The Story Behind This Blog

SrPaulSelfSmallGloomedFor nine years, I’d helped young women discern their vocation–whether they were called to religious life, married life, or the single life. I offered workshops and mini-courses on vocational discernment, discernment retreats, and individual vocational accompaniment. The intensity of others’ discernments helped me live the spiritual art of discernment much more mindfully. I was thrilled that I could focus on discernment so much, though I knew that I was just beginning to go deeper into living this profound spiritual art and practice. I was even asked to write a book about it—a book that I never got to.

Then I was transferred to another assignment–something very different from what I’d been doing. “No big deal,” I thought. I planned to continue discernment as an important part of my Pauline life. After all by this time, I’d been a religious sister living the vow of obedience for over twenty-five years.

But in a new and unfamiliar environment, the multitude of choices and decisions I faced daily made me feel paralyzed. When presented with several fantastic opportunities, I had no idea which one God was calling me to do. My prayer, dry at the time, didn’t shed any light. God made his presence felt, but not his desires, not his will. I felt as if I had no clue which opportunity or direction was truly his will. And just as I was realizing how inexpert I was in the art of discernment, I was once again asked if I would consider writing a book on discernment!

God often puts unexpected plot twists in the story of my life. This is not the first time that God has called me to grow in a certain area in my life by inviting me to write a book. So I’ve decided to give it a try. To create a true dialogue, to receive input from readers, and to make sure that I’m speaking to others’ real questions about discernment, I thought it would be great if I could blog the book first. And this blog, CoAuthorYourLifewithGod, was born.

Discernment has become a key part of my life because it leads me into greater alignment with God’s will, to live God’s story for me. Although I’ve spent a lot of time discerning and witnessing others’ discernments, I’m no expert. I still struggle with discerning how God is inviting me when I’m overwhelmed, afraid, or attached to having my way. The truth is that all of us can grow in this spiritual art of listening to the Lord’s invitations and striving to respond with a generous “yes!”

This blog gives us the opportunity to reflect on and grow in the spiritual art of discernment. Please ask questions, comment, and be active here on this blog—it’s for you! I’ll try to include opportunities to share, contests, and surveys that will make it fun to explore this important spiritual art, as we together seek to discover how we can listen more deeply and respond more generously to God’s loving call in our lives.

I’d really love to hear from you (in the comments box below or you can email me, too–just mention if you’d like me to keep your question anonymous):

  • Why have you stopped by and visited this blog?
  • What are you discerning?
  • What questions do you have about discernment or growing in your relationship with God?
  • What would you like to see here on this blog that would be helpful for you on your discernment journey?

What discernment is…

During my first year as a pre-postulant in the Daughters of Saint Paul

During my first year as a pre-postulant in the Daughters of Saint Paul–just after the most dramatic discernment of my life!

I made the most dramatic discernment of my life (up till now) when I was a teenager and discerned God’s call to enter religious life. At the time, I didn’t have the depth of understanding of discernment that I do now. But if you’d have asked me, I would have described discernment as, “seeking to do God’s will.” That classic definition still works for me, as well as all the descriptions given in my previous post.

(Yes, it was a trick question: all the answers are correct!)

But below are some of my favorite descriptions of discernment:

Discernment is…   

1. Seeking God’s will for my life

2. Coming to know Christ and recognize his presence in the story of my life

3. A spiritual art in which I come to better understand how God communicates himself to me, and how God is saving me…my personal salvation story. This definition is taken from one of my favorite authors on discernment, Jesuit priest Father Marko Ivan Rupnik, from his book: Discernment: Acquiring the Heart of God.  More about his wonderful book soon!

Perhaps you’d like to add a description of discernment in your own words. If you do, please share it!

4. ___________________________________________________________________

(You can email me if you’d like me to post it, or you can put it in the comments below.)

Keeping in mind both these descriptions and the ones from my previous post, we can now look more closely at why discernment is important:

If we believe in a God who truly loves us and wants what is best for us, then discerning what God wants is the best way to find happiness. God’s story for us may have its ups and downs, but it always leads to a happy ending!