What’s My “Character Arc”? Personal & Spiritual Growth in Discernment

 © Daughters of St. Paul, by Sr. Chelsea Moxley-Davis

© Daughters of St. Paul, by Sr. Chelsea Moxley-Davis

Picking up from Monday’s post about how discovering our desires is part of our “character arc” (or personal growth) as we continue to be the co-protagonists with the Holy Spirit on our discernment journey:

The character arc in the discernment journey—the inner part of our journey towards choosing God’s will in our lives—is twofold:

1) a journey towards understanding ourselves and our deepest desires and needs

2) a progressive freeing of our minds, wills, and hearts from anything that will limit our free choice and availability to God’s call

Our character arc—the personal and spiritual growth that is needed for a wise and authentic discernment—is often what requires the most time on our discernment journey. This is why we need patience, faith, and trust in God for the discernment journey, because it’s a spiritual journey that goes largely unseen, and is hard to explain to others and even harder to understand from the outside.

Coming to know ourselves—as we’ve been exploring—is not easy. It takes prayer, self-reflection, and courage. But coming to freedom, which is so essential—even critical—to our discernment, can be even more challenging. It’s critical because our full and free assent is the only kind of “yes” that God wants. God wants our greatest joy and happiness—but to be truly joyful and happy, we need to be truly free. Growing in freedom—from sinfulness, selfishness, old ways of thinking and acting, past habits of relating to others and accomplishing our goals, old and limited ways of seeing things—letting go of all of these can be extraordinarily challenging!

Becoming truly free is a lifelong journey, and it doesn’t need to be fully accomplished in order to make a good discernment. But lacking in freedom in certain areas can make it very difficult to discern God’s invitations in our lives. When we pray for the light and grace that we need on our discernment journey, we are often mostly praying for the grace of spiritual freedom.


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