Discrimination is one of the main reasons people seek a spiritual guide. You really want to hear God more clearly and experience the divine in deeper ways for guidance and growth.
Discernment is deliberate decision making in the light of God. We come to know this essential spiritual practice over and over again on our entire path with God. I have presented this practice several times in the past here and here about healthy spirituality.
One of the difficulties in making a distinction is the multiple choices we now have in our lives. Maybe we can choose between wrong versus right or hateful versus loved, but what about those gray areas with many choices in between? Most of our options are in the middle of the spectrum with a variety of advantages and disadvantages.
Good Better Best use in the foggy center
One technique I’ve used to identify my next correct step is to list the feasible and realistic decisions and then rate them: good, better, best. To be honest, the best choice isn’t always the right choice. And please note that this is not the only tool that can be used to make smart decisions. It’s just an additional way to hear God’s direction.
As I try – and sometimes it is very difficult – to put my options in order, I have the opportunity to examine all possible answers and identify exactly what I want / need when trying to do God’s will . My heart is unfolding more open to receiving God’s guidance. New ideas arise that I hadn’t thought of and others disappear. Often I see the difference between wanting and needing better and my ego just clings to one path instead of compromise.
I experience freedom in making such decisions. Knowing that the good guys are the bottom line, the ground level provides insight into what is actually happening in my heart. There are times when my next correct step is a good option due to the time, convenience, urgency, and perhaps the needs of others.
If I consider the option in the light of Better and Best, my excuses fall away. Sometimes the right choice was easy. I think about how my decision affects not only me but others around me as well. Better and best lead me to a broader, more compassionate view.
As I think back on decisions made on the last day or the past week, I can use well-better-best as a tool to evaluate my judgment and learn from my mistakes. Were there other options that I never considered or that would have been better / best, but in the rush to make a final decision, never thought about them? I am better prepared (or I hope I am) the next time I stand at this fork in the road.
I enjoyed reading a few years ago Lysa TerKerust’s book The Best Yes. Here are a few quotes of wisdom from her:
“If I trust myself, I’ll stare at all possible avenues in which I could fail. If I trust God I will stare at all possible ways he will use this, whether I fail or succeed. “
“Think of this opportunity as an amazingly attractive but fast moving river. There’s so much that looks hugely appealing about this river that you’ll be tempted to jump in right away. But once you are in the flow, you have reduced your ability to make decisions. This river is moving so fast that it will take you where it is going. And if you have not carefully figured out beforehand whether to go through and to the places where the river flows, you will be in trouble. “
“Whenever you say yes to something, there is less of you for something else. Make sure your yes is worth less. “
About 10 years ago I received a call from an influential friend asking me to work with him. It was an honor to be asked. I had the gifts and skills to offer and contribute to the job. The work presented a flexible schedule. All right, right?
I really struggled to say yes or no. I even spent a day in training to get more information about the work, to test my interest, and to see God’s will. What was the good / better / best decision?
One morning in my office I prayed “What am i doing sir? Do I take this job or not? “
I heard a low whisper back “What is your stomach telling you?”
I giggled. “To be honest, Lord, my gut says no. “
“Then that’s the decision.”
Well, I argued with God. Has anyone else doubted what you are hearing and had a lively debate with God?
After repeating for a few minutes why I should take the job – it suited me pretty well – I heard the Lord say: “Jeanie, no matter which way you go, I’ll be with you and bless your way. What is your best decision “
I knew then that I shouldn’t take the job. God was right – Duh! Immediately I felt the struggle and peace came to my heart.
A lesson in distinction.
Good – Better – Best – a simple tool that provides insight and aids our judgment in the many decisions we face in life.
What will help you differentiate? Do you share a time wrestling with a decision and what ultimately helps you?
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