Trail obscured by snow

“Curve Ahead” 2022 K. Rummer

What now?

7 helps for discerning God’s leading in a changing season

by Ken Rummer

Am I still on the right path? Am I spending time on what’s important? Is it steady as she goes, or time for a course correction?

These questions may sound familiar. If you find yourself in a changing season, where-is-God-leading-me questions may be showing up in your prayers and wonderings.

Maybe the trail that started off clearly marked is growing more indistinct and threatens to disappear altogether. Maybe the big project is finally done, and suddenly a scary emptiness looms. Maybe the way you last put your life together is showing signs of strain. 

What now?

My current questions about God’s leading arise from a recent change in my presbytery responsibilities. 

First serving as moderator of the search committee for a team of executives to be shared with two other presbyteries, and then working as the moderator for the commission charged with shepherding the shared vision and the shared staff and the shared budget—these were big jobs and lots of hours. 

But as the calendar turned, the leadership role rotated to a new moderator. I get to serve the final year of my term as a commission member. This is an important role, but one requiring much less time and energy. 

What am I to make of the lighter load? Should I see it as a catch-your-breath pause before returning to presbytery heavy lifting? Or could it be an invitation to step back and leave room, maybe for something else?

It feels like I’ve been galumphing through the forest with a canoe on my shoulders, colliding with tree after tree, only to suddenly emerge to the sight of a still lake and open sky.

How will God’s call shape my life in the coming year? I imagine that vintage oracle, the Magic 8-Ball, answering, “Reply hazy, try again.” Trying again suggests the need for discernment, a good church word for figuring out where God might be leading. 

Helps for Discernment

Here are seven discernment helps I’m deploying in my changing season. You’re welcome to borrow any and all, or draw from your own list.

  1. Am I melting the block of ice I’m sitting on, or is the ice freezing me solid?
  2. What am I talking about when the people around me see me light up?
  3. Are there gifts God has given me that are asking for more playing time?
  4. Are there things I am good at that are causing carpal tunnel from overuse?
  5. Is God shining a light on what could be my next step?
  6. Do I need to reallocate my attention and my time to honor the most important things?
  7. Am I picking up any holy nudges, whispers of the Spirit, visions of what could be?

Discernment underway, I’m not rushing to fill up my emptier calendar and inbox. Maybe one grace of this time is space to breathe, to decompress. Even to enjoy God, as the Westminster Shorter Catechism teaches (Question and Answer #1).

I think I’ll start there, and see what unfolds.

Ken Rummer writer

Ken Rummer, Teaching Elder PCUSA, Honorably Retired

Ken Rummer writes about life and faith from the middle of Iowa by the High Trestle Trail. Previous posts are available at