Every morning, Frank Laubach prayed, “God, what are you doing in the world today that I can help you with?” It was a prayer of discernment that included the realization that God does not want us to do everything. Discernment is the prayerful act of seeing where we are invited to be co-creators with God.
Martin Luther is reported to have said, “The greatest day in a Christian’s life is when we know what God wants us to do, and not do.” Thomas Kelly wrote in A Testament of Devotion that God does not ask us to die on every cross we see.
A study of the Christian tradition reveals that the saints were focused, not spread out all over the place—which only creates superficial spirituality—what Richard Foster has called “the curse of our age” (his opening sentence in Celebration of Discipline).
This creates misunderstanding on the part of those to whom we say, “No.” And it collides with our own egos that want to star in every play. But it is the way God calls us to live, and it is the fruit that discernment produces.
Like laser light, it is concentrated spirituality that has the greatest power.