When You Know, Deep in Your Know: Discernment

But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use, have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil;

Hebrews 5:14 KJV

Discernment is my gift. I know things. I was described as mannish or grown as a child; things that should not have been my business always seemed to be.

I Asked Questions. I Listened. I Heard.

Discernment is not easy, and I continue to grow into my gift. Just because you have information does not mean you appreciate its value, nor does it mean you are sufficiently brave, grounded, or confident to do what must be done.

Uncle Robert, now rejoicing with the ancestors, always talked about knowing, deep down in your know, as the place where God deposits truth. Some days you reach for it. Sometimes you run from it.

Let Me Tell You 2 Stories.

Late last year, aware that circumstances at work had reached the end of their usefulness, I took advantage of a buyout opportunity resulting from a merger. It was right for many reasons, mainly because the professional environment had become toxic, adversely impacting my physical, spiritual, and mental well-being. It was time to go. 2 things are memorable for me about this time:

a) it was at this period in my life that a friend asked me the question I rely upon to greet each day,

“What Do You Want?”

I have become sufficiently self-aware and comfortable with my discernment to trust that on any day; I am connected to my desires AND when I do not know what I want, I am clear about those things that no longer serve me. It represents significant growth and expansive freedom.

Just last week, nearly 10% of the remaining workforce at my former employer has been released due to a restructuring. I thank God for sufficient discernment to have exited at my own choice, of my own choosing, in a less volatile market. I pray the best of everything for those affected by those cuts.

b) Six weeks ago, I accepted a job, fully discerning that it was not right for me. It was, however, better than taking nothing in an uncertain employment market, and a challenge, I believed, to make a significant impact that I could bring them around to seeing things my way, and renegotiate a better position. Heed the less. Practice hope, but deal in reality. I knew taking this job was a bad idea. I saw the red flags.

NEVERTHELESS, Against the Knowing Deep in my Know, I Accepted it Anyway.

On my second day, I witnessed the evisceration of a gifted creative/teammate by decision-makers who neither understood what they needed, what they’d been presented, or, at a minimum, the value of the talented resource who’d provided the work.

Our team was clearly traumatized, so much so that our department head, made to deliver the feedback, begged us to trust him and not quit on the spot (I spent the rest of the afternoon sending out resumes). He, also invested, perhaps beyond his own better judgment, appreciated our capacity, and understood how difficult it was for us to receive the feedback. It was ugly. It was like watching the person in front of you being cut down by a firing line and knowing you’re next.

I Should Have Resigned the Following Day.

By the end of the following week, I’d bristled at inappropriate, racist, and vulgar banter taking place between HR and the company founder during a company-wide meeting.

I should have resigned immediately.

Lexico describes HUBRIS as

Excessive pride or self-confidence…In Greek tragedy) excessive pride toward or defiance of the gods, leading to nemesis.

If discernment is my prize, then hubris is my burden. So often, I think I know better. I routinely, in thought or in prayer, parse out things for God to handle from things I will manage on my own . . . I cannot be the only one. I am capable (a blessing). I am smart (a divine gift, surely). I am stubborn as hell, and despite discernment, I struggle with what I lovingly call my “capacity conundrum.”

In the past, I’ve justified my stubbornness like this . . .

When God blesses you with ability, there is a breaking point at which you should surrender, but usually don’t. It’s not hubris, or at least I think it isn’t. (It probably is). We just need to learn to lean on God. From the beginning. Not when we’re weary, or when we’re nearly out of gas. It always comes back to surrender.
I’ve been struggling with surrender of my own will to God’s for years, and that is at the root of my discernment. The answers are right in front of me, yet I refuse to concede
. . . and my stubbornness always kicks me in the a$$.
God does not play.
At 56, I have attained “full age,” but as we know, things of the Spirit are never as simple as they appear. There is knowing better and doing better. Acting of full age means seeing and heeding the signs, the first time. I am grateful for sufficient evolution that this time, I observed ALL called out the red flags as they were waved, and it only took two incidents for me to move from recognition to action/decision.
The final straw was my former employer imposing, in the time of COVID-19, upon my articulated comfort level with being in a small office 5 days a week. It was a point of contingency upon which I accepted the role. When they made it clear to me they were intent on re-negotiating based upon what they deemed an acceptable level of exposure for my family and I,

I Was Out.

Deep in my know, I was abundantly clear that the environment was not an ideal fit. But, in this economy, with limited opportunities and an obligation to help support my family, we should make compromises, right?

But What of Faith?

Had I exercised full faith and trust in God, I wouldn’t have been so quick to accept less than God’s Will for me,

but I hedged.

Once again, it took a hard lesson to remember that:
  • God is sovereign.
  • God don’t need my input, my opinion, or my assistance.
  • Discernment is real. Discount it at your own peril, and finally,
  • The Holy Spirit CAN speak encouragement in the words of author Benjamin Mee if necessary, saying,

“You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”

I don’t care how old you are, or not,
how mature you consider your Christian Walk (as the old Saints say) to be,
or how long you’ve been going to church,

Trust is Trust.

When you know deep down in your know, and yet fail to act on that knowledge, you fail and have lessons to learn. Hebrews 5:12-14 are lessons in spiritual maturity. Humble yourselves. You are never too old to learn.
Image Credit: jakob-owens from Unsplash.
Chelle Wilson
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