Discernment Concerns a Process, Not a Conclusion


When I was at the retreat that prompted me to write this short series on discernment, one of the instructors shared a quote by Richard Rohr that I find to be immensely helpful when considering the role discernment plays in our lives: 

“God becomes more a verb than a noun, more a process than a conclusion, more an experience than a dogma, more a personal relationship than an idea. There is someone dancing with you, and you are not afraid of making mistakes.” 

— Richard Rohr, The Naked Now, p. 23

This gets at the idea I shared in my previous post about all of life being a process of foundational experiences that reveal to us the unique story of redemption and healing and wholeness that God is about in our lives. 

So often, when we are in a process of discernment about a choice we’re trying to make in our lives, we are focused on the concluding outcome of that decision. What is the right decision here? What am I supposed to do? Did I make the right choice? Have I landed in the place I was supposed to land? 

But in the quote from Richard Rohr above, we are reminded that life with God is more about living through a life with God than arriving at a particular point or conclusion or decision. Life with God is a verb and a process, he says. It is active and ongoing. It involves continuous change, and that change concerns our inward and outward being. 

Who is God making us to be? What is the fullness and wholeness of us that is his aim over the whole course of our lives? And how does one decision or another affirm that work of wholeness in us? 

These are the real questions at the heart of discernment. 

It is not about one right answer or another that will bring us to a place of arrival. It is about how a decision continues to shape us into the person God intends for us to become in the broader, longevity-seeking scope of our lives. 

What is the work of healing, wholeness, and redemption God seems to be about in your life? And how might the decisions you are seeking to make be a part of that broader work?