My entire life I've struggled with my vocation. What God is calling me to do when I'm older. However He'll use me, as a potential sister, wife, mother, or single layperson. It's honestly consumed me... and honestly in not the healthiest way. I over think the slightest things, I cower in fear at what I don't want, I pray to be open but then find myself closing off.
I've confided in numerous people, I've prayed about it so many times... but it never seemed to make sense. The anxiety would build then ease, then build up until I cried out in frustration because I don't know what God wants me to do but I know what I want. And I am scared I will be selfish and choose me when I so desperately want to choose Him.
I reached out to a friend of mine a couple weeks ago, at first asking her how to balance life academically junior year. (we all know it's a hike of a year, amiright? :D) But then we got to talking about theological things. And she, and the beautiful soul she is, sat and read patiently my text upon text of all the things I was anxious about and afraid of- especially my vocation. (Couldn't call at the moment in case you were wondering).
I didn't realize how much the fear consumed me until writing it all out. (Look for a specific post on fear and how to overcome it coming soon!) But laying down all those struggles felt good. And wow, this beautiful friend took so much of her time and heart writing out beautiful responses and advice. And the advice I received on my vocation in particular shifted something real in my heart.
She told me she talked to a priest recently about her vocation, and they told her that discernment as a word gets a little misinterpreted. It's more about discerning the little things then the big things. And what she says next will stay with me for the rest of my life.
"Your vocation is actually a 'call to love'. No matter what vocation you're called to. It's always going to be how you can and will love most perfectly. So really, just focus on how you can best love. Not in the big picture. Just one step at a time. "
See, all my life I saw my vocation as one big choice. Like it was a big red button sitting somewhere in my future that I just had to press "Yes" to. And that's not quite untrue, but it's not the whole picture either.
If our vocation is a call to love, that means I can live it now. I don't have to wait until I am married or take vows to automatically start my call. I start NOW. I start preparing NOW. I start loving NOW.
The more perfectly I love, the more I lay down my life... the easier it will be to give myself over completely to God. The more happiness and peace I will feel. And then, one day, I will look up and see God standing in front of me with His call for me. It will be natural, a point in the road that was created for me when time began. It's a road I need to start, and I am CALLED to start, at this very moment.
Sure, I will have detours. I'll get off track, maybe even go backwards. But knowing that right now, all I have to do is love, and love well, gives my heart so much peace. Because it isn't so much about overthinking and evaluating every little thing my heart feels. It isn't about knowing every single detail of God's plan for my life right now (although that would be awesome... what's the fun in that?). It's about being satisfied in the moment, satisfied with only Him, and growing, learning, living and losing to love.
I will leave you with an explanation of that. (You thought I was going to leave you with no explanation to the title? HAH actually I just now realized I didn't explain that so jokes on me.)
I was reading the daily readings a couple days after texting my friend. And the Gospel that day was Matthew 16:24-28... a passage that's kind of hard for us to swallow. After all, it is called "Conditions for Discipleship".
"Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Matthew 16:24-26
Strangely, what hit me was the 'whoever loses his life for MY SAKE will find it." I was like... "okay that makes sense, whoever loses their life to God will find it..." and the pieces started clicking. Losing your life- dying to yourself, giving up everything for God. AND NOT ONLY THAT no no no
what made sense in my passionate, little, striving heart is that God is love. Above all, He is love.
So if God is love... if we lose our lives to love...we will find it.
*insert heart/mind blown-i-ness here* (or that's what happened to me anyways)
It was a kinda moment where the world seemed to stop for a second and my brain just did a big "AWW DUHH" moment! Everything made sense!
My goal in life is to completely lose myself TO and FOR love. To my Creator, the One who is Love itself and FOR Him.
If that happens, EVERYTHING falls into place. Because that is what we are made to do! If you believe God is love and He has been written on our hearts since the beginning of time, THEN EVERYTHING WE DO IS MEANT FOR LOVE. And 99.9% of the time, the things fall into place are NOT in the way I expected. At all. But the Beloved knows my heart more than I and I must trust. I must lose the battle I am fighting so He can win, in HIS plan HIS ways HIS timings.
And that's HARD man. As humans we will never fully, completely, and continuously trust and believe that. I WISH. Honestly, I beat myself up for it, one day I'm like "YEAH IM ALL FOR THIS I TOTALLY BELIEVE IN YOU GOD" and then the next my heart hurts and I'm wondering why and where to go next.
IT'S A ROAD. IT'S HARD. but fun fact- it's so so so dang worth it.
May our prayer be to lose ourselves to Love every day. That in everything we do, it is for Love and to love. How beautiful is that? That that is our mission!? Our mission is simply the most powerful, beautiful and impactful thing the human race has ever known.
And that is our vocation. From being a TBD to being married and a parent or to being a sweeeet single person or to being a priest. Always always always loving, and loving so hard.
May we live into our vocation every day. For as St. Therese of Lisuex so simply and elegantly put it:
"My vocation is to love."
(I'm going to end this out with a disclaimer that my grammar/sentence structure/everything is not top notch but I'm excited about this post and I kinda don't really care. The more honest and personal I get, the more my grammar goes down the drain haha. But this has been on my heart for a LOOONGGG time and I pray it impacts you as well. :) please feel free to email me with any questions/if you need anything at email@example.com )