We had a very interesting and raw discussion at midweek mass about discerning and following God’s will, & I’ve been struggling to convey it to other people. Since I’m shite at talking, I figured I could ramble a little here on my blog until I figured it out. Lucky you.
When I say “raw”, I mean it in the vulnerable, deeply honest sense (not Eddie Murphy). Father asked us in so many words how we discern God’s will, and as the midweek is an intimate gathering, about half of us piped up with something. One parishioner said it’s all pretty much there in the Bible. Another said it was to be more Christlike. Another said that she was trying to sort out what God’s will was for her personally.
That seemed to be where Father was going with that. This parishioner engendered a bigger discussion of discernment and prayer, where I disclosed that I pray every night, longing to be sent in the direction God wants me. And to have the sense to not resist it.
Because sometimes (as I’ve pointed out elsewhere, & Father pointed out in the discussion), we get super willful about what we want. We’ll cram a box of Ho-Hos down our gullet instead of take the time & energy to make a good Swiss roll from scratch (or, you know, forego sweets). We’ll watch just one more episode instead of go for a hike. We constantly choose shitty things for ourselves instead of treat ourselves like God’s favourite children (you’re all his faves).
Being the great uniter that I am (or whatever), it struck me during this discussion that if we linked the other parishioner’s suggestion of being more Christlike with how we discern what is God’s will for us, maybe we will suck less at discernment. I gave the example of my own craptastic decisions. Every time I made a choice sans Christ check on aisle 3, it led to freakin’ misery. And I pulled that magnificent stunt for 20-something years.
So, my trite soundbite solution to the discernment dilemma is not “What would Jesus do?” because Jesus was the Son of God & we’ve already established that pretty much none of us would do a lot of what Jesus did. I would love to end the health care “debate” (read: emotionally charged ragefest) by being able to heal all the sick personally, but that is not my gift.
So, it might be more instructive, when making a decision, to ask “Which would Jesus have me do?” When faced with getting into a name calling screaming match online or in person, would Jesus start PMing you sick burns? No. No, he would not.
When faced with eating nachos twice in one day, would Jesus then add a gallon of ice cream? Unlikely.
Does Jesus want you to take the soul sucking job, stay only to be beaten by your husband, overreact to everything, ghost the chick you no longer fancy, backhand your kid, mock others, live with flashbacks and night terrors, drop your faith to make others more comfortable, or spend so much money you lie awake at night crying from the pressure of your debt? No.
Jesus isn’t all “You suck.” Jesus is a lamppost. Follow the light. The light cannot help but lead you out of darkness — eventually. I think of my own experiences like a power outage. I was in such pitch blackness, but even one little match lighting one tiny candle can lead you to find other candles, and more light sources, and eventually an entire power station that keeps a city of millions whirring.
But, like, for the whole universe.
So, I guess what I’m saying is that discernment is simply a matter of finding the light. And sometimes, of being the light.
Any support, in shares or donations, is appreciated.