Conflicted. Impatient. I know I need patience, but I feel a bit confused

Sorry if the below is disjointed. it’s very much “Train of thought”, and unedited. but maybe some of you can offer constructive comments.

I’m conflicted.
I’m a Married Man, I have 2 young children. I hope and pray that the Lord will send us more in the future.
I have a good, secure, well paying Job, for which I spent 5 years training at university. I have 10 years experience in the job.
Our Lord taught us in his silent years about the dignity of simple ordinary work. Many of our Saints have taught us again about the importance of this. I’ve tried, but I can’t find satisfaction here! Ever since I was a teenager I have felt called to something else. I have wanted to work full time doing the Lords Work. I want to be a full time evangelist. I have always wanted this.

I now have an opportunity that in around 2-3 years I can be debt free. I just need to stay the course and keep disciplined.That gives me a window of opportunity. Since the day I started University I have been in debt. I have not had the option to leave everything and do voluntary work or in other ways devote myself to evangelisation or charitable work as I have seen others do.

On one level I feel very strongly called. I am exploring the possibility of a call to the Diaconate. That needs to wait for several things:

  1. Our Last bishop in this diocese did not ordain men with dependant children (exceptions were made for men who’s youngest were in High School when they started training). We now don’t have a bishop who can change that rule and need to wait for a replacement
  2. The most typical rule in England is that a man’s youngest children should have started school before the application and formal discernment process starts.This makes sense
  3. being debt free in 3 years corresponds to the time when my current youngest child will start school

A Deacon is a man who brings the Good News to the Poor. He is a preacher of the Gospel. a servant to the Church, a servant to those in need. I have no doubt that whether as an ordained minister, or as a Lay-Man that this is my calling… but I don’t know how to express it right now.

So: I can wait. I can bide my time. I am involved in Parish Life. I am involved in a community called Couples for Christ. I am working on my spiritual formation. I am seeking the Lord.

But I feel so strongly that my current job is not the Lord’s plan for me. I feel so strongly that I should be doing something very different. I want to be working with people; telling more people about the Gospel.

This feeling won’t go away.
as a teenager my Mum used to placate me and tell me I need to “Bloom where I’m planted”
The feeling faded in the years I wandered and shoved my faith to the back of my mind. but as I returned to The Lord, so did this desire. And it just keeps getting stronger.

I just don’t want my current job any more. I want to be doing something very different… but I have to pay my debts and support my family. I can’t just run off and join a missionary organisation. My first Vocation is to be a Husband and a Dad. To be the Best Husband and Dad I can be.
But I still cant put aside the feeling that this desk, this job is not my calling. There is something very different the Lord has for me: Now, or at least Soon.
I don’t know where to look for it.

This is the Catholic Church. our Lay missionaries, our lay ministers are not a well paid career option. I’m not good at doing Poverty, and dont know if I can impose that on my wife.

But this calling won’t go away. I’m looking for options. I’m looking, I’m praying. Where Lord? where do you want me to go. Lead me I will follow.

I want the time to Study your Word, and Your Will. I want the time and opportunities to tell others. to Teach others. To rebuild Your Church.

Can I leave this Job behind? Leave the long hours behind? Leave the cushy wages behind? Bring my family to live in poverty and simplicity? Find a job that serves others that spreads the Good News?
Where am I going… How can I find the right path?


Practical options:
This Job is one where I could realistically ask to work “Condensed Hours”. and do a 37.5 hour working week in 4 days, leaving one extra day to devote to other tasks… some ministry, or study or something else…
That could be permanent. It could be a transition.

Pipe-dreams
Ireland developed Spirit Radio. The USA has the EWTN network. other Christian groups have radio stations in the uk.
Where is “Our Lady of Walsingham Radio”. A Catholic led radio station which draws inspiration from the EWTN talk radio, but also from the mass appeal of Spirit Radio: “Ireland’s Positive Sound”
A radio station which is Catholic Led, but lends air time to eccumenical understanding and offers a voice to the Orthodox church, the Anglican Church and to others. That focuses on Evangelisation, on apologetics and on true eccuminism. working together where we can and defending the Truth without compromise.
Could working with a team to set up such a project be a possible career path?

Catholic Answers have a number of professional apologists, these are vibrant speakers who travel the world and provide teaching ans speeches at various events. They get paid professional fees.
One of my mentors, Fr. Kelly, is a Catholic Priest who does something similar: albeit without the “professional fees”, giving retreats up and down the UK.

I have an opportunity to start this type of thing on a voluntary basis in the CFC. They need speakers, I am eloquent and can research the topics carefully. I have a Love for The Truth, and am seeking it more and more.
Could this be a model for part of a future ministry?
_
Bloom where I’m planted. Right now I am in a formation programme in the CFC. I have a lay ministry being developed there… but the desire is still there: More More theres something more. there’s something I’ve missed. there’s something bigger. This desk is not my calling.

