Sometimes, the desire to move on is a natural response to the monotony of life and other times it is a case of the “grass is greener” fallacy.
In other circumstances, the Lord might be nudging a leader to move on to their next Kingdom assignment and to their amazement – find themselves in transition. Things might be going well or even extremely well, ministry is fun, and their team is thriving. Leaders in this situation might be asking hard questions about themselves and God.
Reflection and Discernment
The process of discerning God’s will is not formulaic, nor is it linear; it is more like spaghetti. Imagine twirling your fork in a pile of noodles, finding a few that land on your utensils and into your mouth. This illustrates how the discernment process works. Once a leader has a sense that she/he is in transition, they begin the journey of twirling their fork. Going through this process in collaboration with a coach can help a leader move intentionally and fruitfully through a transition period.
Primary to this process is to carefully reflect to discern how the Lord is directing leaders throughout a transition.
Here are some questions to help coach leaders who are approaching or in transition:
- What is your level of fulfillment doing what you are currently doing?
- Where are you finding joy?
- What is taking energy away from you?
- If you could be doing anything, what would that look like?
- How much of what you are currently doing lines-up with your passions?
- What are the people close to you saying about your energy level?
- If you knew you would not fail, what would you do, for the advancement of God’s Kingdom?
3 Strategies to Grow in Discernment
As coaches, it is imperative that you sharpen your ability to help your clients listen and discern the voice of the Holy Spirit when leaders you serve are in transition. Here are a couple of tools to help you sharpen your ability to listen and discern to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
1. Practice exercise
- Practice listening for the tugging of the Holy Spirit as you are coaching. When you get a hunch, sometimes you’ll want to ask the client about it.
- Don’t phrase it as, “God told me to tell you this,” but more like, “This might sound off the wall, but….Anything going on there?” Another helpful question is, “I’m wondering….How does that resonate with you?” This type of question gives the client the opportunity to respond freely and honestly. After all, you might be wrong.
- Challenge: Try following through on what you are hearing from the Holy Spirit. Speak what you discern and see what happens.
2. Spiritual direction
- Consider finding a person with expertise in spiritual direction and begin meeting with them to help you exercise your ability to discern the voice of the Holy Spirit.
- One of the most effective tools to hear and discern God’s voice is the Ignatian Exercises. The exercises are typically done in one of two formats – intensive 30-day retreat or over 9 months. A Key to this is the role of a “listener” who journeys alongside you throughout this process..
2. Explore spiritual rhythms and the daily offices
- Visit with a friend from the liturgical world. Ask them to share their journey that led them to engage in these practices, the challenges they face, and the fruit they experience.
- Read Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero to create a daily office that fits you and your schedule.
- Visit a monastery for a personal retreat. Engage in a silent retreat to practice listening to God. If possible, join the community for prayer throughout the day and night to experience the rhythms of life in a cloistered environment.
3. The Process and Practice of Discernment
Growing in the area of discernment is both a process and a practice; the more you practice listening for the Spirit’s voice and responding to it, even if you’re off at times, the more attuned to His voice you will become. And the more attuned to the Spirit you are, the better off your clients will be as you coach them trough seasons of transition. Invariably, the ability to discern will rub-off on those you coach and they too will become more able to hear Him in their lives.
What tools have you used to help leaders navigate transitions in their life and ministry?
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