After you have spent some time gathering information and monitoring the messages your feelings have been giving you, use a “pros and cons” list to lead you to greater clarity.
It may sound trivial, but this list is actually a very important last step in this stage of discernment. One of the greatest obstacles to certainty about your call is to keep going around and around in circles in your head. Spending time listing pros and cons can help you avoid that pitfall. This process puts the facts in front of you in black and white.
Tips on pros and cons
Write a simple declarative sentence: “I will become a ____ (fill in the name of the specific community you’re thinking of) sister.” Underneath, make two columns, “pros” and “cons.”
Look at the pros. Write all the reasons you can think of why this choice would be good for you. List the silly reasons as well as the serious ones. Then put the list away.
Follow the same process with the cons, listing the reasons why this choice is not good for you.
Be as honest and thorough as you can with each list, and put them away for a few days. Read your pros and cons over again reflectively. What do you notice? Are there patterns? Do you feel yourself drawn to one choice over the other? Continue to ask God to lead you and continue to notice the movements of your heart. God is in them.
After noticing where you seem drawn, again put the list aside and ask God to confirm your choice in some way. As you get even more clarity, it is time to move into action before getting mired down in “Should I? Could I? What if?” You can trust the wisdom you’ve come to so far, and you need to take action on that conviction.
God’s desire is that you live life fully, being true to yourself and using your gifts to bring life into the world. In John’s Gospel, Jesus says, “I have come that you may have life and have it to the full.” (John 15: 11) You will never find God’s will for you where you don’t experience energy and life.
God has invited you to choose life. God knows you thoroughly. Sensing where God is leading you to fullness of life.