Swing and A Miss: Chapter 5
Learn to Discern
Learn to Discern
“You should talk to them. Ask questions. Find out why they made the decisions they did, especially after everything you were told a few months ago.”
“I don’t think it will do any good. I honestly do not think I will receive an honest answer, and I am afraid of what will come out of my mouth.”
This conversation took place multiple times between my mom and me. I understood her point, but I never did think the conversation she was advising me to have would have the expected result. After observing and discussing the situation with a coworker who knew all the ins and outs, I chose to not have a sit down conversation. Was this the right choice? We will never know what would have resulted. But, for me, not having a pow wow (that I was afraid would turn into more of a pow pow pow) was the right choice.
There are so many times in life we must learn to discern. The dictionary states to discern means to distinguish or discriminate; to perceive by the sight or some other sense or by the intellect; see, recognize, or apprehend. Based on what had occurred, my discernment said a conversation would be perceived negatively. As I observed the situation, I believed my questions would have them to believe I was not a team player, didn’t know my place in the organization, or I was trying to cause problems. In the end, I did not think talking it out would go well.
Discernment can help us choose who to share our struggles with, and who to stay silent around. Being discerning can help us choose our actions carefully. But, being able to discern a situation means we must pay attention.
But, how do we increase our ability to discern a person or situation? First of all, we must consider the source. Gossip is not fact, and everything on the internet is not true. We know that, but we often fall into the trap of running away with what we are hearing. Those things you heard about another person? I wouldn’t believe them to be truth unless I saw or heard it from the actual person. While most people are not trying to be vindictive or cruel, it’s too easy to become caught up in the rumor mill. Whether in middle school, or decades removed from middle school, we are all just happy to not be the subject of the gossip. Right? But, we would do well to use discernment and not believe everything we hear.
Showing discernment can also mean getting a second opinion. A trusted friend, or family member, can help you sort through the information you have. Plus, they know you well and can identify where you may be going astray. A person who listens well can help us decipher our own responsibility, and point out something we may not have thought of on our own.
Personally, I also stick to a few questions to not only discern what is happening, but to focus my mind. What do you know to be true? What has already happened? Do the person’s actions align with their words? Have I done all I can, and what is right? What am I in control of in this situation? What is out of my control? These few questions help me determine what action I should take, if any.
When we are journeying through disappointment, discernment will prevent us from being overwhelmed. In my own situation, I knew I did the best I could. Yes, I said some things that were unnecessary at times, and shared my opinions when I should have stayed silent. I chose to trust in what I was being said, even though the actions taking place contradicted those words. Discernment allowed me to understand there is always more to the story, and maybe I did not know the full story. I was able to consider the circumstances objectively, which prevented me from making any decisions in the heat of the moment. In considering the sources of information I was receiving, asking my trusted advisors, and asking a few simple questions, I determined the best course of action was to pursue other opportunities.
While I have been walking through my own disappointment, and the end of what I thought was going to be an incredible adventure, discernment has allowed me to find contentment. How? I began by reminding myself of the good that came out of the situation, and my time within the organization. If I had not said yes to that opportunity, I would not have taken other steps necessary to say yes to future opportunities. Also, I would not be writing this book if everything had gone according to plan.
Secondly, I spent time in prayer and reading Scripture. More than anything, I wanted (and still want) to be where God wants me to be. I didn’t want to rush into any decision, and spending time in prayer helped me slow down. Time in prayer, and seeking godly counsel, helped me discern the best course of action. Friend, I cannot recommend having godly friends and mentors enough. They will help point out blind spots, and will speak honestly, and with God’s best for you in mind. They are invaluable in increasing our discernment.
Finally, I had to have faith that I was making the right choice. I chose to trust God to care for me, and to provide for me. While that doesn’t mean I am sitting on the couch doing nothing, it does prevent me from trying to force anything to happen. Because of my faith, I believe I was in the job I was for a specific season, and purpose. And I am confident the next opportunity will be exactly wat God wants for me.
While I believe I know where my next opportunity will take me, I am not waiting around twiddling my thumbs. There has been no official offer, and no contract has been signed. Therefore, I am continuing to explore opportunities. I am writing this book. Discernment has helped me acknowledge that disappointment does not mean I am a failure. I am learning from what happened. Will I manage to avoid disappointment completely from now on? No, I will not. Neither will you. But, learning to discern the situations we are in, will help us navigate our way through them without losing our sanity in the process.