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Maepang

Anxiety Over What Vocation I Should Pursue

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Maepang    0
Maepang

This is more of asking for adivse for my anxiety or question about vocation. (Warning: this is going to be a long)

So I understand that God has plan for us and we might not even notice that He already lead us to the goal and that is my issue. 

I gained the understanding that I should be open to any vocation to what God wants us be it: Going into the Religious Life, Married Life, or Single Life. I am going to be into my 2nd year of college. I went to a conference and talked about just being open to God. It was a great and blessed conference. They ask men and women to come up if the thought of religious life came up. I went up becuase it crossed my mind that maybe I should become a nun now. Now I having the feeling that I should be a nun and the same time I feel like I shouldn't. And I get signs that I should and I shouldn't. I ask God for some answer. I have been reading many articles that say Yes to life and No to the life. I thought that I should calm my anxiety and clear mind about it. But being a nun raelly doesn't seem what His plan for me. I would ask Him give me peace from anxiety if it is and I still get the anxeity in my stomach that I shouldn't be a nun. I understand being a nun isn't a bad thing rather, it is a blessing. However, I have been crying, can't eat, can't focus, and have been praying over this anxiety in what vocation I should pursue. 

I do think that nun's wear nice outfits, it is honorable, blessing, I also understnad that I would be happy if I did pursue the nun life, and living my life for God but I get the feeling that I "should" more than I wanted to and it feels like it should be calling and not me calling. But I also don't want to deny God's purpose for me. And I also understanding that maybe the anxiety is telling me to go into the nun life. I just don't want to go into the wrong vocation and disappoint God. I want to honor God and live the best way I can for Him.  I just don't know. I need help to calm my anxiety. I am afriad to disappointment Him. 

Sorry, you had to read such a long rant about this, but I just need guidance about this. But thank you for taking the time to read this. It means alot. May God Bless us and Pls pray for those who are also scared/anxious about their vocation. 

Thank you so much. 

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chrysostom    831
chrysostom

A vocation to consecrated life is an invitation of love. There should be a peace about it. What do you want? To carry out the vocation of a particular order, or at least to follow the evangelical counsels? Or are you simply worried about disappointing God? 

Find a spiritual director if you can. If you are actually interested in particular communities, talk to them. It may be helpful to go on a retreat with a community if you can manage it - it may help to quell your anxiety whether you end up pursuing religious life or not.  There are plenty of people I know who gave religious life a try - even if only spending a little time on discernment retreats - and came away peaceful and confident that their vocation was marriage!

I don't have much experience myself though...

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vee    4,728
vee

Just by considering a religious vocation doesn't mean you visit a covnent and they lock you up there as soon as you say hello!!  It is usually a loooong process where you consider communities and they consider you too. Why not simply do some basic reading about the various main communities out there.  By that I mean Franciscans Benedictines Dominicans Carmelites both active and contemplative. No commitment just basic research and learning about that part of the church. I mean in case you haven't already  

also, here is an article I have found invaluably helpful over the years

http://lafayettecarmelites.org/god-calling/

 

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Sister Leticia    398
Sister Leticia

Hello Maepang and welcome!

I don't know you or your context, and so everything I am about to say comes with the strong caveat that all I know about you is that you're a practising Catholic, a 2nd year college student and you're experiencing a lot of anxiety.

Firstly, be aware that it's quite normal for sincere, committed young Catholics to consider religious life/diocesan priesthood at some point - and especially when they attend something like WYD or a youth event, where they hear stirring, inspiring talks and homilies, have a strong experience of Church and of prayer, and maybe get swept up by the spirit of fervour. These events CAN be the means God uses to get some people beginning to think about a call to religious life - but not necessarily. It might just be God inviting the person to a fuller, deeper life with him - and to greater generosity and openness.

(If every single person who considered religious life/priesthood in any year actually asked to enter, believe me, it would be wonderful, BUT... our novitiates and seminaries would be bursting at the seams! Even if every woman who came to one of our Come & See weekends asked to join us - we'd manage somehow, but it would be a tight squeeze!)

Also, as Chrysostom has said, a vocation to religious life is an invitation born of love. There can be initial fear, anxiety, unworthiness, thoughts of what has to be given up etc - but as St Ignatius says in his Rules of Discernment, God's action in a soul can only lead to peace and a kind of quiet, consoling joy. That's not what you're describing.

