Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Nick's Chaplain Blog: "A Discerning Heart"


November 5, 2012 ~ "A Discerning Heart"

“Run after God with all your heart. Then follow your heart.” ~ Bill Noffke


Do you remember the Magic 8 Ball when you were growing up? Hopefully you have stopped using it to make decisions...but wasn't it so cool then? You could pose any question, shake it, and it would give you the guaranteed right answer…which meant that you could keep shaking it until it gave you the answer you wanted! For example, “Should I ask this girl to the dance…(Shake)... ‘Reply hazy, try again’…(Shake again)… ‘Don’t count on it’…(Shake harder)… ‘Outlook not so good’…(Shake violently)…”My sources say no’… (Throw it across the room)…’Signs point to Yes’… AHA!! YES! I knew it!!”

My wife and I have made some major decisions in the last 3 years: We have moved twice, bought a house, bought a truck, changed jobs, had a child, bought a puppy, started eating a chicken a day (and you should too), and changed churches.

Stop for a moment and reflect on these two thoughts:
What decisions and choices have you made in the past 3 years?
How did you know it was the best decision for you and/or your family?

As a country we have a big decision to make Tuesday, Election Day. We have heard every angle of why we should vote for who, and now it’s time to make our choices. For many of you though, there are other choices that are before you as well.

I was asked to be one of the speakers for the Faith and Spirituality in the Workplace Conference this past week at the University of Arkansas. I attended a presentation held by the Spiritual Care Directors for Ascension Health, and she spoke on the topic of “Daily Discernment” and I want to share a few things that I took away from it.

The discernment process is one that engages your spirituality, intellect, imagination, intuition and our beliefs. It is decision-making that reaches into the heart of our beliefs about God, creation, others and ourselves. It therefore requires structured time for reflection and prayer from the beginning and throughout the process. Such prayer and reflection could include, but is not limited to the following considerations:

Am I willing to look at all the choices before me?
What would God have me do in this situation? In these circumstances?
Am I willing to listen reverently?
Am I willing to name and let go of my fears?
How does this decision help to serve others better?
How does this issue relate to my personal/company values and/or mission statement?
Am I willing to step outside my preconceived plan?
Am I willing to prefer the will of God over my own?
How is God speaking through events and people?
Am I willing to trust God?

I want to encourage you to not only use this discernment process on the big life-changing decisions, but make it a habit of coming to God with the seemingly small choices too.

Reflection:
What decisions and choices are in front of you this week?
How are you going to find time for reflecting on these decisions?
What would it be like if you devoted the remainder of 2012 to using this discernment process in every decision you make, both personally and professionally?

“Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
~ Philippians 4:8 (NLT)


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