In this week’s podcast, I build on last week’s message, “Listen,” and move to practical applications that have served me to sharpen my own discernment process. In particular, I draw from the insights of Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of Jesuits, a work that has endured 450 years. His joining of active mission in the world with the riches of a slowed-down spirituality, along with a deep awareness of God moving through our feelings, is unique in church history.
After discussing Ignatius’ unique contribution, I share four insights that have served me in listening and discerning God’s will:
- Silence: Responding to God’s Invitations to Greater Silence. There are seasons where God invites us to carve out larger blocks of time for silence and stillness with him.
- Feeling: Listening to God in Your Feelings. We don’t blindly follow our feelings but acknowledge them as a part, a significant part, of the way God communicates to us. Therefore, it is important that we become aware of our feelings and ask, “God how are you coming to me through them?”
- Mature Community: Seeking Wise Counsel. One of the great lessons of history is that we all need mature spiritual companions to keep us on track during significant times of discernment. Why? Our capacity for self-deception is great.
- Time: Waiting. God is not in a rush. I’ve never regretted waiting, but I’ve often regretted impatience and haste.
I am always encouraged that God’s commitment to speak to us is much greater than our commitment to listen. As he says: I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. 9 Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding, but must be controlled by bit and bridle.