Unless a person is going to run scattershot toward just any choice for her life, there is no substitute for taking the time needed to discern. You may note the repetition of my encouraging patience with the discernment process. It takes the time it takes, unless, as mentioned above, someone is willing to just choose for the sake of choosing and results don’t matter.
Discernment requires time for quiet reflection and prayer because we are weighing a balance among our personal gifts with the needs of the world that we see. Really, our whole lives are a call to develop and use the gifts we received when we came into being. The question we explore is how to best put them into service? Where am I needed? And am I called to do this as a single person working with others, as a member of a religious community, or with a marriage partner and a family?
Once again, I encourage you to take time, perhaps a regular reflection time at home or at a retreat weekend. Take the time to pray, asking God to show you your call that will allow a fulfilling life. Take the time to meet with a spiritual director or mentor to talk over what you are hearing in your quiet time. A person skilled in this field can help you connect the dots of what you may be discovering and keep you from turning in circles and not move forward.
May God’s plentiful grace draw you toward the future God has in mind for you.
No Hay Sustituto
A menos de que una persona vaya a correr sin rumbo hacia cualquier opción para su vida, no hay sustituto como tomarse el tiempo necesario para discernir. Se dará cuenta de la repetición de mi paciencia alentadora con el proceso del discernimiento. Se llevará el tiempo que se llevará, a menos de que, como se mencionó anteriormente, alguien esté dispuesto a elegir por el simple hecho de elegir y los resultados no importen.
El discernimiento requiere tiempo para reflexionar y orar en silencio porque estamos pesando en balance nuestros dones personales y las necesidades del mundo que vemos. Realmente, toda nuestra vida es un llamado a desarrollar y usar los dones que recibimos cuando nacimos. La pregunta que exploramos es ¿Cómo ponerlos mejor en servicio? ¿Dónde me necesitan? Y ¿Soy llamada a hacer esto como una persona soltera que trabaja con otros, como miembra de una comunidad religiosa, o con una pareja matrimonial y una familia?
Una vez más, le animo a que se tome un tiempo, tal vez un tiempo de reflexión regular en casa o en un retiro de fin de semana. Tómese el tiempo para orar, pidiéndole a Dios que le muestre su llamado que le permitirá una vida plena. Tómese el tiempo para reunirse con un director espiritual o mentor para hablar sobre lo que está escuchando en su tiempo de silencio. Una persona experta en esta área puede ayudarle a conectar los puntos de lo que puede estar descubriendo y evitar que de vueltas y no avance.
Que la abundante gracia de Dios la mueva hacia el futuro que Dios tiene en mente para usted.
I can still remember my mother saying, “Don’t touch that burner. It’s hot.” As a seven-year old did I believe her? No, I didn’t. I wanted to see for myself what she meant by “hot” and was it really all that hot? I found out all right and burned my index finger in the process.
When we’re trying to figure out where we’re being called in life, we sometimes approach the search like a hot burner. Thinking it will be simple we ask ourselves, “So what am I supposed to do with my life?” Then, not getting a clear or immediate answer we quickly back away from the question. We discover it’s not as easy as we thought it would be and might take more effort from us than we had planned.
While not trying to minimize the importance of questions and searching, patience is a good quality to call on in these moments. Besides patience, taking time for quiet or long walks, praying or journaling helps. Talking with a good friend or spiritual director who can help us listen for and see patterns in our questions and thoughts can be our guides to finding the path that matches our heart’s desire, our skills, our opportunities... and God’s call.
It is worth staying with the “work” of it,
For more encouragement, check this out.
One of the most challenging virtues for us to practice is patience. Another is trust. As we try to learn what God calls us to in our lives, we need a helpful dose of each.
Think of what it’s like to wait at a red light or stand in line at the store. If you’ve ever planted a vegetable garden and were eager to see what the carrots, beets, or potatoes looked like, you know what patience is needed. Recall how you feel when waiting for an important social or sporting event you’re going to attend. Whether you’re feeling patient or impatient, the waiting line moves as it does and you take your turn. The time for the events arrives. The vegetables come up fully formed or not. It’s our experience of waiting for that anticipated moment that stays with us.
Teilhard de Chardin, SJ, penned a poem entitled “Trust in the Slow Work of God.” As the title implies, be patient and trust that God is with us all the way through the process of listening for what our call is, what God would have us do with our lives.
Most of us do not have a brilliant, clear, and memorable announcement by an angel as Mary, the mother of Jesus, had. Most of us need to develop our heart-skill of patiently listening for God during our times of prayer or in conversations with a spiritual director or in the words of our friends who say aloud words that echo inside us and confirm where God is calling.
Let’s actively engage with God, embracing our patience and trust, listening to learn what we can.
Waiting is so hard. We want to get things done, to check them off our list, to be sure about the next step. There is a quote I like, “Do you have the patience to wait until the mud settles, until the right answer arises by itself.” We do all our pondering and thinking, discussing and pro and con lists – and that is all good and necessary. But at some point discernment also involves waiting. We take a step and we wait as we live into a new reality.
Think of Mary. She took a huge step in saying, “May it be done to me according to your word.” And then she waited. Like any mother, she had to wait nine months to see her newborn, to learn how to be a mother, to learn how to love her particular child, and, finally, to let go as that child followed his mission in the world.
We say a ‘yes,’ big or little, and then we go forward step by step, learning what that yes really means as we go. What yes have you said to God that is still being formed in you?
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Sister Tarianne DeYonker, OP
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Adrian Dominican Sisters
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Get out your bell-bottoms and platform shoes, because DISCO is here!
Okay, so it's a little less dancing, a little more talking... Sisters Lorraine Réaume, OP, and Sara Fairbanks, OP, have a video series called DISCO (Discernment Conversations): Dancing with the questions of life!