Discernment is . . .
Discernment is really a way of life. It is, however, not a vocation in and of itself!
As we grow closer to God, it is a good practice to learn how to discern what God is telling us and what He is not telling us at this time. God speaks to us in many ways and at different times, but some basic guidelines can be helpful.
First, as noted in this website, it is very important to have a daily prayer life.
Secondly, it is helpful to have a good spiritual director or mentor help one to grow and to discern what God is doing in one's life.
It is important to note that it's difficult for us to learn God's Will when we're afraid to go out and try things. Some seem to be afraid to date or to visit a convent or seminary, but those are ways that God speaks to us. We are called to actually take a step forward toward something, He many times will speak to our hearts in one way or another, and it is a beautiful thing to behold. It takes courage, trust and perseverance. God will never mislead us, and He is not trying to hide our vocations from us. He really has the ultimate Plan in mind for our happiness and the growth of the Kingdom through us. We each have a very short journey to make through this life to our ultimate home and we need to bring as many souls along with us as possible. This is the main purpose for being alive.
As John Paul II highlighted, ". . . man cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself."
(see Guadium et Spes #24 and the Theology of the Body)
Discernment should not become a burden. In other words, there should be a balance and priority given to relationship with God and neighbor. Some seem to spend a lifetime "discerning" and never find out what God is calling them to. Or discernment is not a peaceful and wonderful journey of life, it becomes a stressful decision-making experience. This is not good discernment and needs the assistance of others..
Good discernment is striving to learn God's Will through prayer, love, surrender, and good counsel.
Always remember, our first call is to holiness and intimacy with God. What a joy!
"God's very being is love.... God has revealed his innermost secret: God himself is an eternal exchange of love. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and he has destined us to share in that exchange." (Catechism of the Catholic Church #221)