Delight, Discernment, and Decision-making, Part One

With 2019 in full swing, this is the time of year when the rubber hits the road; the challenges and costs of goals and aspirations begin to come into clarity, and we’re left with a seemingly endless string of hard decisions. How do we know what to say yes to? How do we know which fork in the road will lead us deeper into a sense of purpose and passion in our life? This week, Dan Allender is launching a new series all about how the category of delight is an important frame in growing our discernment when facing challenging decisions.

Dan: “What is the north star I am attempting to follow as I’m making decisions? It’s very important to have a central category.”

Dan starts by highlighting the crucial differences between delight and the sense of necessity that so often frames most of our choices. Duty, obligation, and necessity are important motivators, but underlying them is a sense of debt—which constantly leaves us wondering if we will ever have enough to get by. And being led by the demands of debt opens us to the categories of pressure, boredom, and a loss of passion in life.

Dan: “We’re bound far more to necessity, duty, debt, demands, and expectations than we are to the will of God, to the purposes God may have for us. […] The more pressure we feel, I’m going to claim the more fear we are driven by.”

The provision of what it is that our body, our heart, our relationships most need is meant to bring us a sense of delight.

The more that fear and debt inform our decisions, the more we will lose the capacity for giving and holding delight—and the more we will find that feelings of boredom and malaise drive us deeper into Netflix, over-indulgence, and the ruts of routine. Instead, Dan challenges us to foster delight that is grounded in the rescue, provision, and presence of God.

Dan: “Every time we know rescue, it is because God delights in us, and it increases our sense of delight in him. […] Every time he provides, there is a new opportunity to be captured by the goodness of what we know in him.”

What are your stories of rescue? What were the moments of provision you never would have expected? What captures your heart to the point that you lose a sense of time and place? Reflecting on these questions may begin to draw us deeper and deeper into the realm of delight. And delight brings us face-to-face with all the noise and clutter in our lives that must be addressed with wisdom and courage—which is where Dan will continue this conversation next week.

Dan: “Delight is where we develop the wisdom to begin to know what it is we are meant to do, what we’re not meant to do, who we are meant to become. There’s something about delight that hones the clarity and, in many ways, softens—if not shuts down—the noise that keeps us from engagement in the world as we’re meant to move.”