Driving home from work last week, I listened to an interview by Shankar Vedantam of National Public Radio called “Design Thinking Could Help Those Who Want To Get Unstuck.” A woman spoke of the ups and downs of many career transitions. Verdantam commented, “the pressure to discover her ideal life weighed heavily on her.” He shared about a man who had worked at Silicon Valley and, believing that design thinking might help those outside the tech world, began a university course called “designing your life.”
I was intrigued. I’m in the business of helping people discern their life choices. While all of us make important decisions that affect who we become, there seemed to be something missing in the concept of designing a life. Where does God fit in—a God who calls and guides us in the delicate dance of life, who inspires our actions and in whom we live and move and have our being? Isn’t the designing more than the choices we make about what we want to be and do?
I was reminded of something written by Sr. Kathleen Bryant, RSC, which distinguishes discernment from decision making: “Decision is the act of weighing the facts to see which choice is most reasonable, practical, convenient–a rational exercise. Discernment is the act of listening to my deepest self, to others, and to God to see where I am being called to give, to love, to become. Decision is something I go for! Discernment is something God moves me to go for! With decision, I choose now and go ahead. With discernment, I listen carefully and am moved forward. Decision is a choice about what I’ll DO. Discernment is a process about who I choose to BE.” I believe the best designs happen when the design team includes God.