Not long ago I published an article entitled Vocational Discernment – 5 Secrets . Since then I’ve discussed more in-depth how to discover your personal mission, how to know God and yourself better through daily meditation, the need for virtue to know more and more of God’s will, and the power of balance for setting us free To follow God’s will. Today I want you to focus on freedom of heart .
Each virtue has its role in our spiritual journey. And for discernment, it’s freedom of heart. Without that, you are not free to embrace God’s Will, and if you are not free to embrace it, then God in His infinite Mercy is going to wait till you’re ready. Yes, sometimes it looks like he’s stretching you beyond what you’re ready for, but that’s only because you do not know how far you can really go till you get pushed beyond your comfort zone .
FOCUS ON GOD’S GLORY
My point is this: To discern more quickly and easily you have to get totally focused on the greater glory of God. If that’s your focus, anything is possible. St. Ignatius of Loyola, still “the man” when it comes to discernment, says that you can discern in two weeks if you pray and possess freedom of heart. Still to get there, you have to get rid of 3 very common obstacles. The first thing you want to do is to …
GO FOR PURITY
Obstacle # 1 : voluntary, disordered sexual urges. Now we all have involuntary sexual urges except symptoms the great saints, and that includes both married and unmarried people. Still, there is an abyss between experiencing these sensations “by accident” and seeking out sexual stimuli: Ogling girls (or guys), looking at images, consciously using your imagination. With all that going on in your head how are you ever fitted to hear God’s Will? Honestly you’ve got other priorities, you know?
Here’s 2 quick ways many have used to get free:
First, pray 3 Hail Mary’s every day for purity of mind, body, and heart. Quick. Easy. And Mary comes through big time.
Second, at a certain point I used a trick Doug Weiss teachers in his book Sex, Men, and God . He calls it the rubber band technique. All you do is start wearing a rubber band on your wrist. Any time you catch yourself giving in to sexual urges either by looking with your eyes or by fantasizing, you snap the rubber band. Ouch! Yeah, it stings a little, but it teaches your brain, “Hey, this is not good behavior.” This absolutely leads to ultimate pain, that’s right, hell … ”
FREE YOUR HEART
Obstacle # 2 : Romantic interests. I’m just going to come out and say it: If you’re dating, you’re not really discerning between marriage and consent. You are discerning marriage with that particular person. Let’s turn the tables for a moment. What would you tell your best friend to do if they wanted to discern their vocation but was dating someone? Would you tell them to keep up the relationship? Would not you ask them: How can your heart be free if you are spending tons of time, energy, and focus on building a romantic relationship?
If you want to discern quickly and painlessly, go on a dating fast. Take a break, a real break, not just a pret break. Give yourself 6 months, maybe even a year, 3 months is probably an absolute minimum. Remember the goal is interior freedom, not just some exterior action. Hey, Jesus promises: “Whoever leaves house and mother and wife, etc for my sake and the Gospel will receive 100 times more in this life and eternal life …” If you want a person that’s 100 times better than you have right now (And eternal life as a bonus) give up the relationship. At the very worst, God will find a way to bring you back together, ok?
Obstacle # 3 : Family issues. These basically come in 3 forms. 1) At least one parent tries to push you to live their dream for you life. 2) Your parents have a very bad example of marriage and you do not want anything to do with commitment in marriage or even even in any form. 3) Drama: fighting, illness, etc …
To avoid # 1, it’s best to keep quiet about your discernment until you really feel a pull one way or the other. Sometimes its necessary to ask parents for space on this issue, explaining that you want to be free.
As for # 2, let me ask you this: Is commitment the problem, or is it something else? You and I both know, its something else. So let’s stop blaming commitment and get to the truth. The truth is commitment is not the problem, more often than not, a lack of commitment is the real problem. The solution to the deepest desires of your heart is commitment, giving yourself completely. That’s what gives you the most joy.
When it comes to drama, the best thing would be to get out of the problem setting for at least occasional periods of discernment. If this is not realistic, you can use the problem frame, a series of questions that can help to get some clarity and some hope:
- What’s great about this? (“Nothing,” right? Well what could be great about this if you wanted to find something great?)
- What’s not perfect yet? (“Everything,” right? Well, what specifically is not perfect yet?)
- What am I willing to do to make things how I want / how God wants?
- What am I no longer willing to do to make things how I / God wants?
- How can I enjoy the process of making things how I / God wants?
Various forms of physical, verbal, and sexual abuse, as well as substance abuse, eating disorders, and other addictions and traumas can all be obstacles on the road to freedom. These issues require more than can be said in a brief article and often professional help with someone trained in Neurolinguistic programming, brief therapy, strategic therapy, provocative therapy, thought-field therapy, or strategic intervention is your best bet.
Freedom means saying: Whatever you want God. You want me consecrated, ok. You want me married, ok. And when you reach this balance like a set of scales after much teeter-tottering, then God will move your heart as he sees fit, and your way becomes clear as a bell … God bless. Live from your heart.
Source by Scott Kallal