Finding our way vocationally takes time, patience and prayer. Here are 7 steps spiritual directors suggest to to help you discern your life’s call.
- Pray daily for the path to be revealed. Cultivate a desire to know what God wants for your life. Ask God to help you be open to however God leads you. Use the prayer practice of the Daily Examen to learn, over time, how God moves in your life. This two-part prayer involves noticing daily where you feel deeply connected to God and where you feel disconnected. Keep a journal of these moments so you can detect patterns.
- Sit in prayer with the question “What do you desire for me, God?” Sit in silence for at least part of your prayer, waiting for a word, phrase or image to form. You may also spend time exploring your own desire, since God works in and through desires planted in our hearts.
- Listen to your intuition. Imagine your thoughts descending to your heart. Become very still and listen to your breath for a few moments. What is your gut feeling about how God is leading you? How does your body feel? Do any images come to mind? Allow your intuition to have a say.
- Speak to a trusted person about your discernment. Many people go to spiritual directors when they are deeply in discernment around a call. You may have a wise friend that you trust. Or a mentor. Ask them about the gifts they see in you.
- Convene a circle of people you trust to help. Quakers in discernment sometimes ask for a Clearness Committee—a circle of people who sit in silent prayer for a period of time and then ask honest, open-ended questions about the focus person’s discernment. They are not there to give advice, only to assist in listening to the Spirit.
- Try on your choices. One tool for vocational discernment is to take your options and imaginatively “try them on” for a short period of time. Spend one day imagining that you made one choice and then spend another day imagining you made another choice. Which day’s imagination exercise felt more like a fit for you?
- Take the leap. Sometimes we just don’t know what we are called to do or be in life until we live into it. All discernment requires that we finally make a choice. After living into our choice we can then do more discernment. Does it feel like we are on our true path? If not, don’t despair. Spend more time in prayer and continue the work of discernment. God is with us regardless of the path we choose.
If you are interested in learning more about spiritual direction or entering spiritual direction with me, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.