The idea of knowing God’s will for my life, to use the language we used when I was growing up, has always been important to me. From high school days onward I’d buy and/or read books on spiritual discernment. Most of them, while helpful in some ways, were more of the 1-2-3 steps to God’s plan for your life. My life never quite seemed to fit into that 1-2-3 pattern – especially when it came to the challenging times of life or the times when I thought I’d followed God’s direction and seemed to end up in the wrong place. So I began questioning and learning and realized that life is a pilgrimage to God and that all of our experiences are used by God to make us the people we are – and that is good. So I wanted to share those thoughts with others – especially other “strivers” like me who want to do good, seem to often fail, and then beat ourselves up about missing some direction.
How do you personally receive or discern Divine Direction?
There are lots of ways I sense Divine Direction at work in my life. Most are in what Quakers call nudgings – a gentle nudge in the soul to do something worthy. It can be something simple – helping someone whose groceries have tumbled out of his torn grocery sack – or something large – to go work with AIDs orphans in Africa. We all get these nudgings – the important thing is learning to pay attention to them. There are other ways, too, reading wise books, listening to wise people, paying attention in love to the world around me, and much more.
What do you believe prevents us from "discerning" God's guidance more easily?
God’s Positioning System! I love that. Well, to tap in more directly, if we’re going to think of GPS, we have to first turn it on, then we have to consult it. GPS doesn’t do any good if it’s just in the car or on our cellphone. It has to be turned on and ready to go – and we have to use it. So, ways of turning it on, I think, include taking time for nurturing the spirit – prayer, quietness, reading, music, art, walking. These things vary person to person. Then ask – “Am I hearing/sensing correctly? Is this the way to go?” And trust the answers your soul receives – especially when the answers lead toward things that bring life and love and light.