Hi everyone, I have a few questions about vocations.
When I was young, I wanted to be a nun. Looking back, I think I wanted to be a nun because I was embarrassed to tell my parents (especially my dad) that I wanted to get married and it was hard to imagine myself happily married, so I always suppressed the desire. When I was 13, I went to visit a religious community with some girls from my parish. I don't remember much about the day, but I have a clear memory of sitting in my bed sobbing a few days later because I felt like I had to be a nun or God would be disappointed in me...but I no longer desired the life. My mom told me I didn't have to be a nun if I didn't want to be one and I accepted it and moved on.
A year and a half ago, I met the man of my dreams. I literally couldn't ask for someone better for me. I'm no longer in the "infatuation" stage but I know that what we have is something really special. A few months into our relationship however, I started FREAKING out because I realized after talking to a girl discerning religious life that I had never really "discerned" my vocation very seriously. I prayed about whether it was right for my to date my boyfriend or not, but I didn't over-spiritualize (something I have a strong tendency to do). Ever since then, discernment has become an obsession. I never really felt much of a strong desire for religious life. I guess I have always been somewhat attracted to the lifestyle, but I'm not really sure how I feel. My fears were deepened when I watched an Oprah show about some Dominican nuns and one of them mentioned that she tried to suppress her desire for religious life for a long time. Was I doing this too? Am I not open to God's will? How could I know for sure? I began to scare myself so much that my fears were getting in the way of my relationships.
I feel as though I am finally starting to be completely open to God's will, but now I'm even more distraught. I have recently been feeling like maybe I could be happy in both vocations. I've even been fairly sure that I could be happy as a nun or as a wife and mom. However, when I feel like this, I feel as though I SHOULD choose religious life because even though I am still completely happy dating my boyfriend, I should convince myself that religious life will make me the most happy. It has just been a very, very difficult and confusing time. Is it normal to desire both vocations? There have been many signs that I am called to marriage but I'm so afraid of "suppressing" desires for religious life that I become extremely distraught when I feel like I do have the desire. Then the pattern becomes circular because I feel as though I am not open enough to God's will.
Does anyone have any words of advice? My friends and parents seem to think that I have some form of obsessive-compulsive disorder because I have been so deeply afraid of "suppressing" desires or "ignoring" God for such a long time. I almost feel like I'm addicted to the pattern. I really need some advice :(
PS-I have been praying a LOT!