“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.”

John 14:27

Friday, 16 October 2020

John 14:27

We have been reflecting, over the past few days, on decision making.

When faced with a decision between two or more good things, we need to discern. By seeking to be in a place of poised freedom, open to whichever alternative, we come to sense God’s desire for us. Time in silence and prayer helps us to listen to our feelings and our reason. Perhaps consulting with someone who is outside the situation may help us to see things more clearly. Once we have come to a sense of what the decision should be, it is good to make that decision tentatively and to look for confirmation from God.

Sometimes confirmation comes from outside ourselves. The decision flows well and we can see that from the outset the fruits seem right, even if the decision is costly and demands much of us.

If over time, the feelings that surround the choice we have made are predominantly enlivening, and lead to an increase in faith, hope and love we have probably found a good way to proceed. If the feelings are predominantly stifling and negative and lead to a decrease in faith, hope and love, this indicates that this is probably not where we God is calling us to be. It is important to distinguish between different levels of feeling. Some feelings are like waves on the surface coming and going, and some, like currents in the sea, are more stable. We want to tune in to the deeper currents.

A key aspect of confirmation comes in the silence of personal reflection. The final and deciding confirmation is peace. This is differentiated from exhausted relief that a decision has been made. Every authentic choice we make deepens our genuine freedom and makes us more and more able to embrace our inner truth and deepen our relationship with God.

And even if we make the ‘wrong’ decision, if we have tried our best to discern, we can be sure that God “who in all things is always at work for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:25) will help us through.


Gracious God,

Help us to look always for your confirmation of our decisions, in the gift of your peace.

Amen.

 
Dr Annemarie Paulin-Campbell

Dr Annemarie Paulin-Campbell has worked in the area of Ignatian Spirituality for 19 years and heads up the work of the Jesuit Institute School of Spirituality. Her primary focus is the training and supervision of spiritual directors and the giving of retreats. She is also a registered Psychologist and her PhD focused on the interface between Christian Spirituality and Psychology. Annemarie is an editorial advisor to “The Way” journal of Spirituality and has authored a number of articles relating to the training of Spiritual Directors in an African context. She has contributed to several books, most recently co-authoring a book of Lenten Reflections: “Long Journey to the Resurrection”. She has contributed to international conferences and consultations in Spirituality in the United Kingdom; the United States; Rome; Spain, Ethiopia, Kenya and Zimbabwe.

a.paulin-campbell@jesuitinstitute.org.za @annemariepc_c
See more from Annemarie Paulin-Campbell
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