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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Discernement and what ifs?

by Annabelle Hazard

What if… you’d married the beer-loving football hero you dated in college; never turned in that starter job application at The Coffee Bean; stayed home in Llama County instead of flying off to the Big Apple; didn’t sit beside the girl with the pink polka dot hair-bow that first day of school; took the smog-congested freeway to work that one morning; kept up with your music/tennis/ballet lessons?

Surely, anyone who’s ever had a wide-awake moment of silence in the middle of the night has their own version of sighs regrets and sighs of reliefs. Or has simply posed the BIG WHAT IF?             
Twelve years ago, the nagging, whopping question mark in my life was: WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE?

With the help of a spiritual director, I learned to discern which of the open paths that lay before me had God’s finger pointed to it and which one would lead me away from my destiny. “Destiny,” as Fr. David Lonsdale SJ paints it, is “God’s hopes and dreams for our lives” if we discern and follow where He leads.   Listening to the music of the Holy Spirit, Fr. Lonsdale’s valuable book, is on “the art of discernment.”
 Although I (usually) discern before making important decisions, there is no avoiding the occasional “what if.”  But the answer is always, “It wouldn’t have been part of God’s will for my life.”  And there is immeasurable peace knowing that. I can go back to sound sleep (except when co-sleeping with a nursing baby or with the exhausted hard-working occasional snoring roommate-- can't help you there). 

My husband and I are currently facing a crossroad in our lives so I’m drawing up the significant points of discernment from my old journal and summarizing it for clarity.   You are welcome to peek into my diary, but don’t take this post as a substitute for spiritual direction.

Read Anabelle's 7 tips for discerning God's will at her blog  Written by the Finger of God.

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