I used to tell my students that discerning what God wants you to do next is a little like looking at a sod farm, where lush grass grows and is so well manicured that you can see each footprint clearly after a light rain or the perfect timing of an irrigation mist.
The grass glistens and waits for your first step.
Discernment is like that, but it is more than that. It is more than making a step on the perfect field of grass. It is like God forms your footprint in the grass, and you watch for it. You wait for it. You don’t pretend to know where it will appear.
But when it does appear…
…you pick up your foot, and you match it to that footprint EXACTLY.
It is more complicated than that. There are people standing at the edge of the field with you. Some think they know where the foot should go. Some are prodding. Some are pushing. Some are yelling.
You wait upon the Lord.
As Catholics, we are not alone in this discernment process. We know that we are called to establish a relationship with a spiritual director (a priest/confessor is best). We know that we are called to know the faith. We have the most intimate relationship with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. We lean on sacred Scripture and sacred Tradition.
And that footstep that appears, well, it will not go contrary to these things–even if it might be different from what everyone on the sidelines is trying to get you to do.
You were made for that next footstep.
And then, the next.
When it appears, turn the face of your soul toward God and wait for the nod. Yes, I formed that step for you. Go ahead.
And feel the peace in the midst of the cacophony of voices behind you, voices that will matter very little in that moment. You might not even be able to hear them at all. But in the midst of this peace, it is just noise.