The Power to Discern

Throughout my life, I’ve had numerous people say, “You really need to practice discernment.”

When I hear them say such things, I feel frustrated because… well… I know myself well enough… if I “need” to be doing something that is for my benefit then I WILL be doing that something if – and that is a really big I-F – I know how to do it. If I don’t know how to do it or understand the concept – even if I have tricked myself into believing I do – well, then, there is no hope of me ever figuring it out on my own.

So… discernment is up again for me. It came up in a very tender session yesterday wherein I discovered that, yet again, I have placed my trust in the hands of someone who was not worthy to hold that trust. It is an ongoing pattern of mine to place my trust in those who eventually say/do something that results in my heart and self-belief to shatter in all different directions, leaving me weak and broken and oh so very sad. It confirms over and over my inability to discern when I trust someone and they turn out to be someone who violates that trust – especially when it is people of power like teachers, mentors and authority figures.

I looked up discernment on today:


discern pronunciation /dɪˈsɜrn, -ˈzɜrn/ Show Spelled[dih-surn, -zurn] Show IPA

–verb (used with object)


to perceive by the sight or some other sense or by the intellect; see, recognize, or apprehend: They discerned a sail on the horizon.

to distinguish mentally; recognize as distinct or different; discriminate: He is incapable of discerning right from wrong.
I’m good with the first one. I’ve got that down pat. However number 2? That is where I need to beef up on my training.
This morning as I showered, the word “discernment” continued to pound through me as though it was embedded in every droplet that shot out of the spout. I suddenly heard all the voices who had said that to me and the ones that rang out really clearly were recent conversations with my parents. Both of them in the last month or so have said that to me and snippets of the conversations came back at me.
I stared at the soap in my hand and felt angry enough that I could have crushed it. Because, if *I* need to learn discernment now, as an adult, because I have NO idea what it means or how to do it, then WHO should have taught me that skill? I think back to being raised in the Mormon church and I poked and prodded to find where I had been taught discernment within the church. I came up with nothing so I must have been absent every day that it was the topic for Sunday School. I can’t really imagine THAT being the case and I didn’t glean the information from my parents. And I didn’t spontaneously develop it for myself without any guidance.
So where does that leave me?
Right where I am… HERE… in a space where I am learning, from scratch, the power of discernment all while feeling scared that it isn’t something that can be learned, but rather, it’s an innate gift that I missed out on. And, right now, I feel angry.
I’ll let you know when that changes…

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