Discernment requires openness and freedom–what Ignatius called “holy indifference.” Thankfully, discernment is typically between two good options; if one option were bad and one good, the choice would should be easy.
Almost ten years ago, S. Marian Cowan, who has since gone to God, directed a discernment retreat. She gave these questions to help toward interior freedom.
1.) Given my strong inclination toward one choice rather than the other, am I willing to accept the possibility that even the choice toward which I am less inclined might be the word of God for me/us at this moment?
2.) Have I consciously or unconsciously dismissed any of the possible choices?
3.) Do I fully intend to accept the outcome of this discernment, no matter what it is?
4.) Do I believe that the others involved in this discernment are really willing to be led by God, and are sincerely trying to be open to God’s Spirit?
5.) Am I indifferent to all except that to which God is calling me/us?
6.) Am I willing to name, own, and examine my thoughts and feelings in order to assess even the possibility of self-deception in discerning God’s word to me/us?
7.) Am I aware of my past lack of freedom and my ever-present need for conversion and purification?
8.) Am I aware of my fears and ready to move beyond them?
9.) Am I ready to counter, by intense prayer, any desire I might feel within myself that could impede or block the word of God?
10.) Can I accept the fact that God may not choose to speak in the most humanly efficient process for making decisions?
Take, Lord and receive,
all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, my entire will
all that I have and possess.
You have given it all to me.
Now I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and grace.
That is enough for me.
Blessings on your discernment.