National Religious Vocation Conference, Chicago, IL 60615.

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