Discernment in an age of distraction

How do you know when to walk away, and when to run?

I woke up this morning with that old Kenny Rogers song playing in my head—not the whole song, just these lines—

“You got to know when to hold em’, 

know when to fold em’

Know when to walk away, know when to run…”

I’ve been thinking about how we know the difference between walk-away seasons, and run-away seasons. And, is there a fail-safe way to discern the difference? We always want assurance, don’t we?—that we’re doing the right thing?

I’ve known for the last 2 weeks (at least) that I need to walk away from social media for a bit.

I’ve learned that it’s better to know when to walk away than it is to wait for God to compel you to run. This knowing started as an intuition, a gut-feeling, a spidey-sense if you prefer, but now that knowing has morphed into something more insistent.

It doesn’t always happen this way, but sometimes, I think God helps us discern those “when to walk away” moments from the run-away ones. Over the last couple of weeks, God has used various people and means repeatedly, to encourage me to do what I know I need to do. This has looked like different, unrelated people bringing up a specific scripture to me, prefacing it by saying something like, “while I was praying for you, this passage came to mind…” or, “as we’re talking, I keep thinking of this particular scripture…” and then, there’s that one dear friend, who unbeknownst to any of these other mentions, happens to send along a daily Lectio with the exact same passage that’s already been gifted to me multiple times that week.

Shooo, God is as persistent as He is faithful.

I don’t know how God speaks to you, but when something starts playing on-repeat for me, I know it’s time to pay attention. When that same message gets louder?—more frequent?—or shows up from some truly surprising source, like the back of a cereal box, well, then I know I need to really listen.

The other day a friend and I were talking about how even though things around us are starting to seem “normal”, we don’t feel “normal”—we don’t feel like our old, pre-pandemic selves. 

Are you feeling this too? 

It’s a bit disorienting—which is a word I keep using, because I cannot find a better way to describe the last 20 months. Whatever “normal” used to be, is dead and buried. We are in a new time. The old ways aren’t working for us, and maybe it’s been the best kind of backhanded gift, the way this pandemic opened our eyes to the ways that the “old ways” never really were working for us. 

Some of us are reeling from all kinds of revelations that have us still spinning from week to week. Some of us can’t remember what day it is on the regular. (Ahem… and it’s not just me, my oldest kid is having the same struggle, bless him. At least I know it’s not just my age!) Finding our way is a some times slow process best worked through in quiet spaces, free from the many voices and opinions of others.

Like you, I’m putting one foot in front of the other, doing my best to discern what Emily P. Freeman regularly refers to as, the next right thing, and most days, that discernment process is a full time job with crappy pay but some legit benefits.

But back to that Kenny Rogers song—based on the specific message that kept coming to me via friends and mentors, I know it’s time for me to walk away for a bit. Not from everything, just from the online spaces I frequent, and not forever, just for awhile.

I’ve learned that it’s better to know when to walk away than it is to wait for God to compel you to run. Anytime I’ve had to run away from something, it’s usually because I didn’t heed the encouragement to walk away when it was time. 

I keep saying, “walking away”, but what it feels like, is more of a “walking towards”. Maybe that’s what it always is when God says “walk”—maybe it’s an opening, rather than a closing. An invitation, rather than a dissmissal.

The reoccurrence of the particular message that’s been shared with me has my curiosity piqued. What is God up to?

Maybe I’m running after all.

I’m curious—how do you know when the Holy Spirit is calling to you? Feel free to reply to this email

 a few good things:

The summer issue of Cultivating is live, and you guys!!—clear your afternoon, find a quiet spot, a cold drink and settle in. Maybe start here. Or here.

Shawn Smucker’s brand new book (link) is about to release and I am literally stalking my mailbox everyday waiting for it. I’ll be giving away a copy so stay tuned for that in August. 

Tickets for Refine {the retreat} in March are LIVE. I would love (love, love!) for you to join us on retreat. I know it’s an investment, but I’m telling you, it is worth it. Here’s what one of the attendees said about her last experience at Refine: 

“Attending Refine {the retreat} unlocked a new understanding of my walk with Jesus in a way I had never experienced. Time & money we’ll spent.” 

🙌🏼😭 She’s not the only one who feels this way.

For a limited time, use the code “Subscriber” to save $100 off of the cost of your registration. 

Speaking of Refine, would you consider sharing about the retreat online? I’d be so grateful! Word-of-mouth is the primary way news about the retreat spreads. ((Thank you, friend!))🥰

In hope,

Kris Camealy

writer•speaker•encourager

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