The “self” is so strong in me that I fear oftentimes (maybe all the time) that what I think is Your voice in my life is really only me talking to myself. “Discernment” has become a catchword in Christian spirituality for the ability to truly identify Your spirit’s whispers and movements in our lives. With so much ego, so much me, so much “self,” this is not easy. What makes it even more difficult is honestly knowing when the “self” is vacated and the doors are open for You. In this endeavor the “self” a pest that won’t leave.
One unavoidable axiom that should be paramount in my thinking about discernment is that whatever I’m discerning must be channeled through me. I am the only conduit through which You can reach me. So the question of valid discernment is really a question of the degree of conductivity to which I have brought myself. Since this process of disposition is ongoing and evolutionary it has the potential of becoming sharper the more it is sought and the longer it is sought.
There may never come points at which we are absolutely 100% sure of Your voice or Your actions in our lives. The doubt comes from our own humanity. But the more we learn to dispose ourselves by pushing “self” aside the easier it becomes to discern instances which beg further discernment; and the perception of successive discernments becomes surer. It’s basically the old saw, practice makes perfect. I’m far from being perfect and I’m still practicing, but there are indeed times when I’m strongly convinced that You speak to me and move me, and it’s not just my “self.” I treasure these times and, like those who followed You around Galilee and Judea, I keep wanting more – more signs – more ways to discern You. Your love overlooks all my shortcomings of discernment and maybe the ability to discern that fact is the most important discernment of all.