Friday

Discernment

I don't know if I'm a slow learner or if it takes all of us well into our adulthood to know and figure out our spiritual gifts.

I'm trying to prevent this in my children -- and verbalize what spiritual gifts I see in them. I'm not much of a visionary, so it's up to them to hear how God wants to use it in their lives, but I do think identifying your own gifts is the first step.

Partly because some vague gifts we don't realize that other people don't have.

So it is with my own gift of discernment.

That's one of the reasons that I started pondering us -- our beings, our souls, the part that makes us who we are -- as a house. I was trying to put words to my gift of discernment -- and why so few people appreciate it in me. :-)

As I stated, I think most people spend most of their relationships on their front porch. I'm learning that a few people don't ever go into their own homes at all -- too painful, perhaps, too disorderly... but they simply can't walk in there at all. Not even in the quiet of their own thoughts.

So there they are on the porch. I stroll by, seeing how our relationship is going.

This is where my discernment has gotten me in trouble more times than I care to think about.

'Fenster02' photo (c) 2009, Stefan Schmitz - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/Discernment allows me to see in your windows. Not necessarily all the way to your junk closet -- but I can tell if you have a junk closet or not, and if it's bulging at the hinges or if you clean it out periodically. I can peek into parts of your house you may already know but don't want to talk about... or you may have no idea because you don't want to know.

Being helpful, I think you should know:
"Um... your couch is on fire... would you like some help putting that out? I'll go with you to get water, call the fire department... I'll even help you pick out a new couch!"

"What??" you reply. "I don't have a couch! Don't be ridiculous! Hey, did you see the new flip flops I got? Did you hear about the awesome award my kid got? What about that new TV series? Aren't you watching it?"

"Uh... yeah... all those things are great. But, seriously. Your couch? Totally ablaze in there. Can I help you with that?"

And now I have crossed the line. Because people who don't go inside their own houses don't want to hear about what's going on in there. And they give me all kinds of reasons that I may THINK their couch may be on fire, but it actually isn't. And our relationship is quite icy from there on out.

Just as we have to teach children it's rude to look into other people's windows, so we must teach those with discernment to play the game and pretend not to see... until the person is ready to see. It's rude to look into other people's windows. Not everyone is ready for what is in there.

6 comments:

Joelle said...

Beautifully said! Oh and um... Is my couch on fire? ;). I can read emotional levels like seriously I feel them to the pit of me. I didn't realize everyone else couldn't until I was 30.
Joelle

Tammy said...

Love this! So true! Very well said!

anotherbattlewon said...

Sarah, your post made me laugh! I love the analogies you used...they paint such a clear picture of what is going on in our lives and the lives of others.
I think I'll work on my "your couch is on fire" communication skills more....and I'll do my best to have the needed fire extinguisher handy just in case they ask for my help. (While I admire their flip-flops and their amazing child, too.)
Honestly - makes me want to give this article to a couple of friends and ask them, "Do I have a couch on fire and I don't realize it?"
Donna
www.anotherbattlewon.blogspot.com

Butterbean said...

We can not change what we don't acknowledge and some people never acknowledge their couch is on fire. But how amazing to help those who do!

Roxanne Watts Langley said...

My own spiritual gift of love has gotten me into some predicaments as you well know. My all out, I'm gonna love you for all you're worth and THEN some approach has scared, intimidated, and isolated some people. I have dragged people kicking and screaming into my closet to show them how human I was when they REALLY didn't want to go there. So I, like you, have learned to temper it with other gifts that may not be on the top of my list--patience, long-suffering, and just plain waiting for them to signal when they need me to interject rather than when I decide they need me to interject. I don't think you are "playing a game" by not pointing out that their couch is on fire, if your first mention of it is met with denial or side-stepping--I think you are practicing an even GREATER level of discernment by using intuition to know it's too much too soon. Personally, I have three couches in my house--literally. Sometimes--figuratively they are ALL on fire simultaneously, each located in a different room. It's those times that I have to prioritize which blaze needs the most attention to avoid a conflagration and trust that God will keep the other two in check while helping me with the first.

stephanie said...

I like this: Sometimes--figuratively they are ALL on fire simultaneously, each located in a different room. It's those times that I have to prioritize which blaze needs the most attention to avoid a conflagration and trust that God will keep the other two in check while helping me with the first.

 
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