In my previous post on discernment, we talked about how, when it’s time for a discernment process, we often think in terms of finding an answer to our question—of whether to choose option A, B, or C in a particular moment of our lives—but how, really, discernment is about something of a much greater scope.

It’s about the wholistic work God is doing in our lives — our lives seen in their totality, from beginning to end — as he seeks to conform us more and more into the people we actually are and the image of God we were created to bear.

This has helped me realize there is quite an element of mystery to embrace when we’re about discernment.

Think of it this way. Even when we wait and look and listen and discern the invitation of God in our lives toward a particular decision, we don’t know what will happen once that decision has been made. We may discern that, yes, we are going to accept that job offer — but even if we ascertain that job offer to be the next stone on our pathway forward, we don’t fully comprehend why. We only know that God is nudging us toward it. It aligns with the wholistic work he’s been about in our lives. It’s clearly the right choice for us at this point in our story.

But toward what end? Not simply for the job itself, but toward the end of it being used to further our formation. The decision was not a destination but part of a larger process — a process we cannot fully perceive or apprehend and never will. It exists in the mind of God.

Our part is to discern and follow, and in that sense, to be part of a great mystery that’s beyond us. It’s like this short string of words in Psalm 40 that reminds us of this truth:

More and more people are seeing this:
they enter the mystery,
abandoning themselves to God.
— Psalm 40:3, MSG

Life with God teems with mystery. He is so much greater than we are, and he is intimately acquainted with our life and our ways and our story. He knows the work he is about in us, and we see that work but dimly, simply following the next stone on the path.

What is it like for you to participate in something greater than your eyes can see about your life?

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Christianne Squires, M.A., is a writer and spiritual director who lives in Winter Park, FL, with her husband and their two cats. Called to work at the intersection of spiritual formation and digital connectivity, she maintains Still Forming, a website offering contemplative reflection and online spiritual direction to seekers around the world. In 2013, she was named a New Contemplative by Spiritual Directors International.

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