One of the themes in much of my life - you might call it a guiding principle - is to find the correct road that I am supposed to be on. This has been front and centre at some times and at other times it has not taken on a prominent role but it has always been there if I pay attention to it.
This road has often seemed to me to be a road less travelled to borrow the phrase from M. Scott Peck and Robert Frost, as I have seemed to be the odd-person out in many aspects of my life. However, I have come to know when I have chosen the right road and when I haven’t usually as a result of where my choices have taken me. When I take the correct road, it is a step on my journey to become the person that God intends me to be. There have been many missteps and wrong roads taken as well as correct one throughout my now seven decades of life. So, given the goal of choosing the right road in my life, you might ask how I know if a road is the correct one. One of the main ways of doing this is through the God-given gift of discernment. I believe that everyone has the gift of discernment and as with all gifts it can be strengthened when it is used consciously and intentionally.
There are many ways in which we can discern if we are on the right road. As an intuitive-feeling person on the Myers Briggs Personality type one way I use is if the choice I made feels right to me. This can be tricky as sometimes my ego can confuse what my desire is with what my true feeling is. This requires reflection and assessment of other abilities such as sensing which is not my strong suit. Occasionally I will have help in ways that are more direct. One such way is through what is called synchronicity. This is a concept developed by Carl Jung for what can be called meaningful or significant coincidences. One example of this is when I had been interviewed for entrance into the MDiv program at Huron College with the intention of it leading to ordination as a priest. After the interview I turned on the car radio and the program playing was an interview with three people who had chosen to answer to call to ordained ministry later in life. I discerned this to be a sign I had made the correct choice.
There are many ways in which we can discern where we are being called in our lives – this is only one way. What is helpful in strengthening the gift of discernment is to pray. I was given a prayer for discernment which I find helpful and which I use at the beginning of Spiritual Direction sessions which I lead. I will close today with the prayer:
O God of all, you give so abundantly to your people. As we enter into a time of discernment, we ask you to walk with us. Help us to listen to your voice in the midst of our thoughts, ideas, and suggestions we hear.
Give us the wisdom to weigh options, the strength to accept other possibilities, the trust to give it over for your guidance, and the hope for a holy outcome.
Your love is unconditional and we know that your desire for us is that we find the best for our growth, health and well being physically and spiritually. We desire to live a life full of your grace. We open our hearts and minds to you. Amen
May you be blessed to discern the right road for you on your journey.