June 1, 2021

Four tips for better discernment

Four tips for better discernment

By Katherine Coleman

“Finding God’s call in your life is a challenge, but we can take steps to open ourselves.”

What is God calling me to? When was the last time you asked this question?

God has a plan for you, but discerning the fullness of his plan requires commitment. Commitment is sometimes a scary word, but to achieve great things you have to face your fears. 

Think about something you are really good at. How much time do you spend each day, week or month working to be better? Discerning your vocation is a very important step in your faith journey and requires you to spend time working toward that holy goal.

There are many resources available to help you in this process, but here are a few key points to get you started.

1.Be bold in your faith. Society may be trying to lead you toward things, experiences or friends that do not align with your Catholic faith. Discerning God’s plan for your life, your vocation, means choosing things, experiences and friends that will bring you closer to God. Get to know your Catholic community. Your church community is praying for you and supporting you. Attend youth groups, Bible study groups, prayer groups and any other opportunities your church has that will help you meet others within your community and broaden your Catholic support system.

2.Learn what vocations are. How will you recognize what God is calling you to if you don’t educate yourself about vocations? There are several different paths God may call you to: priesthood, religious life, marriage, single life. Talk to people who are living each of these vocations and learn as much as you can about each one. 

3.Seek out opportunities to hear God. In your busy life, it can be easy to miss what God is telling you. Spend time in conversation with God each day. Pray. Attend mass. Go to adoration. Spend time outdoors. Filling all of your time with the distractions of modern life — cell phones, social media, internet, etc. — is like taking a tour of a beautiful landmark with a blindfold on! God’s creation is beautiful and meant to be seen, appreciated and enjoyed. Commit to at least a few minutes of distraction-free time each day, and be listening for God in everything you do. 

4.Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. You are human and you will make mistakes. God offers you a way to identify your mistakes and weaknesses and be forgiven. God wants you to grow in holiness. Confessing your sins and receiving God’s forgiveness and grace is a very important part of that growth. When you go to confession, you first examine your conscience, your life, and look for the places where you are falling short. This examination will help you see places in your life where you need to improve and place more effort. Think about how much better you feel when you share things that are troubling you with a friend. When you confess your sins to God, it is even better because you will receive his forgiveness and grace. What better way to grow closer to him?

God created you. He chose you for a specific purpose. He gave you special gifts and talents to help you toward that purpose. Try not to forget that! He will lead the way if you let him.

“He will lead the way if you let him.”