We know, we know, discernment can sometimes seem like a buzzword once you have heard it enough times from your professor who wrote your letter of recommendation, the Jesuit priest you spoke with after mass, or even a JVC staff member you just spoke to. JVC wanted to offer you 5 discernment methods to spice things up a bit! We hope they help you continue exploring next steps in the spirit of discernment.
1. Have thorough knowledge of your options
Discernment involves choosing between two or more options. While we will never have all the information, gathering and sifting through everything we know regarding the various options is crucial to making a good decision. So, why not learn more? Knowledge is power(ful).
2. Spend time in prayer reflecting on your freedom to accept or reject those options
3. Be sure to rationally and affectively weigh your “Pros and Cons”
The process of discernment involves both “using one’s head”” and “trusting one’s feelings.” One needs the capacity to understand, reason logically, compare, and weigh different considerations and form judgments based on rational arguments. Equally important, however, is the ability to listen to our feelings, our “heart,” in that process of weighing the advantages and disadvantages of various considerations.
4. Pay attention to your “great desires” that arise during the process
Discernment is a way of sifting through our desires and passions, so that our lives may be shaped by the best of them. Our “great desires” put us in tune with God’s desires and express what God wants us to become. In the academic world or a TED Talk conversation on this method of discernment, there is likely to be a whole conversation about emotional intelligence and where we’re at as individuals, where we’d like to be at, and how an experience like JVC could provide the support and the transformation we’re looking for in our lives, mind and spirits.
5. Take note of your experience of confirmation or its opposite–your feelings of doubt and confusion
After one makes a decision, either a feeling of “rightness” or peace confirms that decision, or one can feel more confused, unsure, doubting the choice made. If the latter occurs, continue to prayer for clarity and light. This is where imaginative discernment or in the world of psychology, role play might help to distill what is holding you back from making a firm decision and how you might see your way through it all.