Discernment, Choice, and Captain America

captain_america_3_civil_war_iron_man-2 | Flickr User tricks ware | Flickr Creative Commons
captain_america_3_civil_war_iron_man-2 | Flickr User tricks ware | Flickr Creative Commons

With the recent releases of Captain America: Civil War and  Batman Vs. Superman, I’ve found myself a bit torn. Both movies created advertising campaigns in which fans and audiences were encouraged to choose their team or choose their side. Try as hard as I can, I find myself stuck somewhere in the middle: how do I choose between goods?

Of course, the stakes between fictional superhero teams could not be lower, and yet I still find it hard to choose. As the academic year comes to a close I’ve had plenty of discussions people nearing points of transition and decision. The choices are hard, especially when they are between two good options. Unlike my superhero dilemma, these have much higher stakes.

If anyone is faced with a good vs a bad option—the answer would be obvious. If it seems that both options are good, though, what can help me make the choice?  When we are truly attempting to discern God’s will for us, then we are wrestling with the known unknown. We know God wants the best option for us, the one which will bring us peace and fulfillment. We know this and we trust it. And yet, we also are stuck with the unknown: what is God’s option for us? And what if we choose the wrong good?

Prayer helps—even if only to calm us down. Paying attention to personal movements—my desires, passions, interests, etc.—can often give clues to the right choice for me. Another help is imagination: taking some time to “play it out” as if it were a movie. What scenes would occur, what action, what conflict, what reward, what excitement? How do characters act and react? What brings an increase of faith, hope, and love?

Ultimately, it is important to be kind and gentle throughout any discernment process. It is important to remember that choosing between goods is difficult! The tension and stress that can arise are not signs that anything is wrong; it just acknowledges that we approach choices with a true desire to make the right decision.

Of course, this doesn’t help me with the choosing #TeamCap or #TeamIronMan, but perhaps ultimately it doesn’t matter which team I choose. Maybe it is enough simply to acknowledge that the choosing between goods is hard.

 

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Cover Image captain_america_3_civil_war_iron_man-2, by Flickr User tricks ware, via  Flickr Creative Commons, available here.

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