By: Aly Tugeoen, Director of Forum 2020
One of my favorite new-to-me quotes is from Saint (Pope) John Paul II. He said that “For people of faith, there is no such thing as coincidence; only instances of divine providence that we have not yet fully understood.”
While I love this, I am also hard-headed. God has a way of putting things and people in our lives that help us fulfill our mission here on earth, but we don’t always see it right away. Sometimes I need a hammer hitting me over the head in order for me to realize what is actually happening and how God is working through things in my life.
This is how some see the discernment process. They feel they need to be hit over the head with the hammer before considering the possibility of what God is putting before them. Others are able to feel a gentle nudge in prayer and run with it. No matter where you are on the spectrum, discernment does not have to be a fearful process.
Let me ask you a question. When you find out what your next duty station will be, do you just sit around and wait for the movers to show up? Of course not. We all start looking for people we know that have been stationed there previously, or we call someone we know currently there to start asking about housing, schools, the main post chapel, CWOC, and perhaps how to get your family enrolled in the EFMP program. We work proactively to collect information that will help us make the decisions that are part of a PCS move. The same can be said for discernment.
If you feel called to discern for an MCCW board position during Forum, or for a board position at your local CWOC, then here are a few things you can do to help you discern whether this is the right move for you and your family.
- Spend time in prayer. Consider daily prayer and/or a praying a novena with the special intention of discerning God’s will for you regarding the position you are thinking about.
- Visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Face to face time with Jesus is never a bad thing. Perhaps your chapel has a First Friday Exposition or a local parish has perpetual adoration that fits your schedule better. I once read that just as you can still get sunburned from the sun’s rays on a cloudy day, we never leave our time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament without being blessed with the rays of Jesus’s love and grace.
- Talk to your family. Tell them what you are thinking about and ask them to pray with and for you. Discuss the position you are discerning and why you feel God is calling you to be a part of the organization at this time in your life. Ask for their input.
- Get a copy of the position description. And on that note, ask questions! As an example, if you are discerning for the Director of Financial Stewardship, MCCW will be happy to provide a copy of the position description. It will give you an idea of what’s expected from the person that fills that position. And if you have questions, ASK THEM, PLEASE! Ask the person that currently holds it. She will give you an honest assessment. Ask anyone on the board or anyone that has held that position in the past. We are always happy to answer any questions that will make the discernment process more clear for you.
- Make a list of pros and cons. See how things shake out.
- Look for the fruits of the spirit, particularly love, joy and peace. The decision to discern for a position should not be wrought with doubt and anger or anxiousness, but with love and peace. If you are not at peace with the decision to discern, then perhaps the timing is not right.
Discernment does not have to be overwhelming. We do not walk into this process with our eyes closed, taking each step without a guide. Jesus is there in each step. Just because a person goes through discernment and decides not to pursue a position on the MCCW board or on a CWOC board does not mean that it was all a waste. You have done EXACTLY what the discernment process was designed to do.
And that makes God happy.