Today I am thankful for discernment. Discernment is one of those terms that I remember hearing a lot when I was an adolescent and then as a teenager, and I must say that even now that I am an adult it still surfaces periodically. As a child I did not really understand the significance of the word. It was something that I simply associated with being a Christian, because those who used the term usually used it in a manner that referenced the Christian life.
Yet, as I have grown up and continued to mature I have come to realize that discernment, though it is very much an idea that is associated with the Christian life, is a concept that reaches into just about every aspect of everyday life.
The dictionary defines “discernment” by first defining the verb “discern,” which means “to perceive by the sight or some other sense or by the intellect; to see, recognize, or apprehend; to distinguish mentally; to recognize as distinct or different.”
Some people might simply equate discerning with evaluating, however, in my opinion there is a difference between the two. Evaluating generally requires thoughtful introspection and meaningful consideration of something or someone, whereas discerning requires a significant sense or heightened perception regarding something or someone.
In my own life I have noticed that there are certain times when I give heavy duty thought to something or someone and then I reach a conclusion regarding that thing or person. And sometimes I am fairly sure that my conclusions are correct, and other times I am merely hoping that they are correct. What I am doing in those moments is evaluating.
Whereas, on other occasions I am overcome with an almost overwhelming sense regarding a thing or a person, so much so that I generally have no doubt as to what needs to be done. What I am doing in those moments is discerning.
One thing that I have noticed is that my evaluation of things and people is often accurate, though not always. However, when I discern something it always seems to be on the mark, and acting on the conclusions reached in those moments has saved me countless moments of pain, disappointment, heartache, the wasting of my time, effort, energy, and then some. And for me, that makes my ability to discern priceless. #lovebythedrop