Discerning: What’s In Our Heart?

06B foto stochDiscerning what is in our heart is the touchstone of our discernment, and it’s what we need to keep coming back to throughout our discernment. Previously, we spoke about desire and deep desire (see What’s the Connection Between Desire and Discernment, and Discerning with Deep Desires blog posts), but let’s re-visit this briefly, as many people struggle with interior “listening” the most.

Our deepest desires—such as the longing to love and be loved—are placed in us by God. These deep desires are often buried beneath more superficial desires that spring from our ego or the stress or distractions of daily life. That’s why it’s so important to pray with our feelings and desires, and to continually “go deeper” and evaluate what we most truly want. If you haven’t had the opportunity to do this, I encourage you to take some time now to pray with your desires. You can use the journaling and prayer exercises in the earlier posts listed above, if that’s helpful.

As we reflect on the other important aspects of our lives to discern, we want to constantly return to what our hearts are telling us. How do we feel about the needs of the world, about the needs of the people around us, about the circumstances in which we find ourselves? It’s not that what our heart says is more important than whatever else we bring to discernment, but rather it is our minds and hearts that find the balance and assign the right importance to each of these different elements. Everything must be sorted through our minds and hearts because, in the end, it is with our will and heart that we will say “yes” to God.

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To Journal With

When we begin a discernment, it can be helpful to start with how we feel, because our feelings can often help us determine what troubles us, what we are resisting, and what feels like an invitation. Because all of us want to be happy, we can receive important clues for our discernment when we ask ourselves a few questions about happiness. These might be helpful questions to pray with over the next few days:

  • What does happiness look like for me?
  • Am I happy now? Why or why not?
  • What might I need to become truly, deeply happy (or happier)?

Throughout our discernment, we will want to continue to touch base with our thoughts, feelings, and desires, and bring them often—daily—to God in our prayer.

Follow-up Resource

For a prayerful reflection on how our gifts and our dreams can intersect to reveal God’s will to us, read Meditation 48 in my book, See Yourself Through God’s Eyes, Pauline Books & Media. In the printed book, Meditation 48 can be found on pp. 139-142.

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