Discernment is a time-honored practice in the Christian tradition. It is the process of aligning your will to God’s will.
In one sense, we do it all the time, from choosing the college we attend to simply planning our day. We listen to the “still, small voice” (1 Kings 19:12) inside us to help us decide what actions we engage in—that’s discernment.
The process of discernment is intentional, deliberate and takes the time it takes. (1 John 4:1) Discernment cannot be rushed. After acceptance of the Missional Discernment Application, aspiring Missionals wade into the process of establishing relationships in the Village and are encouraged to be prayerful and reflective, taking time to listen to the subtle movements of the Spirit within their own hearts, recognizing and dialoguing with God about their feelings. If the fruit of this quiet time is peace and joy, this typically indicates a genuine call to serve as a Missional. Fruits such as anxiety, frustration, fear and confusion may indicate a call to something other than becoming a Missional, or it could suggest that now is not the right time to pursue the Missional life.
Discussions with your spouse and family, a pastor or other spiritual guide, friends, other missionals, Community First! Village residents, and most importantly with God in extended periods of quiet prayer, are all vital to engaging in a robust discernment process. During this time of discernment, if you are receiving consolations, encouragements and other positive emotions, ask God if that is Him affirming—whether becoming a Missional is His will for you. Likewise, if you have anxiety, hesitations or negative emotions, ask God specifically about each of them. Is He leading you away from the Missional life, are these simply your own human frailties, or possibly even lies of the enemy? Listen with the ears of your heart for His answers.
Also during this time, pay special attention to your dreams, to out-of-the-ordinary events, to new people you meet, and to new insights from reading Scripture. Ask God for how He was revealing His will for you in those events. The goal of discernment is to know God’s will, and He uses many different ways to communicate that to us. Our job is to actively listen, to attentively perceive, and to assiduously pray to God throughout the process.
Ask God during this time for the ears to hear and the eyes to see His will.