I don’t know about you, but sometimes, I feel pulled in multiple directions at one time. Loved ones, colleagues, heck, even strangers, have opinions about what God is calling me to do. When it comes down to it, there is one place I trust more than anything when I am discerning God’s next right step for me. That place is my inner chapel.
My inner chapel is the sacred space within me where only God and I can go. It is a chapel that I can access at any time and any place. I can say whatever I want to say to God there and only God hears it. It is a space I can come to and find silence and stillness. Within me, this inner chapel often holds the voice of God who speaks within the silence of our hearts sometimes through feelings, sometimes through gentle words, and sometimes through a knowing that resonates through our bones. Guess what? Each of us has an inner chapel within us where only you and God reside!
When I’m in a moment of discerning, I know that my best discerned choices happen when I visit this inner chapel often, ask God my questions, and listen for God’s voice and direction within me. I wish I could say I discern well every time, but like most of us, I miss the boat every now and then. Much of the last fifteen years of my own faith journey, I have focused on tuning my ear to God’s voice. This is the same focus of hundreds of conversations with people in spiritual direction also.
In some sense, much of our spiritual lives are spent learning to still ourselves, learning to listen and learning to discern what God is calling us to in the here and now.
It starts here:
People ask me all the time, “How do I know if I’m hearing God’s voice or not?” While I don’t have the answer to this million-dollar question, I can tell you this: one way to recognize God’s voice is to spend time in your inner chapel. If you are looking for a prayer method to bring to this inner chapel, I suggest praying with Scripture. Scripture is truly the word of God and voice of God. If we want to tune our ear to God’s voice, why not start with what we know to be the word of God?
Think about it this way. In a room of children, I distinctly know when one of my own children is calling out, “Mom!” or when it’s another child. Why? Because I’ve spent hours and hours and hours listening to my children’s voices. My ear is finely attuned to what their voices sound like. I can also typically discern which of my children is calling me. I do not think about this anymore; it’s just something that naturally happens in motherhood—training our ear to our children’s voices.
In the same way, as we continue to meditate on God’s word, we become more and more attuned to what God’s voice sounds like to us, how God speaks to us, and what ways God uses to illuminate our path.
Two simple Actions This Week:
- Spend time each day going to your inner chapel and praying with the daily Gospel. Check out this video on Lectio Divina: Praying with Scripture as a guide.
- Notice where you feel like you may be hearing God’s voice but you aren’t sure.
Next week, we will look at some tools that can help us not only discern if its God’s voice, but also tools to help us respond.
- Check out other posts on discernment
- Read one of my favorite books on discernment, God’s Voice Within: The Ignatian Way to Discover God’s Will by Mark Thibodeaux, SJ.
- Check out these resources on discernment at Ignatian Spirituality’s home page
- Andy Otto at God in All Things also curated a great list of discernment resources here
Cultivating Space for God Together:
- A huge thank you to the St. Thomas More Mom’s Ministry for inviting me to be part of their Friday night closing book discussion on Busy Lives & Restless Souls! It was a beautiful evening of deep conversation and thought-provoking questions.
- July 25th: Our Lady of Mercy’s Small Group discussion on Busy Lives & Restless Souls
- July 29th: SJA Alumnae Retreat. If you are an SJA alum, you can register here!
- August 24th-27th: Rosaryville’s Ignatian Preached Retreat: “Everything is Holy Now”. You can register on Rosaryville’s website!