While you are walking around as if you've made one decision or the other, notice, What is the truest and most authentic expression of the Spirit in and through my life at this time? It is important to be able to recognize where this peace and consolation rests. Is the ego part of me at peace because I am choosing something that will keep the ego in control? Is the fearful part of me at peace because I am choosing a path that keeps me safe and secure? Or does this peace reside in the deepest, truest part of me—the part that has the capacity and willingness to be completely given over to God?
Do not let yourself get pushed to make a decision until you have had the opportunity to do this. The restraint that individuals learn to practice in their personal lives pays off when the pressure to rush things along becomes intense in the leadership setting.
Abandoning ourselves to God. Ultimately, discernment is about being completely given over to God in love and allowing that love to guide everything. It is about knowing God so intimately that we can tell what he wants just by turning our hearts toward him. It is about trusting God so much that all we want in this life is to abandon ourselves to the goodness of God's will. It is about valuing God's will so much that we will wait until we feel we have discerned God's will before taking action.
This presumes a great deal of experience with the dynamics of discernment—that we are allowing God to purify our desires, dismantle the false self and draw us into the kind of intimacy that puts us in touch with what is truest within. It presumes a willingness to submit to the most penetrating questions, testing all decisions to see if they square with our experience of being "at home" in God, where we are living in total surrender to that ultimate goodness we have come to know and trust. It requires absolute commitment to doing the will of God even before we know what it is. It is here that we prove ourselves faithful in the smaller things of our own lives so that God can entrust us with the "much" of leadership. This kind of leader is the only kind you want on the "bus" that everyone has decided to ride—the "bus" of pursuing the will of God together.
Taken from Pursuing God's Will Together: A Discernment Practice for Leadership Groups by Ruth Haley Barton. Copyright 2012 by Ruth Haley Barton. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, PO Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515. www.ivpress.com.