“Should I do this? Go here? Buy this? Date this person?” How do you make the decisions in your life both great and small?
With the New Year will come fresh opportunities. God wants for us to live the best life we can possibly live while on planet earth. He made us to share in His blessed life. And since He designed us and knows all things from beginning to end, it only makes sense to ask Him to help to guide us in all that we do.
Fr. Mike Schmidt boiled down this “discernment process” (the Churchy word for “should I do it or not?”) into 4 simple questions to prayerfully ask yourself before walking through the “doors of opportunity” that come our way.
Is this a “good door”? = Is this permitted in God’s Holy Word? Or is it something I already know I should not do? Ask yourself: “Will this cause me to do anything contrary to the ten commandments?” (See Exodus 20:1-17 like: pull my heart away from God, lie, cheat, steal, commit adultery, or be disobedient to authority, etc. or anything else I know Christ said is not healthy for me?) Or is it a “good” or “neutral” door?
Is this an “open door”? = Is this an actual opportunity? Or is the door closed due to circumstances, age, or ability? In life there is a season for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). Ask yourself: “Am I banging on a closed door?”
Is this a “wise door”?= Knowing where I’ve been, who I am, and who God is calling me to be, would this be a wise door for me? (Proverbs 4:5-9) Looking at my circumstances and the timing is this a wise door for me? You know yourself better than anyone, struggles and strengths, ask yourself: “Is this a wise one for me?”
“Do I want this door”? If all of the above are cleared for take-off and you have prayerfully thought about each then use the beautiful free will and intellect God gave to you and ask yourself: “Do I really want this door? Will, in the end, this lead me closer to God and bring me joy and satisfaction in some way? Do I want to walk through this door?” (Psalm 37:4 )
These four questions have greatly helped me in making decisions. If all four are a thumbs up, then I feel confident to proceed.
But if I have less than all four, if any one of them is a “no go”, then I need to pause and pray and see what God is up to. After reflecting I can usually see one of two answers emerge:
1. “Nope, this is not a good idea for me.” Or
2. “This is a good idea...but not great timing. Wait and see, and be hopeful.”
I then ask God to change my heart to want what He wants, when and how He wants it, to be patient and “detached” from my plans and to be able to live my life with an open hand to His will. This is not as easy as it sounds (especially if you have your heart really set on something). But God is good and again and again I have had to learn to trust in the heart of the God Who loves me most and wants only the very best life for me in the here and now.
And, after all is said and done, the great news is this--even if I mess up and get it “wrong”-- God is still there to help and to guide me. He never gives up on me. God is in and on the journey of life with me. His love and support are there every step of the way-and that goes for all of us.
Want to go deeper and learn more about Discernment?
Come January 9th to St. Ann Catholic Church, 4001 Yuma St. NW Washington, DC for an evening with Dan Burke, 6:30-9:30pm as he shares “The Discernment of Spirits- Hearing the Voice of God”. Register HERE.
God bless you! And may you go deeper and deeper with Him in 2019! A New Year full of Promise, Hope, and Opportunity!*
“But if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it.” James 1:5
Thank You that You never ask me to go it alone but you are always there to guide and to direct me. Thank You for giving me wise ways to discern Your will. Please sharpen my spiritual senses and make me more mindful of You, others and my own calling this year. I want to love You more, please give me the grace and ability to do it.
I ask this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
* A great way to go deeper with God is to know more about Him! Come see and learn FIRST HAND on the Something Greater Holy Land Pilgrimage! ONLY 19 days left to sign up! Don’t let this door close! Opportunity is knocking! Pray and see if this is a door you should walk through with us!