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Discernment Advice - What NOT to Do


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For what it's worth, here's some advice from a priest who's experienced at this kind of thing. It might be somewhat helpful to someone. The web page has a series of questions and answers, but then there's a 20-minute video at the bottom of the page, too. 


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I love this guy.  He certainly tries his best to demystify the process of choosing a vocation.  There is no one right way for a person to move through life.  EVERY way has its own terrific lessons and opportunities to grow into finding grace and love in ALL that happens.  There are no mistakes, just different lessons that eventually end up in the same place.  In the end, no matter what life path we decide upon, we begin by first choosing to take a leap of faith into the unknown and trusting that God will support us along the way.  It’s the most anyone can hope for as they transition into adulthood.  

I’ve been married for 46 years and I can still remember walking down the aisle in my beautiful wedding gown, freaking out that I would soon be making a solemn vow to commit to one person for the REST OF MY LIFE and I was only 22!  How the heck was I supposed to know how I was going to feel about him when I was 50?!!  I remember the moment halfway down the aisle when I stopped my mind from frantically thinking about the unknown abyss of the future and surrendered and thought ‘Well, I guess I will just have to wait and see how it goes’ and put my faith in love.  

That’s the best anyone can do as we make a choice when there are no guarantees.  And that’s one of the major life lessons we all must learn—that we cannot protect ourselves from life by only choosing to move forward when we are ABSOLUTELY certain.  

Choosing to start a family?  What if I’m not good mother material?  Saying yes to a new job?  What if I fail miserably at it and have to find a new one?  Moving across country?  What if I hate the new locale?  Becoming a sister, nun, consecrated virgin, monk or priest?  What if I can’t hack communal life and the vows I must make?  

No matter WHAT the situation is, our choices are ultimately always predicated on gambling on the unknown, and sometimes it will work out and sometimes it won’t, and some days we’ll be happy with our decision and some days we won’t.  But—that doesn’t make our decision wrong or a fatal error.  We will still learn something valuable about ourselves that we can use as we move forward.  

The only thing we have to fear is feeling immobilized by fear itself.  And the worst that can happen if someone chooses to try a vocation in the midst of their doubts and uncertainty, is that they might find out it is not the right one for them. And that’s perfectly okay.  We each get our whole life to explore the depths and nuances of our heart as we make new choices.  The first necessary step, though, is that we take a leap of faith and just choose SOMETHING. Otherwise, we’ll just be stuck in one spot, spinning our wheels. What a monumental waste of time!

Be bold; take a chance and see where the game of life (and it IS all a game!) leads you!  Vocation or not, it will all be fine.  Good luck!



Edited by Swami Mommy
Deleted underlining that appeared on its own!
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I agree 100%. The way I say it is, "You don't really know what you're getting into until you're INTO it. And that applies to marriage, motherhood, the marines, a career, or anything else." You can ask a lot of questions beforehand, and you can develop some ideas about the topic-under-discussion, but your actual experience may vary. 

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