Over the last week, the Ignatius Method of discernment has come up quite a bit in conversations. I taught it to a leadership group from the church last night, shared it with a former youth tonight, and should have shared it with my covenant group last week as we discussed conflict and prayerful decision making in the church.
So, either I am supposed to be discerning something in my own life and so I keep receiving divine nudges (earlier today I was inclined to say "goosed by the Holy Spirit"--that made me laugh!) OR I truly need to share this with as many others as possible because it is so helpful. So, ignorant of what I might be discerning for myself--though I did use it for a decision not to move to a house--I thought I would share. I recommend this for major decisions in life, in leadership, and hope it proves as useful for you as it has for me.
Step One: Listing
Note to user: you can either list "pros and cons" if the option is singular, OR you can do a comparative list if you are deciding between 2 (or 3) options. If you do the comparative list, you should list all pros and cons of each option on their respective sides:
no razor burn
Step Two: Numbering
Numbering should be done on a scale of 1-3. 3 being higher importance, 1 being lower importance--if you mix this up, it seriously screws up the math and the end result
3 smell nice
2 clean hair
1 shaved legs
3 save time
2 save water
3 no razor burn
Clearly in this instance, no shower wins out at first glance.
Step Three: Prayer & Listening for Confirmation
At this point you should take this issue to prayer and ask God for signs of confirmation (or disconfirmation as the case may be). During this time you should not share your decision with others, simply let God speak to you through actions, ideas, possibilities and the like.
Step Four: Sharing with a confidant
After a couple of weeks of listening, you should share your leanings and learnings with a trusted confidant. Ask him/her to share his/her thoughts and then to also pray for you and your decision.
Step Five: More prayer and listening
Return to prayer and listen for continued confirmation (or lack thereof) regarding your decision. Possibly share with a couple additional trusted friends/family.
Step Six: Move forward with your decision
Provided you have received the confirmations needed for assurance about your decision, at this point you could be ready to move forward with your decision. If not, return to step 1, be more discriminating in your numbering in step 2 and continue on in prayer and listening.
As you can tell, I apparently will not be showering until Easter as I listen for confirmations that "no shower" is the right decision for me! =)