Discernment is the spiritual process through which we determine our life path – specifically, what path will be in our highest good and is God’s intention and desire for us and what path is not. Discernment is a tricky process and not to be entered into lightly and we are invited to be cautious of the danger signs along the way as we seek the path of light.
Identifying the Path of our Highest Good
“God’s will” might be a phrase some would use in describing the path that is in our “Highest good.” The idea of pre-destination notwithstanding, this phrase may cause philosophical issues for most, if not many people. I think of it this way…..the Source of the Universe (which some might call God), knows the path that is in our highest good and wants us to discover and follow that path because it is the best thing for us and it is the best thing for the world. I understand the path of our highest good to be that which leads us towards the discovery of our highest and most authentic selves, heals us of our false-perceptions and ego-attachments, assists us in transcending our fears and leads us toward the discovery, cultivation and eventual sharing of our unique giftedness….in service to Love/God and in service to the world, thereby bringing the world to a greater state of peace, freedom, joy and harmony. Cool, right?! The good news is that the discovery/awareness of this path is available and accessibly to us RIGHT NOW if we but have the eyes to see, and the faith to trust in Divine Timing! (ie: letting go of our need to “make” things happen, manipulate and control outcomes!) This path is also recognized by some very significant markers/signposts/identifying characteristics. Here are those markers:
- The path of our highest good leads us toward freedom.
- The path of our highest good leads us toward peace, contentment, joy, love, compassion, justice.
- The path of our highest good is expansive, liberating, moves of its own volition
- The path of our highest good is life-giving
- The path of our highest good makes the best use of our gifts as well as our perceived weaknesses or imperfections
Beware of Grandiosity
So, let me give you an example of how one might begin to seek clarity in our path to our highest good. I shared with you a few weeks ago the vision that I received that was given in response to my prayer for “direction and clarity.” The image was of me in white robes, wearing a red stole, presumably presiding over mass/liturgy in front of a multitude of people also dressed in white. My initial reaction to this vision was, “NO WAY…NO HOW….YOU MUST BE NUTS….GO AWAY GOD!” Well, I know better than to question or challenge what might be God’s “call” for me, so for the past several weeks, I have been seeking clarity about what this vision might mean. At first it seemed it was God calling me to the priesthood. Then I came to understand that I am already priest in the work that I have been doing and will continue to do. Then it seemed it was God calling me to “build a new church.” ARGH! Certainly the furthest thing from my mind, but an idea I could not at least examine, question, challenge and think about pursuing. Somewhere in the mix of these ideas, potential calls, etc. came thoughts of “Well, at least someone might finally get this ‘church’ thing right. It is about time someone considers reforming the priesthood. To heck with the stupid black shirt and collar, I will be a priest that dresses as the people dress.” Is there a need for reform in the church? You betcha. Are there changes that could be made around our ideas of priest! YUP! And, as I have been discerning this call and wrapped up in thoughts such as these, it all felt big, daunting, a bit overwhelming, and dare I say “important” and “grandiose.” How cool is it that God would call ME to reform the Church and the Priesthood. HA!!!!! Today, it seems, God is laughing ….. again….. at little Lauri as she tries to find her way in the world.
KISS – Keep it Simple Stupid!
Somewhere along this path of discernment, I had forgotten the #1 rule on Don Lumby’s “Rules of Project Management.” (for those that don’t know, Don is my dad….and one of my greatest teachers!!!). The rule is: “KISS – Keep it Simple Stupid!” So after much discernment, consultation with my Spiritual Direction and local advisors and spiritual brothers and sisters, it seems the BIG VISION I received might not be so big. In fact, it might be as simple as gently expanding on what I have already been doing and empowering certain individuals to do the same. HMMMMM Still not sure exactly how it will all play out…..but it feels good to know that it is not my job to CHANGE THE WORLD. (ok, it is all of our jobs to change the world……I just don’t have to do it single-handedly as a priest in a newly formed church of my own making. YAY!)
Where are you tempted to give into gradiose or big plans for yourself?
How do you recognize the path of your highest good?
How has formal discernment played a role in your own life?
Authentic Freedom Ministries