Everyone of us comes to a place of needing to make a decision. Of needing to make a change in life, habits, job, friends, starting something new. This is part of life. We all have to decide what we need, or want, to do.

But, one of the challenges this brings is the emotional state of anxiety. We get worried. We obsess. We second guess our decision. The fallacy we have learned to live with is we have to make the decisions. This is partly true.

The other side of this is the concept of discernment.

The biggest difference between decision and discernment is decisions mean we have something to do. Discernment is more about who we will become.

From a Christian perspective, discernment is about seeking the presence of God and listening to what God has to say. This is something that takes a time. It takes patience. Why? Because God is shaping us to become who we are needed to be.

So much of our decision process, I have learned, is focused on doing something. But, what if we are missing something vitally important? What if we looked at who God is asking us, and leading us, to become with whatever decision we have to make?

Looking at this from this particular angle, I have learned decisions become (somewhat) easier if we look at who we could become should we go down a certain path.

This past summer, I spent time writing and wrestling through the prophet Elijah and Elisha in 1 Kings 17 – 2 Kings 2. Through this time period, I began a discernment process. In fact, I ended up writing a 40 day devotional that will be published soon.

The point?

I have learned, more, how God desires we seek him above all else. How we seek the face of God and let God speak. Spending intentional time, each day, with prayer and fasting and silence and solitude helps to calm our hearts and minds with the decision we have to make.

As we “discern,” we are learning who God is, who God is making us to be, what kind of “junk” we have in our lives we need to get rid of, etc. After we spend time wrestling with those concepts, we can begin to see a path opening up for where to go or what to do.

Discernment takes more patience. Decisions can be quicker, but we may not like who we become after we make a decision. Deciding and discerning really do go hand in hand.

My prayer for you is you are able to discern God and God’s leading to help make the best possible decision for the expansion and building up of the kingdom of Heaven.

What is it you need to decide?

Are you seeking God’s interests for you? Or is it mainly about your own life?

I am looking forward to the devotional coming out later this year. I pray it will help you discern and decide.

May God continue to bless your journey.

Published by Ryan Stratton

Ryan Stratton is a pastor in the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. He serves with his wife, Amanda, along with their children. He writes about life, faith, and leadership through his blog.

3 thoughts on “DECISION v. DISCERNMENT

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