Dear anruari,

You said your self that your first mission is to take care of your wife and your children. What is best for them, what will help them grow holier?

You need to make sure that no one is starving, but poverty is not a gloomy thing if you do it right. Is your wife working? Could you move? Could you use your current skills from University in a different way?

This is probably something you need to figure out for your self, but if you find free time - use it for your family! Studies or mission work is great, but at least make sure you do it together. An absent husband/father is not holy no matter how much he reads his Bible… So many children or protestant pastors can witness about that!

Just some thoughts and questions from me. Good luck in your discernment process! Thank God for choosing you!

Ave Maria.

Yours,
Nils

The diaconate program takes 4-5 years anyway, and most deacons are not in the full time employ of the diocese. So you will need to have a secular job. Once you are debt free, you will be able to get a lower-paying job, such as teaching in a Catholic school or as a parish DRE or some such similar job. But I think it would be prudent, and would make you a better candidate for the diaconate, to be financially independent to the point where you don’t have to choose between doing the Lord’s work and continuing to provide for your family. (This is the major advantage of clerical celibacy, btw - married clergy have a divided heart and divided attention.)

I will pray for your discernment.

I suppose my current situation is that I have my eye on a long term goal and discernment process, which will hopefully involve me applying to a diaconate programme in 3 - 10 years from now. (followed by 4 -5 years formation)
.That does not deal with the fact that I strongly feel that my current job is not the best way to provide for my family, or to express the gifts the Lord has given me.

As you pointed out Nils, an absent father is not a good thing… my current Job can often result in me working up to 70 hour weeks, which leaves me with no time to spend with my family, or for private or family devotions.

As such I “know” that there’s something better out there for me. If by waiting till my debts are paid off in around 3 years I can take a lower paying job then all the better.

The Idea of using my degree in a different way does attract me… but I’m not sure how… in this country the requirements to become a Teacher are tough… you must get accepted onto an accredited teacher trainining programme, and while I have 10 years work experience, my field is far more narrow than would be accepted for teaching HIgh school Science, Maths or Engineering.
Also you need a minimum of a 2:1 to get onto those courses (I have a 3rd), and lots of voluntary experience in classroom environments…
Then there’s the fact that teachers in this country earn far less than my current income… (starting salary around 2/5 of my current package value, and only rising to around 3/5 without further promotions)

I have considered this option, but I just don’t see how to make it work. The training course is typically 2 years in duration, and most have fees. There’s one course that’s 1 year with a living allowance paid… but it’s got a bad reputation in my area and a friend got badly burned by that course.

I’m also fully aware of the fact that Deacons are not entitled to pay nor to automatically get employment from the Church simply because they are Deacons. Most… almost all Deacons have some form of paying Job, which may or may not be an expression of their ministry. It is very common to have entirely secular jobs or professions.

My first boss in the accounting profession went all the way through the diaconate process while I was working for him. He is still a practicing CPA.

It may be that your current job is not your calling, but being a husband and father is your calling. Your job is just… what you do as a part of your overall calling.

When I first returned to the Church, I wanted to do a lot!!! I wrote down a schedule which included all the decades of the Rosary, Liturgy of the Hours, spiritual reading, etc.

The only problem was I had two small children. I could not do both.

Sometimes the enemy puts thoughts into our minds. They seem like good thoughts, but they are actually tricks to get our minds off what they are supposed to be on. I wanted the prayer life of a contemplative nun when I was a married woman with children. This drew my attention away from my state of life.

You already supposed to be evangelizing: to your wife and children. I would think long and hard about moving away from that at this time, because God may give your family more children, but discussing your options with the vocations director of your diocese now may assuage your yearnings as well as give you a practical plan for making the change in the future. For example, he may tell you about some practical difficulties men have run into and then you would be able to set yourself up to avoid them.

Additionally, it is cery important to consider what your wife thinks about all this–not to tell us but to keep that in your mind.

Being away from your family 70 hours per week is nobodies calling… “Quality time” can never replace real time. What will you do with all your money?

I was once going to become a lawyer. One of the things that made me change my mind was actually when people told me how much you are expected to work. I am not scared of the work in itself, but I do not think it is right towards your family (I wanted to get married).

You have been given some good advice here. Talk to your wife, your confessor etc. Some solution will come up if you are open to it. God is full of surprises…

I truly wish you all the best!

Nils
My Money? - Oh I don’t get paid for the overtime!!! In theory I’m supposed to be able to claim it back as time in Lieu. but that rarely is able to happen.

