Are You Developing Your Discernment Muscle?

Post by Laurel Emory on Jun 02, 2015

We’ve all been there. That moment when we are experiencing internal conflict. Something in us just doesn’t feel right. Our spirit is unsettled. The situation might be one that was self-created, or it could be something that we’ve been pulled into. Regardless of the circumstance, we are sure that things aren’t as they should be.

Our biggest ally in times like these is exercising discernment. Discernment is what allows us to get to the heart of the matter, to understand what lies below the surface of the situation and is causing the conflict.

Discernment is a muscle that can either be developed or allowed to get flabby. The best way to grow it is to learn to become someone who asks good questions. For internal conflict we develop discernment by asking ourselves good questions. Some general questions can be:

  • What is my desired outcome?

  • What am I being motivated by?

  • What are the factors contributing to the conflict?

  • What is the worst thing that can happen?

  • What might have to be sacrificed?

  • What might be gained?

  • What of my values or convictions come into play?

  • Why is this situation consuming so much attention and energy?

  • What assumptions am I making?

You can then ask yourself more contextually specific questions that will allow for even deeper digging. As we learn to confidently explore ourselves: our behaviors, feelings, desires, motivations, and fears, we learn to recognize the cause of internal conflict more quickly and more accurately. This ultimately equips us to work through the conflict before it balloons into something overwhelming and daunting.

What questions do you ask yourself to be able to discern the root of a conflict?


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Laurel Emory

Laurel Emory

Enthusiastic about critical thinking within organizational contexts, Laurel presents a unique paradigm as a coach with the ability to analyze systems and processes at both the institutional and personal levels.

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