Individual Discernment

From “What About Short-Term Mission” a guide for leaders and participate of short-term mission experiences From Mission to Mission

Individual Discernment

The discernment and selection process key to the short-term mission group. Inviting God to be part of choosing if you are right for this experience at this time is important, especially if what the group is truly about being an instrument of God s love. The following questions can be used to assist potential you with the discernment process.

Step 1- Self Reflection

  • What motivates (moves) me to want to do this?
  • Are there subconscious motivations?
  • What have done my life that feel the best about? Which of my qualities made it possible?
  • What makes me come alive and energizes me?
  • What are my strengths and talents? How have I shared them for the good of others?
  • What are my weaknesses?
  • Do I have the faith, commitment, maturity, willingness, health, experience or skills that are needed for this experience? Why do I feel this way?
  • What will be the greatest challenges for me? How can I deal with them?
  • How do I feel about offering myself, about being present to those who are poor or suffering in ways I’ve never experienced before?
  • What values and beliefs mean the most in my life?
  • Who will be affected by this choice?
  • Do I have the qualities and maturity to do this, with this group?
  • Is this time the best timing for me to do this?
  • Is this the best choice I can make?

 Step 2 – Connecting with God

  • Who is God for me?
  • How and when have I experienced God’s presence?
  • What has been the most surprising way God has spoken to me? Through what event? What experience? What person?
  • What, specifically, do I reveal about God to others? How have I known God’s power working in me and through me?
  • How do I practice my faith? (prayer, sacraments, worship, scripture, etc.)
  • In what ways will I connect with God in order to hear God’s message for me?
  • How and when have felt called by God in my life?
  • In what kind of matters have sought God’s guidance? How has the result surprised me, if it did?
  • Have I had the experience of thinking that was being led by God to do something and it turned out not to be so? What were the consequences? Looking back on it, what could/should have alerted me to this?
  • Have ever used “God’s will” as a cover for my own plans or ideas? Am doing so now? What led me to do it?

Step 3 – Making the Decision

  • Who are my “discernment partners” who will accompany me this discernment process?
  • In discernment it is important to be choosing between two or more possibilities. What are the possibilities that am considering at this time?
  • What have I done so far to discern whether this right for me?
  • What is attractive about this decision (pros)?
  • What unsettling (cons)?
  • What are my criteria for saying YES to this experience?
  • What my priority?
  • What have I heard about this program that makes me want to be part of it? What have heard that doesn’t feel right for me? What do need more information about or time to think about?
  • What have I learned from my past experience with discernment and decision-making?
  • How will put this learning into practice in this situation?
  • Is this the best time for this choice?
  • How would this be consistent with my life?
  • How would this be different than my life choices so far?

Step 4- Confirming the Decision

  • Do I experience peace in reflecting on this choice?
  • Is my heart at home in this possibility?
  • What does my body tell me about this choice?
  • How is this consistent with what believe and have done previously?
  • Does this fit with what I want to do with my life?
  • What do those who know me best say about this decision?
  • Do I truly believe that this what God wants for me?

Confirmation of our decisions continues as we proceed through each stage of the prepaporation process. With each presentation, conversation and prayer opportunity it is important to continue to ask, “Is this right for me?” After each encounter consider the following questions:

  • What did hear or what struck me that sticks with me?
  • What continues to resonate with me? Why?
  • What does not resonate with me? Why?
  • How is my heart feeling? Does it tell me something about me? Does it tell me something about this group?

There is a wonderful feeling that comes with believing that we are following God’s will. 

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