BY EMILY GIANNELLI
Discernment… what is it? Personally, I have mainly heard the word used in a religious context. The word “discernment”often describes the process individuals use to decide if they are fit for married life or life as a priest, religious brother or sister. But, as I have learned more about discernment in that regard, I have come to realize how deeply important and useful it is in daily life.
Discernment can be defined as a way to think about and intentionally weigh the options of a choice in one’s life. It is something done by everyone every day, perhaps without conscious recognition. It begins with a decision, big or small. It involves weighing the options against the outcomes. To “discern” is to look at the whole picture and how something will fit not only in relation to all aspects of one person’s life, but the world around him or her as well. It is not just about planning the future and securing those plans. It is about actively, consciously and consistently paying attention to one’s surroundings and making decisions based on what is observed. It is not just based on facts and not just based on intuition, but a balance of the two.
As humans, we face hundreds of thousands of important decisions throughout our lives. As college students, a good amount of those decisions currently lie before us. I challenge you, though, not to become consumed with the idea of having to face those decisions. Make discernment a part of your everyday life. Discern the choices you make, the people you surround yourself with, the classes you enroll in, the jobs you pick, the service you do, the way you live your life. When discernment is used in daily life, those big decisions may seem less daunting, less arbitrary and less impossible.
Discernment is not just for those looking to make the “biggest decision” of their lives, but for everyone looking to live their lives intentionally and purposefully.
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