Discernment doesn’t happen in a vacuum, but in the context of our relationship with God. Discerning God’s will only makes sense if we have or seek a vibrant relationship with God. Whether we are trying to discern a major life choice, or live in greater conformity to God’s will, the best way to grow in that relationship and to become attuned to God’s voice is to spend time in prayer.
The title of this blog pushes this foundational principle a bit further: that we believe that God co-authors our life with us! If we believe that the Holy Spirit is directing our life, that God and I are “writing” our life story together, then it becomes even more important to spend time with God. Any time spent in prayer is important, but a quieter, more contemplative approach to prayer will help us to learn how to listen to God in the light of God’s saving love. (More about listening in prayer later.)
One of the challenges of the Christian life is a temptation to try to earn God’s love, rather than trusting in God’s love. We don’t want to allow our discernment to be colored by this temptation. A true partnership, being a true “co-author” is a relationship of trust. Doing God’s will is not about proving ourselves, nor about trying to control our life and relationships. Instead, truly seeking to do God’s will is being like Mary, whose “yes” to God came from her ongoing relationship with God. At the Annunciation, Mary recognized God’s Lordship in her life, but she also recognized that her consent and her love were essential in collaborating with God’s salvific plan. She could only say “yes” the way she did precisely because of her relationship with God. Mary trusted God completely: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord.”
When we truly seek to live God’s will, we recognize that this includes growing in our relationship with God. A true attitude of discernment allows God to take the lead, to set the parameters to our story, and to invite us deeper into the great adventure of our life.
- How would I describe my relationship with God?