Part II of exploring the path of Spiritual Discernment. How do we determine if our life-decisions are God-directed of Ego/Self-directed? In a word…..PEACE.
An invitation to discernment
As I mentioned in Saturday’s blog, I had a money awakening that I now suspect might have nothing to do with money….and everything to do about being invited into a life-direction that will seriously expand not only the naming and claiming of my gifts, but may be inviting me into stepping more fully into something God(or my ego…we’re not done discerning yet!) has been dangling in my face for YEARS! This discernment began with fear and was followed by several days of anxiousness, compulsive thinking and “planning.” “What am I supposed to do with this?” I wondered. It finally became clear that maybe the money panic was nothing more than a red flag waving and presenting an opportunity to enter into serious discernment about certain professional/vocational choices. As such, I am TRYING to remain calm and allow God’s plan to clearly reveal itself. Ha….easier said than done!
Overwhelmed by anxiety
In spite of my best efforts to remain calm, patient, and surrender to the process of spiritual discernment, I found myself overwhelmed by anxiety. Money anxiety. Work anxiety. Parenting anxiety. Relationship anxiety….the normal things. Then of course this anxiety expanded into every aspect of my life: the over-abundance of weeds in the garden, the grease that needs to be cleaned off the stove hood, windows that need caulking, the shower curtain that is disgusting with mineral deposits and mold. ARGH!!!!!! Come on already! But then something really strange happened this morning during my daily meditation period. While my brain is flying off into all the directions my anxious thoughts could carry me, it suddenly shifted into thoughts of this “new” opportunity. My anxiety and restlessness relaxed and my brain became quiet as images, thoughts, processes, structures, presented themselves related to the piece I am currently discerning. It was as if I was being presented with the foundations and roadmap of what this direction might look like (if I determine it to be authentically God-directed and decide to say “yes” to this path). And as I sat in meditation and allowed these thoughts and images to present themselves, I found myself falling into a state of deep and peaceful calm, and all the afore-mentioned obsessive worries simply fell away. HMMMMM…..is this a clue along the discernment path?
God = Peace
St. Paul says it really well when it comes to testing whether something is “of God” or not. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul says it this way: “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” “Freedom” as it is used in the context of discernment means – peace, love, joy, mercy, compassion, expansiveness. These are the qualities we are invited to look for when scrutinizing opportunities to determine if they are authentically God-driven or instead, something coming out of our own egos or fears. Peace, I have found, is the final test. Does a certain path give you peace? If so, it may be from God. Now, peace does not mean that we are free of the anxiety that comes out of resistance. Resistance is the ego fighting against the path of our highest good. Resistance is the voice within me that offered the initial response to this opportunity of: “No way. No how. You must be nuts! Pick someone else. I won’t do it!” But, when I sit with this morning’s meditation and the deep peace that presented itself in the face of the “foundation and structure” of this possible path, I have no choice but to consider that it may authentically be coming from God and may in truth be the path of my highest good.
Fools rush in
And….having made rash decisions in regards to this vocational choice in the past, I know better than to make my decision today. The good news is that God is patient and that through experience, I know that there is more testing yet to be done. So, I continue in this path of discernment, open to what God may continue to reveal, placing today’s meditation in the discernment bucket and pray for clarity of discernment and the courage to say “yes” if indeed this proves to be “of God.”
Where have you found freedom (peace, joy, love, expansiveness) in your own journey?
How do you test your life opportunities to determine if they are coming from God or out of your own ego?
Authentic Freedom Ministries