The other day, I asked my husband to pick up a bag of brown rice at the store on his way home. I wondered what was taking him so long, when I received a text from him along with a picture he had taken of the shelves filled with a variety of rice … and his accompanying question, “Which one?”
We are bombarded with choices every day. Choices such as which direction to go to arrive at our destination without difficulty, what clothes to wear, which products to buy, and what part of our daily “to do” list should have the highest priority, fill our days. Is it any wonder we sometimes are hasty in making decisions, just to get the choice made and move on?
Discernment about our choices may not be imperative when it comes to which bag of rice to buy, but there are many other choices in our lives where guidance from the Lord is crucial – choices involving relationships, jobs, education, and even choices about our thought life! Discernment is a spiritual practice founded on the reality of the Holy Spirit’s presence within us as we make decisions. To discern well, we need the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to our attachments to the things that influence our decision making (our personal agendas, comfort, productivity, prestige, etc.). We need to ask which of our choices will lead to love, joy, faith and peace … and which ones might lead to anxiety, turmoil and confusion. Which choices are life-thwarting – motivated by shame or fear? Which ones are life-giving?
When our hearts are open to receiving whatever God says, we are in a place where we can wait and listen for a nudge from God, resting in the confidence that we don’t have to figure things out on our own. Paul asked God on our behalf in prayer: “that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,” (Philippians 1:9-10). – Judi Brandow, Communications Specialist