Called to Discern
“What are you going to do with your life?” For many, there is no more important (or stress-inducing) question in all of the world, which is why I put them front and center as the opening words of my new book Called: What Happens After Saying Yes to God. Since the way we answer the big questions of life—what career you’re going to pursue, who you’re going to marry, where you’re going to live—has the power to shape everything about our lives, definitively answering these questions, as quickly and thoroughly as we can, would seem to be the very goal of life itself. As agonizing as it may be to pass through a period of unknowing, to wait for God to help us figure everything out, we know that once we answer those questions everything will get easier.
But does it? And is that all we think of discernment?
In my experience, discerning the will of God in our lives and figuring out what I’m “going to do with my life” is not something that can ever be fully answered. As soon as I answered what I thought to be the biggest question of my life—should I join the friars or get married—I found myself faced with new questions. And then new questions. And then new questions again. While I may have figured out my “place” in life, I have by no means figured out how I’m going to actually live it. With each day comes a new challenge, a new opportunity, and a new way of relating to God than before.
For me, discerning the will of God is not a matter of answering a question and moving on, it is a way of life that dictates everything we do. Because here’s the thing: As important as these questions may be to us in our world today, I don’t think they matter at all to God. Sure, God wants us to be happy and fulfilled, and to the extent that our careers, family, and living situation does that is important to God. But in the ultimate sense I don’t think God could care less if we choose to be an accountant or a firefighter, whether we marry Susie or Maria, or whether we live in Cincinnati or San Antonio. What God cares about most is not how we answer the big questions, it’s how we answer the most basic of questions: how am I going to be a disciple of Christ today? That is our calling. That is what God wants from us. And that is what we must discern.
This Lent, take a moment each day to discern this most basic of questions. Realize that the truly most important question in life—how we’re going to live as children of God and disciples of Christ—is not something that can be answered and moved on from but is something that must be taken up each and every day anew. Focus your discernment on that question and see if the bigger questions don’t just figure themselves out.
If you’d like to preorder my new book, Called: What Happens After Saying Yes to God, click here.