For several years I have longed to go to one of the workshops on spiritual discernment led by author Nancy L. Bieber. Finally, through her excellent book, Decision Making & Spiritual Discernment: The sacred art of finding your way, I was able to experience many of Bieber’s insights and practical exercises at home.
Bieber uses open and inclusive language that allows this book to be helpful to people of all faith traditions. When appropriate she provides examples from her experience living out her faith as a Quaker, a tradition that has many practices that cultivate patient listening.
The ground for this helpful book is a belief that if we are willing and attentive, we can receive wisdom to help us make better choices and choose the right path. With 25 years as a psychologist and 15 years as a spiritual director, Bieber is able to provide concrete examples of a variety of situations in which spiritual discernment was used effectively or was ignored.
A willingness to trust in God and to co-create our lives with God serves as a foundation for spiritual discernment. With clear and simple language, Bieber advises readers to let love, not fear, be the guide because “being guided by love enlarges our vision for decision making.”
Being attentive to our lives requires looking at our own life stories with tenderness and care, noticing our strengths and weaknesses, our passions and dreams. This self-awareness helps when it is time to make a decision, for we can sort out places where fear might emerge and prevent us from making a change.
Sometimes we receive an inward nudge, as if a voice is saying, “Do this.” These invitations to grow require our response, and in this book we have many tools to help us determine how to respond. Each chapter ends with a section of “practices for finding your way.” The suggestions are varied enough to meet the needs of diverse personalities and stages of life. A guide is included to help groups apply the book in a six-week study session.
I highly recommend Decision Making & Spiritual Discernment as a companion and guide to find the path to which God is calling you. After reading this volume through three times, I appreciate Nancy Bieber’s encouraging language, and I will be sharing this volume with many friends. You might wish to try one of her workshops at Pendle Hill, in southeastern PA.
Disclosure: I happily received a copy of this book from the publisher, Skylight Paths. No fee was received for this review.