by Jenna Legg
In our Archdiocese, we are hosting a few events called "What's Next? A Guide to Prayerful Decision-Making." When the planning team gathered to discuss a possible event, we realized that young adults need tools for discernment, not just for vocational discernment. We shared how it seems young adults can become paralyzed by the fear of making the wrong decision. As vocation directors, we are not here to recruit more nuns or priests, we are here to help men and women discern how God is calling them to live out their call to holiness. We thought the best way to do this is to normalize discernment and share resources for how to make a holy decision.
Saying we need to normalize the term and the act of discernment means that discernment is not just for vocational decisions. In fact, to some extent we need to discern all of our decisions. I'm not saying we need to spend hours in prayer in order to determine what to have for dinner. What I am saying is that all of our decisions should be made by asking ourselves what we think God is inviting us to.
For instance, we can discern which college to attend for graduate school, whether we should accept a different job, whether or not to have another child, or how to deal with a conflict in a relationship. Discernment is not just about our vocation and its not a one-time decision. We are called to continually be in conversation with God (prayer) and continually invite God to guide us in all that we do.
In addition, our "What's Next?" afternoons are designed to give young adults the tools to practice good discernment. The hope is that when we practice discernment in small decisions, we are more confident and able to discern the bigger decisions. For example, if you have a habit of discernment, you have a sense of how God speaks to you, how God affirms a decision or pushes you in another direction. Therefore, when you have a bigger decision to make, you can trust your sense of God and your ability to listen to God's nudges.
I write this not necessarily as a promotion of the event, although if you're near Dayton, Ohio, please consider coming, but I share this to encourage you wherever you are in your faith life. Practice discernment now. Make it habit of listening to God and inviting God to be a part of all of your decisions. Then, when it's time for a major change, you and God will be ready.