Someone asked me today if I have the gift of discernment. For a moment, I just sat there trying to figure out how I should answer that question.
I mean, it’s a resounding yes. But there’s a backstory to that answer.
Ten years ago, it would have been a resounding no, absolutely not. I’m good with empathy and the interpretation of texts and encouragement. Those are my “spiritual gifts.” I would’ve fought you if you had said I was gifted with discernment.
All of that is because someone once looked me in the eyes and said, “You clearly do not have the gift of discernment.” What they meant to say was, “I think you have been making bad decisions.”
Side note: you can still make poor choices even though you have the gift of what my friend and I like to call “the Christian voodoo,” AKA discernment.
The Christian voodoo doesn’t “work” in all scenarios. I’m not an empath from Star Trek who can sense other people’s vibes. I can’t call upon the gift to give guidance on demand like a magic 8 ball. I don’t see the future (most of the time), nor do I know the right course of action at all of life’s intersections.
Discernment is hard to describe, probably because I have never known life without it. Only in the last few years have I been able to understand discernment and use it constructively. I still know very little, but it’s probably a lot like this:
A gift for seeing things that can’t be seen.
Hearing the unspoken.
Being tuned in to context clues.
A sixth sense for the intangible.
In Star Trek: Discovery (bear with me, I’m a Trekkie), one of my favorite characters is Saru, a Kelpien, whose species can sense the coming of death. In Star Trek: The Next Generation, I love Counselor Troi, who is an empath (like a semi-telepath). In Voyager, I suspect Chakotay has the gift of discernment as well. I love these characters because they’re on the same frequency as others. They aren’t just concerned–they can actually see glimpses of other people exactly as they are. They are deliberate, yet emotional, beings. They know people, but they also make mistakes.
I’ve spent over a decade of my life trying to convince myself that this gift is not real, and if I had the gift, I’d be a better human being. I’d know the answers. I’d know what to do. I could help people.
I’m the first to admit that I spend entirely too much time listening to other people. At 29, I’m still trying to visualize that boundary of, “OK, you can’t and/or don’t know this about me.” When it comes to others gifted with discernment, it’s sometimes confusing to hear them speak truths about me when it’s muffled by a lot of other “truth.”
What I’ve realized is the real truth comes not from people insisting upon their version of the story, but from people who see an opportunity to open the blinds for you, so you can see what’s already there. They are the people who are willing to wade through all of the lies to help you find yourself.
This post isn’t really about the gift of discernment, because if I really talked about that, everyone would think it was hogwash. I’m not here to stir up people over something as inconsequential as my spiritual gifts. I suppose I’m writing because someone once told me I wasn’t something, that I couldn’t do something, that I was wrong about myself. Those words never left me.
Don’t stop listening to people just because they say destructive, hurtful things. Instead, set up your BS filter so you can flag that sewage before it starts polluting your drinking water.
And keep this in mind: you never know when something as small as a question can silence a decade’s worth of doubts.