Discernment is one of those spiritual gifts that is often misunderstood and can be hard to explain. I think there are a lot of discerners out there who don’t realize they’re discerners. Growing up, I assumed everyone had these experiences like I did, and my experiences didn’t feel spiritual, so I didn’t even suspect this was a spiritual gift at play.
Here’s what discernment often looks like for me:
I know when someone’s lying. I don’t always know what they’re hiding, but I know they’re hiding something.
I’m a lot less likely to tell a lie myself, because I know other people might discern the way I do! 😆
I know when someone’s motivations aren’t good. I often know exactly what their motivations are, even when others don’t seem to notice.
I have a radar for jealousy.
Sometimes I have physical reactions like lightheadedness or a headache when I’m in an environment with something yucky in it. Seemingly out of nowhere, I can get dizzy while roaming the aisles of Target or TJ Maxx.
I sense when someone’s trying to control me, even a little bit, and I immediately want to push back against that spirit of control.
I can usually tell when someone doesn’t like me…which isn’t too fun to know.
I can often feel when someone’s struggling with lust. I generally feel uncomfortable around them.
Oftentimes, I notice what’s “missing” in the room, like joy, peace, or hope.
I can take on other people’s emotions that I wasn’t feeling before I was around them. They feel like my own, but they’re not.
Sometimes after I’ve spoken, people look at me with a freaked-out expression like I just read aloud from their diary, but I thought I was just stating a well-known fact. Oops!
I know when someone’s mad at me, even if I don’t know what they’re mad about.
I know when someone’s pretending to be fine but secretly isn’t. (That doesn’t always mean I’ll bring it up, though. Sometimes I don’t feel like it’s the right time or I’m not the right person to address it.)
An important note
Something worth noting: Dawna De Silva warns that discernment feels the same whether we’re discerning a spirit on someone or trying to come at them. God may be letting us discern the spirit so we can pray against it when it’s trying to attack someone else, and we need to be careful about assuming someone is steeped in sin. They might just be the enemy’s target, and they need our help in prayer! (I highly recommend checking out Dawna’s books and teachings on this subject of discernment.)
You might relate to some of these examples I’ve shared, and you also might experience discernment in different ways than I do! Hopefully this provides some clarity to those who don’t fully understand the gift of discernment…and maybe it confirms to you that you’re not crazy, after all! 😊 You’re just operating in this gift!
Hey! I'm Brianna and I'm a millennial. I'm also a reader, writer, God-lover, introvert, and recovering perfectionist. ☺️
I want to inspire millennials to retain their morality, hope, and faith as they transition into adulthood and full-fledged "adult."