Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Daily Discernment: Tuesday's Reflection

Several people I know are facing decisions in their lives about
where to live. Is it time to sell their house and move into a senior living facility of some sort. Is it time to move out of a larger space into a smaller one? Is it at least time to explore options for the future? 

Others I know have been forced into situations not of their own choosing, but thanks to decisions others have made, they are now in the midst of an unclear "now what?" time. Others have chosen an ending, but the next step is hidden in shadow. 

Still others are struggling with what might be considered smaller subjects, such as which health care plan to choose or whether or not to serve in a requested leadership role in the community. Sometimes the choices are confusing and the answer is definitely not clear. 

These are times of discernment. Times when we are asked to stop and listen for and notice the movement of God in our lives. Times when we are asked to stop asking and instead invited to listen. 

What I have come to realize over the years is that the practice of discernment is a daily practice. A practice of noticing what you notice. A practice of slowing down, being present, and visiting your own heart as a voice of authority and wisdom. 

This past week my To Do list was particularly long and the days were full, leading to a week when I will not be home for several days. I felt pressed to keep on doing long after I was tired and not able to give my best. I plodded through several tasks just to say I had done them and I ignored ways to refresh and restore.

What I tend to forget is that sometimes strength and clarity comes in the standing still. Sometimes the answer is revealed in the pause. A question I try to remember to ask when I feel muddled or crushed by "shoulds" is "What is it I most need to do right now?" By "need" I don't mean what is it someone else demands of me or thinks I should do, but what is my True Self calling me to do or who am I asked to be right now? 

One morning last week when I had accomplished only a few items on THE LIST, I stepped back and away from my dictator self and into God Time. I paused and opened my hands, palms lifted to the sky, took a deep breath and closed my eyes, lightly, not tightly. I can't hear when I speak, but sometimes I can see when I close my eyes.   

When I practice clearing the space intentionally and frequently, as part of the way I live daily and routinely, a next step seems apparent, even logical. In this case I returned to my desk and I spent the rest of the morning writing, working on the current chapter for my book. I didn't think I had time to do that, but that was exactly what I needed to do and doing that gave me energy for  everything else I needed to complete. 

               To use the tool that we call discernment, we 
               must come to stillness. In the silence of our 
               hearts, we must wait patiently for the compass
               needle to steady. Then it will point to true north,
               the still center, the fine point of the soul, and we
               will be enabled to move forward again.
                                           Margaret Silf

An Invitation
What role does discernment play in your life? When you are faced with a decision, big or small, what do you do? I would love to know. 

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