Discerning your charisms requires time of personal prayer, a focus of discernable action with a particular charism, and journaling your experiences. In this short email I would like to share with you the importance of journaling your experiences, especially when discerning your first and second charism.
When I first began discerning my charisms I struggled. The struggle wasn’t about the ‘understanding’ of the charisms or the process I was taught. The struggle came from actually realizing the sign’s that we look for when a charism is present. When I first began here is what I thought.
- The charism would make itself present very clearly.
- The effect would happen very clearly.
- And then the signs would be very easy to recognize.
Well that was just not the case. I began to be discouraged and unfocused about my charism discernment.
“Luckily, I went back to my notes and material and noticed what I was missing. Prayerful reflection and journaling. This realization changed everything for me.”
If you are finding yourself a little discouraged or not as focused on your charism discernment I would recommend taking a moment to hit reboot. After hitting the reboot button review your initial discernment plan and then commit yourself to at least five minutes of personal prayer with the Holy Spirit three times a week. In this time of prayer, acknowledge the fact charisms are a gift that the Holy Spirit has provided to you. Let the Holy Spirit know you have a desire to discover and be a channel of this gift for the mission of Christ. Then be attentive!
During the week be attentive to how the Holy Spirit may be working through you. Has there been any encounters with individuals or situations that may relate to the charism that you are discerning? Either at the beginning or end of your day, make sure you take some time to prayerfully reflect on your day experiences and encounters. You are looking to discover any possible encounters that may speak to the three signs of a charism. 1) Was the experience ‘joyful’, ‘prayerful’, ‘peaceful’ [fruits of the Holy Spirit] 2) Was there a ‘supernatural effect’ for the other person [sign of God’s grace] 3) Was there either ‘direct’ or ‘indirect’ feedback from an individual about the experience.
Over time journaling will help you to discover patterns with the charism and how the Holy Spirit is working in your life. It will help you to discover if the gift is either a charism being used for the good of the other, or a talent that is a benefit for your life and personal faith journey.
Your friend in Christ,