I haven't posted in a while because I've been traveling a lot lately. God saw fit to open a wide and effectual door into medical missions in 2017, and after much prayer and discernment I walked right through it. I love medical missions, it gives me an opportunity to serve those in the most poverty stricken areas of the world with the gifts and skills that He has so generously given me. But enough about me, lets talk about how to better discern God's Will as it relates to YOUR life.
As a spiritual director this topic comes up quite a bit in sessions, so I'd like to go over a few proven strategies that will assist you in making decisions that are more in alignment with what God is doing, and wants to do in your world.
There are a few methods you can use, but since I was trained in Ignatian discerment, that is the road we are taking today. I would like to preface all of what I am about to share with the following advice. - Don't be a "lone ranger", make sure you have a trusted friend, mentor, or spiritual director to help you walk through any major discernment issues. It is always helpful to have someone that may be able to see through your blind spots.
Firstly "the latin root of the verb discern means to discriminate, and in the Christian's tradition, discernment is the process of sifting out what is of God, and discriminating between that which expresses God's call and anything that runs counter to it" ( The Way of Discernment, Liebert, E. 2001). Ignatian discernment involves seven steps. As this is a large topic, I will ONLY list the seven steps today. I will go into more depth on each step in my next post.
(Until then if you have any questions about either of the steps, leave a question or comment below.)
7 steps of Ignatian Discernment
1. Seek spiritual freedom. In my opinion this is the most important step because you have to be free from your own disordered ideas, attachments and attitudes to hear God's voice.
2. Name the issue or choice you are facing. Be as specific as possible.
3. Gather appropriate data about the issue. Do your homework
4. Reflect and Pray
5. Formulate a tentative decision
6. Seek confirmation
7. Access the process