I am not the greatest driver. I am easily flustered, particularly when I am in the unfortunate position of having to drive in an area unfamiliar to me. In those flustered and confused moments, I am comforted by one word spoken all too often by my GPS: recalculating. The word reassures me that no matter how far off-course I may have gotten from my desired destination, my trusty GPS is working to get me back on track. I know I’m going to get there eventually with the help of that handy little device—and by the grace of God, of course!
The word “recalculating” took on even more meaning for me when I was going through the Spiritual Exercises. An important part of the Exercises is discernment. St. Ignatius set out his rules for discernment in the hopes that a retreatant will integrate useful tools for discernment in all matters of life, in a way that will help the person follow God’s will. In my work, I am required to make decisions quickly and adjust courses of action based on information as it becomes available. I don’t have the luxury of taking the time to reflect very deeply on any given matter before I am expected to act decisively. The speed at which I make decisions at work has slowly encroached into my personal life, and I find myself, all too often, making decisions first, and then discerning after that fact. I struggle trying to find some way of incorporating Ignatius’s rules for discernment into this life I lead where I have become accustomed to making all of my decisions quickly. This is still a challenge for me.
So perhaps I am not the best at discerning, and that means that sometimes I find myself heading down a path that was likely not of God but of my own limited insight. I am heartened, however, by what our retreat director reminded us of during the Exercises: that God takes our decisions and makes the best of them. The way I see it, the Holy Spirit takes these ideas of mine and my imperfect decisions, and recalculates. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight” (Proverbs 3:5), but when you take that next wrong turn on your journey, rest assured that the Holy Spirit will recalculate and gently guide you back on course.