After paying the mortgage, the bills, the debts and the household groceries etc there’s typically nothing left. Hopefully I’ll have the debts cleared in the next 3 years. that will make life a lot easier. I just don’t understand how families on lower incomes make ends meet.

At least in part, it’s the hours and being away from my family that is increasing my desire to change careers.
My job is very like that of a solicitor. I provide specialist advice on a consultancy basis in the same way a solicitor does, but I’m an expert in acoustics not law.

Changing jobs sounds like a good idea, for sure, but don’t fill up the free 30 hours/week with stuff outside your family :slight_smile: Use that time to reconnect more fully with your wife and children and become more integrated in your family.

Sometimes families have to stop and reassess how things are going. I have known people here in the US who moved to less-expensive houses or at least re-arranged their mortgages to reduce the size of the payment… sold their newer cars, paid off the debt and bought older cars (this works mostly because they then do not have to pay insurance for the car itself, which is call comprehensive here).

Mostly I am concerned for you because when I have thought about all the stuff outside the family, no matter how good it was, it took my attention away from where it needed to be.

(Continuing my previous thread instead of starting a new one: Blog Train of thought posting.)
Pain!
Not physical. – it’s co-located: partly in my chest and partly in my head.
It’s been building over several weeks. I’m feeling like my mind is not my own. I have returned to the state where I have an irrational hatred for the job I do I just don’t want to be sat at this desk any more. This isn’t some mild wish for a new employer – it’s a state where it’s taking a major act of will to not go right now to a director and hand in the keys to the office and my car and walk the 15 miles home.

I don’t do this for the very simple reason that I could only get a similar job and that would leave me in exactly the same situation. I want a totally different job…. But I don’t know how to change. With a wife, a mortgage, and 2 babies to look after I need my income.

Trapped! Not the family – but the career choices… but I cant blame that either…. It’s something I chose even if it wasn’t my 1st preference. And if I hadn’t I would not have that wife and those children at home waiting for me…. But what can I do now?
The tears are welling up inside. The tight feeling in my chest makes me feel short of breath. The pain in my head is getting close to and tipping into the physical realm. I want to hide I want to hide I want to HIDE!!!

Tomorrow is the feast of St. Joseph the worker. For the past several years I have been pointed to His example. Shown the virtue and dignity of simple work and hard labour…. But it’s never what I felt called to do. And my current Job leaves me with far too little time and not even close to enough energy left for my family or for doing The Lords work outside my home.

I know 2 things:

  1. todays mental state is not one where I should make any decisions. I need to pray. I need to wait.
  2. This feeling, this desire to be doing something very different is not transient. As a 18 year old I followed several peoples advice to follow one carreer path (engineering) when what I really wanted to do was to train to enter some ministry. I was planning to studying theology and training initially to be a high school teacher with RE and one other subject: probably English.

Calling:
“Go therefore and make Disciples of all nations.”
“You are a priest forever, a priest in the order of Melkisidech of Old”
“Samuel, Samuel”… “Speak Lord, Your servant is listening!”
“Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him”
But I have Children and a Wife. Given to me by God. They are not to be discarded like fishing nets, nor to emancipate myself from like a parent. They are my first and primary Vocation. I have sworn before God to Love, Honour and Serve, till Death do us part. The “Serve” has to include “provide for”.

Discernment:
One universal feature: the more I pray the stronger these feelings become: The more I feel that The Lord has a very different plan for me than my current job.
But sometimes these feelings become very upsetting… like today… but that’s a separate issue from the true nature of any calling.
Particularly when these thoughts become upsetting they do not lead me closer to the Lord. On the contrary, at times they lead me to repeat certain habitual sins… like not doing the work I’m supposed to do, but to procrastinate and divert onto other things. This upset feeling no matter how desperate it feels does NOT come from my Father.

Thoughts:
There is testimony from a small number of people, like some of the professional apologists with Catholic Answers, who literally did what I desire to do… Quit their Jobs and waited for the next opportunity to be presented to them. Others I have known have also been full time Lay ministers…. But how do I bring myself there
Possibilities:
• Lay speaker for schools, parish missions retreats etc.
• Campaign for and seek funding for “Our Lady of Walsingham Radio” a UK radio station drawing inspiration from EWTN and Spirit Radio. (Very inspired here but don’t know where to start.)
• Re-Train to be a teacher.
• Work for some Charity.
The vision of “Our Lady of Walsingham Radio” is one which has come to me very strongly. I don’t know why it doesn’t exist. Is there a sufficient market for it? Should I be looking to the bishops for support? Should I be Fund-Raising?