Again - a caveat about the next few paragraphs: I have never met you, and only know what you've written. A spiritual director - especially one who is trained in Ignatian discernment - could help you consider what I'm about to suggest is what is happening for you.

Ignatius tells us that the Enemy can be very clever. He cannot mimic God's effects (deeper peace, love etc), but he can put ideas in our heads which can seem good and holy and godly - but which are actually going to lead us away from God, as they lead us into turmoil and rob us of our peace. These ideas can be unrealistic ("I'm going to get up at 5.30 to pray for an hour every morning" or "I'm going to fast and do penance and not eat lunch every Friday...") and inevitably we will fail and then, if not careful, fall into despair and desolation, thinking we've displeased God. Or the idea might be that the God of Love somehow wants something good and heroic - yet scary and unpleasant from us. The idea that he might want us to "lay down our life" or sell everything or suchlike. The idea might not seem scary at first - it might feel glorious to think that God wants us to give up our job and become a volunteer missionary, but then the anxiety and unrest might slowly creep up on us, and increase as we discover we're not cut out for missionary life at all.

Are you getting the idea? It's like the parable of the wheat and the darnel: to begin with, the darnel looks just like good, proper wheat - it's only as it sprouts and grows that it becomes clear it is in fact a weed, masquerading as wheat.

So, what to do? I suggest several things.

First: Lay down your burden. STOP. THINKING. ABOUT. RELIGIOUS. LIFE. You're not saying no to God, or even upsetting him (God really is bigger than that), you're just putting the burden of the idea of religious life down. It might help you to go into a church and visualise yourself laying this package before the Blessed Sacrament, or at the feet of the Sacred Heart, or even Our Lady if you have a strong devotion to her. Ask them to look after this burden for you. Don't ask for anything else - God will know, better than you, what to do with it, whether to transform it and hand it back at some later date, or keep it from you because it was never for your in the first place. Leave the burden there.

Secondly, pray. Ask God daily to keep you close to his Heart and to give you the grace of openness to whatever he may ask of you. But don't start praying and fretting about whether this means religious life or marriage or what: for now, just focus on being open. It might help to have a short prayer ready to say whenever you feel the anxiety and turmoil coming back.

Find someone you can talk to, who is skilled and trained in discernment and accompaniment. Maybe one of the chaplains at your college - or they might be able to recommend someone. Or maybe there are Jesuits in your town, or sisters who offer accompaniment.

And finally, how well do you know sisters and their lives? If the answer is not at all well, and there are opportunities to spend time with sisters (for example, if there are sisters working on your campus), or to go on a retreat with other girls, then take them. As Vee says, just setting foot inside a convent doesn't automatically mean you're going to enter! Hopefully, though, you will find out a bit about what it is that makes you think our life is a blessing, and that there's a good deal beyond any "nice outfits" too. And if you truly have laid your burden down before God then hopefully, too, you will be able to  spend time with these sisters without feeling anxious and fearful, and worrying about whether God wants you to join them.

(Remember, too, that if God is calling you to be a sister this doesn't necessarily mean he's calling you to join the first community you meet. After all, if you thought you were called to marriage you wouldn't assume this meant marrying the first man you meet after leaving your house!)

Blessings on your journey with God and eventual discernment!

 

 

 

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shieldmaiden19    3
shieldmaiden19

Just remember that as long as you are striving to follow the will of God, you won't miss it. God wants you to know His will for your life, so you just have to trust that as long as you're looking, you'll find it when the time is right. Don't worry about it! I know from personal experience that this is much easier said than done, but I'm also certain that your vocation is not something you should worry about. You should look forward to growing in understanding of God's will for you with so much joy, because whatever it is it is going to be beautiful and give you the greatest possible fulfillment this side of Heaven! You are in my prayers! God bless you! 

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emmaberry    781
emmaberry

Hi OP, I will be praying for you. I am dealing with the same anxiety over my future and I will think of you unofficially as my sister in suffering as we carry this heaviness. 

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CatherineM    6,168
CatherineM

The best spouses are those who have considered a religious vocation at some point. It means they have chosen marriage rather than just fallen into it.  

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