Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Discerning in the darkness

This weekend had a lot of emotions, decisions, people, good moments and bad moments. Started off on a high note, went down somewhere in the middle, then ended on a high note again.

Was so fun to go biking and to the beach with a special someone on my last weekend in Lisbon probably for a while (sniff sniff)...

Like Mary, I feel like I've been "pondering things in my heart" (Lk 2:19), but maybe unlike Mary's peaceful, trusting way of doing it, I've been a worried-sick, making decisions anyway kind of pondering. I feel like I don't have the answers, like God calls me to something and I try to name it and show it off and put a time-limit on it and then I realize it wasn't exactly that. And really I still don't know what it is. I mean, I know God's ways are not our ways but GEEZ.

Over tea, I told a friend, "oh no, he'll think I'm inconsistent and don't know what I want and am going back and forth, etc. etc." And she very simply said, "people can't expect you to know right away and never change... it's a process."

Reminded me of two things: the first, something I heard in Taize last summer. Here's what I wrote in my journal about a Bible study on John the Baptist:
"How does John the Baptist know he was sent by God? He has to prepare the way for someone else, but he doesn't know who that person is. This is different from the human way of thinking: goal, put it into practice, know why you are doing something. When you listen to God, you get some ideas that point in a direction, but meaning comes with the journey."

The second, was this blog post, the secret of discernment, over at Conversion Diary. About St. Francis of Assisi (interestingly, my confirmation saint) and how he heard a call from God telling him to rebuild His church and he at first thought it was materially so he spent a long time hauling stones. But it didn't matter, it mattered that he was responding the best way he could to God's call and this one foot in front of the other was beginning a journey that God would lead him on to build his Church.

"But now, the more I look to St. Francis’ example, the more I see that knowing the mind of God perfectly isn’t necessary for good discernment (not to mention the fact that it isn’t even possible).  As long as I am not blocking out God’s voice through intentional disobedience or sin, as long as I am sincerely seeking his will, that’s what matters. Even if I misunderstand some message in prayer and end up taking the “wrong” path, the Lord will work it out, as long as I stay close to him."

God's been leading me on a journey ever since I moved to Portugal, but I feel like only two years ago did I really learn to pray and only last summer did I really, actively respond to His call in a crazy way to quit my job and start fundraising to work for Young Life. So it's not turning out exaaactly as I was expecting. Does it mean I got the call wrong? It's what I was scared of, but after this weekend I realize I shouldn't even worry about that.

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