Discernment pointers: That thought “feels right” it brings a more peaceful state of mind. It fills me with Hope. It would make use of the professional skills I have built up. It would make use of some of the contacts I already have.
None of the other ideas “feel right” in the same way.

Talk to my Spiritual Director and my Mentor. Call my Mentor.

When I became Catholic 9 years ago, I gave up the dream of being a pastor. I am a woman, so such a thing is impossible. I also could not enter religious life, as I am also married with a (then) 7 year old son. My training - Protestant homestudy theology courses - didn’t qualify me to work in Catholic lay ministry as the theology I had studied was all wrong. Financially, we couldn’t afford for me to go back to school to study Catholic theology. I could have gotten student loans, but even if I had started as soon as I became Catholic, I wouldn’t have had my degree for four years and accumlating that level of debt to start a carreer at approximately age 48 didn’t seem very wise. Honestly, for about 6 of those 9 years of being a Catholic, I wasn’t a very good one.

Fast-forward to the present. My son is now 16. He’ll be needing money for school in a couple of years. Money we don’t have. My husband and I both work. He took a large cut in pay to have the job he has now after being laid off for 18 months beginning in 2008. I work in retail. Not a career choice by any means. It’s an income, nothing more.

I have spent much time trying to discern how God wants me to use my talents and my passion for souls and for ministry within the context of my life. And I have wrestled with the thought that the job I have is not where I am to be. Here’s what I learned:

  1. Use your talents where the doors are open. Make yourself available, but don’t push at a closed door.

  2. Just because I can’t “go do ministry” doesn’t mean I don’t do ministry. Let me explain. God has called me to a 3rd order, specifically the Secular Discalced Carmelites. I wrestled a lot with this decision, because I also considered the Lay Dominicans. A 3rd Order may be what you are being called to.

  3. At least for this time, at this point in my life, I am doing the job I was given by God to do - even if I didn’t see it for a long time. There are people at work I am to be the Light of Christ to. People no one else can reach the way I can. The same is true for you. Just by being joyful and faithful you are a witness and an important one at that. It may not seem like you are producing any fruit, but, think about it, are all of the people you come in contact with through the course of your job living for Christ? It’s easy to want to “full time minister” to people, then when God puts us in the world, puts us where he needs us to do just that - reach the lost - we complain because we’re not in “full time ministry”. Silly us.

Whether you realize it or not, God has given you the job you have. He didn’t create a “plan C” because you made a wrong choice way back when. He needs you, specifically, where you are to reach the lost he brings your way. That’s not to say that he will always need you there, just that he needs you there now.

Before you can consider changing your life-style, you first must get your debt to a point where you can do that. I don’t know the circumstances of your life, but perhaps there are areas where you could make changes to achieve financial freedom sooner without working yourself to death. I would advise you to cut back your work schedule, even if it means not paying things off as fast. No one can consistently work a 70hr week for long and not burn out. Your family needs you. Your mental state needs rest. You can’t see clearly, can’t hear clearly because you are exhausted.

Instead of just chucking everything and walking away, cut back on the hours you work. Get some balance in your life. View your current job as an opportunity God has given you to be Jesus to those people you come in contact with as a result of your job, whether it’s co-workers or the public, or whatever Be an evangelist where you are. Be a minister where you are. Remember, some of the most…important ways we minister to others are the least impressive: a smile, a kind word, helping a new employee feel comfortable, inviting someone to church. It’s the little stuff that changes the world.

St. Therese of Lisuex went from her father’s house, where she was mostly homeschooled to a convent. She died at 23. She never did anything big or earth shaking. The farthest she went from her home was to Rome once as a child. No one outside of her little world, outside of her sisters and her family, really knew who she was. She was hardly world famous. She only ever wrote one book, Story of a Soul, and it wasn’t published until after she died. She didn’t give retreats or appear on television or radio. She is one of only 3 female Doctors of the Church. Do the ordinary in your life with great love for Christ. Don’t worry about what you can’t do right now, that tension is from the Enemy to rob you of your joy in the life God has blessed you with. Any time our focus is on our lack - what we can’t do, what we aren’t doing, on being more, doing more, to the point that that is all we think about, that’s not God. Jesus said he came to bring us peace and joy. Read the Last Supper Discourses. That peace and joy isn’t for some future date when we are “doing what God wants us to do”. If we are Christians and you are, then it is for NOW. If you aren’t experiencing it now, the Enemy is messing with you and making you miss the blessings and graces that are right in front of you.

Rest. Rest in Jesus. He loves you and wants, more than anything, to strop striving and rest. You are in my prayers.
Kris

St. Hildegard is not impressed. :wink:

Other than that, great post.

Sorry, didn’t know St. Hildegard was a Doctor. I did see a movie about her and wondered why she wasn’t!:smiley:
Kris

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