What is discernment?


We saw this on a trip to the USA.  And our next door neighbour in her eighties came to mind.  A frail lady in her eighties.  A different generation – who roared with laughter when we got home and presented her with it.


We tend to view “living right” like this – whether that is as a “good person” – BUT  especially when we slap the label “religion” on living.

I always see that tightrope like this:

spiders web

A web of connected and interconnected choices.  So many that we rarely realise we are actually making choices.  So many that we often assume we have no choice – all those choices merge into a blur of no choice – and become duty, obligation, service, love, sacrifice, control, no control … all the negative crap we fill our heads with.

And only in the big decisions do we think get to “choose” – mostly when we cannot see the “line” or the “road” in front of us … and then we worry about not knowing the right way, the right decision, the best course of action, the hopeless-ness of it all!


Well …

This morning I bumped into three posts which clattered a bunch of thoughts around:

a) The Second Wave by Don Merritt

b) Fine Lines: Not My Thing by Annie B

c) The Mirror by Susan Irene Fox

And the thought that clattered around was this: Discernment: how does it work?

Because I am drawn to simplicity.  Particularly when it comes to “discernment”.  I am wondering if we over-think, over-complicate, and over-idolise those who can “discern”.

Those who “can hear God”, who do “see God”, who do have a “relationship with God”.  I wonder why we “lift up” our own creations / icons / idols and look at those whom we aspire to become – those who “know God like we have never known God”.  I wonder why we create our own “God icons” – why we set this standard of performance – a kind of  “world-class gold medal believers” who can “do God stuff” like we can’t do God stuff.

I wonder why we prefer to replace God with our manmade creations of spirituality.

So these three posts … ?  The Second Wave – how do we use the bible?  Fine Lines – are they a web or a tightrope?  Mirrors – have we become happily “me-blind” to the bits we prefer not to change?

“I’m still a hot babe but now it comes in flashes (or flushes)”

Thousands of miles from our neighbour we knew our lovely neighbour would love this.

So if you have a living relationship with an indwelling Lord and Father (in my case – my very own God Soft Hands Jesus) … is your “knowing” only special and spiritual  – not even close to being connected physically?  Is your “discernment” like “brain storming” at work – something you sit down to do – you start and finish (and hope something helpful comes through)?

Because isn’t “discernment” simply like breathing – it happens without us even having to “try to breathe”?  And – if not – is our relationship with our Living Lord being separated by this “distance of discernment” … ?

Do we make “discernment” a(nother!) skill to be learned and sought – and by that very “premise” create an(other!) eternal barrier to relationship with the very Father we claim to love and serve (and through which ever-closer-relationship “discernment” happens)?

And do we prefer to keep God a little bit “confusing” – a little bit distant – a little bit “I had no choice” – a little bit “I haven’t got time today” … because that allows us (justifiably and righteously and full of God stuff tick boxes) to carry on doing our own thing in our way?

I have always wondered why we make Unconditional Love and Relationship so “academic”, so “complicated” … unless it is because we prefer to confuse “fear of letting go ” with “loving my comfort zones” much more.

Discernment is a neat label.  And like all labels – hides an awful lot of real.

? ? ? ?     ? ? ? ?     ? ? ? ?

All of the bits in this post happened this morning.  And this morning began with Him saying “no writing today.”  He wanted me to do the reading, the connecting, the catching up with others’ words.

So why am I writing now?

Because I know – physically and mentally and in every fibre of my being – this is why He whispered “no writing” this morning.  And now – He doesn’t need to whisper ” now write” – because I feel Him within just as I did when He whispered “no” an hour ago.

I think others call this “discernment” – I call it relationship.


(and if you want to try and “get inside” how all that makes perfect sense to me – you will have to read those same posts (and the comments below) – and let go of anything resembling “good theology”)


5 thoughts on “What is discernment?

  1. Wow where to I even start. I was there last night, and actually in the midst of reviewing a book about discernment. And then God said put on this song. But not out loud. Quiet. So I did. And he was in the song. And then at 10 pm after one of the longest days I’ve ever had after one of the greatest trials I’ve ever faced, it was a now write.

    • “He is the King of my people, the human race. And I’ll love you and forgive you and show you mercy because it feels good, it feels right to extend the same hand that was extended to me.”

      • You are so in my spirit today. I heard God’s message through your writing all through the downtown traffic. It’s amazing the connection that exists between those of us who choose to love and listen above all else.

        • “Ever lose your car keys or glasses? Getting all frustrated and cranky about finding them never seems to help, does it? I never find things like that until I relax enough to get over the emotions involved and then somehow, almost miraculously… there they are.

          Texts like this are kind of the same way in that when I just stop trying to fight the battle in my head, the picture clears and the answer is right there in front of me. For me at least, getting out of God’s way often looks like that.”

          (comment under Don’s post)

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