Sunday, July 17, 2011


"Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil."  Luke 4:1-2.
Last summer, a committee I was on met to discern whether it was time to lay the committee down.  It was a hard decision.  We all cared a lot about the work we were doing, we had worked hard, and we had not achieved the results we hope for.

During our meeting, Chris H suggested three questions for our discernment:
  1. Is it good work?
  2. Is it mine?
  3. Is it now?
These questions were very helpful.  We all knew that it was good work, but for some of us, it was not our work, at least, not at that time.

These three questions have come up for me several times over the past few months, in conversations with others and in my own attempts at discernment.  

When deciding whether to do something, I can get stuck on the first question and say "yes" to some work because I know that it is good, without considering whether it is mine.  It is easy to get distracted by all the need I see and lose focus on what God is calling me to do.  And I know I can hold on to things for too long.  It is important for me to realize when it is time for others to take up work that was once mine or might be mine at some point, but isn't right now.

Discernment is hard.  Each time I enter a period of discernment, I feel like I am back in the wilderness.  But it is helpful for me to remember that I have been here before and to remember the lessons I have learned so far along the way.


  1. Wow, Ashley -- this is a really powerful post for me. I also struggle with focusing on the first question and giving short shrift to the second and third questions. Thanks for raising this! (P.S. I miss you in Seattle!)

  2. Thanks, Elizabeth! I miss you too.


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