Discernment: No one escapes the challenge to make difficult, sometimes painful, choices. That is a fact of life. When we are faced with making important decisions, it is necessary that we give ourselves sufficient time. Impulsive decisions, many times, lead us to making the wrong choice. We end up in mucky waters. Frequently we have regrets when we make hasty decisions and find ourselves asking ourselves the question: “Why didn’t I think before I acted?” When that happens, all is not lost. As a caring, thoughtful persons, we are then invited to take time to reflect on the consequences of that poor decision and ask ourselves: “What have I learned?” That, too, is part of developing discernment skills.
Many times we get into trouble because we want to do what our friends are doing. Let’s say, for instance, that you are faced with the choices of what major or minor to choose in college. You could make a choice based on what your friends are choosing or what your parents want of you, even though that is not what you want at all. Eventually, you are faced with having made a wrong choice—wrong for you, that is, but right for your friends or right in the minds of your parents wanting what they think is best for you. This can also happen in regard to the choice of your life’s vocation: marriage, religious life, or remaining single. It is important that you choose what you choose, not because you are competing with your friends or seeking the approval of your parents, but because you are concerned that your choice is that which God is asking of you. That kind of choice can be very painful and difficult to execute. Serious discerners want what God wants of them. That means asking God to reveal His will to you, to soften the “soil” of your heart so that God’s will can enter your being, unblock your hearing so you hear God’s voice, and remove that which blinds you from seeking as God sees.