I have been trying to “figure my life out” for six years now. I’m 22 and I have tried discerning religious life, I “tried” dating (but not really because no one is interested) and I have even tried to be a lay missionary and go on a mission (which I was turned down for). Everywhere I turn, it seems as though I am always met with closed doors. Either I do not feel called or it is clearly not possible. I keep praying and praying for the tide to change and to finally be led somewhere. I just don’t even know what I want anymore. I love Jesus so much but it doesn’t seem like he has anything great in store for me (which I know I shouldn’t be complaining about because he is God and knows what is best). But, I just can help but feel extremely weary, discouraged and restless. I do everything I can and it leads me nowhere. I don’t like just “existing”. I want to make a difference in the world. I want to have done something great with my life when I look back on it in my old age. Right now I feel useless. If anyone could offer any advice or even just prayers I would be very thankful.
I can and will offer a prayer!
You sounded a lot like what I feel like what I do right now. I can’t tell you how helpful a spiritual director is at times like these. While this is far from a professional diagnosis, it sounds a little like depression.
Wishing you the best,
It sounds a little like being 22 also. I know you don’t want to hear this, but you are still young. Relax and maybe stop worrying about what you should be doing. It will come to you. You don’t say if you went to college or didn’t, if you are still in, are working or what.
Look at your life. Look at your hobbies, interests, classes and things you LOVE!
Is there anything you LOVE doing? If so, do that.
For instance, I LOVE tutoring. I feel good when I do that, satisfied, to the point I do it whether I’m paid or not.
“To thine own self be true”, Shakespeare.
Be who you are. I, too, thought I might be called to religious life. Be yourself. Go where you will be HAPPY!
If you need further guidance, try volunteering first, to get your feet wet.
It’s okay to get career counseling, guidance.
What woul you like to do with your life Kateri?
Here’s another idea. There are many WONDERFUL secular placements.
I worked with Literacy Volunteers for 5 or 6 years, teaching adult literacy and ESL.
Also, I volunteered another 5 years with Goodwill, also teaching foreigners English.
Neither placement was “religious”, per se.
Now, I work with a secular Blind Association and San Felipe. One secular, one religious.
So, consider non-profits, as well…secular.
This sentence jumped out at me. Maybe you’ve done everything you can except listen. How bout letting Him lead you somewhere.
Most kids when they get out of school are told to find a job they are passionate about. It might be better though if they were told told to find a job that pays the bills and work hard, so that eventually you become passionate about it. Your situation may be similar. Make a choice, and eventually you will find that it is exactly what you were meant to do. You don’t have to go to Africa to change the world or do something great. You can do something great where you are as a father or husband. I say find a job, continue to date, and continue to pray about it. If God is calling you to be a priest or missionary eventually you will be certain. In the meantime get good at what ever job you are doing.
There are a LOT of ways to help.
Here are just a FEW of many.
There’s the Peace Corps, VISTA, AmeriCorps…etc., etc…some have room, board, stipend…some, nothing…and some CHARGE a lot to volunteer.
The sky´s the limit!
Oh yeah, and I applied to…I forget to how many placements…before I found one that accepted me that I liked.
Kateri92 is a woman…but your advice is still spot-on when you change the wording from “father or husband” to “wife or mother” and “priest” to “nun”
My dear, you are still so young. Life will turn around, you have plenty of time to “figure it out.” I am speaking from experience!
I will pray for you, but I promise it’ll change.
I can identify. I’m 24, in my last semester of university and feeling the same way.
something to help put it in to perspective. maybe you are thinking too big. I know I do that. and sometimes we can miss things right in front of us.
you can be a missionary in your own local community, I bet they need it. volunteer for your parish or other organizations. pursue some hobbies. find ways to glorify god in little things and they might lead to bigger things
I’m currently struggling with this exact same problem. There’s been a lot of good advice posted above. Ultimately, God will reveal His plan in His time, so sometimes it may take many years of patience. At the same time, I’d recommend definitely continuing to listen and if you really aren’t being inspired by anything in particular, just experiment… with anything, probably with volunteering. Chances are there is something deep in your heart that you really want to do or something that truly makes you happy, and chances are you may come to realize the only one holding you back from doing what makes you happy is yourself (it could be a set of excuses or perhaps an anxiety issue, or perhaps depression even or a feeling like you’re not “worthy” to do what makes you happy)… I don’t know if any of this makes sense in your situation, but I recently came to realize this was definitely true for me in my discernment process over the past year and it caused me a great deal of grief too. God may be calling you to find out what is holding you back.
I recently had kind of a revelation. The way God works with us is more like a GPS device than a set of directions from Mapquest. That is, when you use a GPS device to find out how to get to a place, you enter the address and then just set out on the road, trusting that the device will bring you there road by road, despite the fact that you don’t know where you are going. If you take a wrong turn at one point, the GPS will “recalculate” to bring you to a place where you can still continue going where you’re going… and all you have to do the whole time is “cooperate” with the GPS by driving and taking the turns as they come. It occurs to me that God works very much like this. That is, God doesn’t just lay out a bunch of directions and leave us to our own devices (at least not unless he wants to). It’s not our journey alone, nor is it only God’s journey, but it’s more like a cooperation. For example, you get in the car, enter your destination (which is like your prayer), and sometimes you don’t know what street is which, but you pull out anyways and wait for the GPS to either confirm that you’re going the right way or tell you to turn around and go the other way. The important part for you though is to pull out and experiment, and then let God speak through the situation, whether it works out or not, as to whether he wants it for you or not. Always experiment until something works.
I’ll be praying for you that you may have the courage or ability to experiment with different volunteer options and that God will make known to you through the experimentation which one is yours.
First let me say I wish I were 22 again! That was 40 years ago for me!
I was anxious then as well wondering what life held for me after college. I wanted one thing, my dad wanted another. Remember it is your life and you are steering your own boat. We can make plans, but that doesn’t mean they will work out. There will be twists and turns and you can try different things. Life is about being part of a community and relationships - with our families and friends and co-workers and people at church. You will grow up a lot in the next 5 years!
Take heart - I would venture to guess folks much older are still searching for what they really want - have tried and failed at various endeavors - but have not given up and have always kept their eyes on the Lord. Sometimes He lets you wait a long time for that ah hah moment but I would predict it will come along. Pray for patience and don’t be discouraged - just know that He has a plan for you and start being alert for those clues - they will happen.
Just a little story - I was feeling like I was missing something in my life too and am quite a bit older than you are now. I started praying the rosary to the Blessed Virgin Mary - didn’t even ask for anything specific - just help in discovering what was missing and low and behold - the answer came - not right away - but many months later. You have to keep your eyes and ears and heart open though and don’t give up.
Will say a prayer for you too.
It’s not unusual or weird to feel the way you do, is it possible that your trying to hard ?
Maybe I’m different, but I have very rarely had the things I want,
But I do get the things I need, their is a difference between the two,
God doesn’t put things up in neon lights for you to see,
But rather , bread crumbs scattered for you to follow, they are their,just need to recognise it
Just don’t give up,your only 22 ,
Thank you all for the encouragement. I think the think that has most recently brought me to discouragement is applying for a mission that I felt so much like Gods was calling me to and then not being accepted in. I know that those things happen but it made me question everything I have ever though God was calling me to. I guess I don’t even know how to listen to God correctly anymore.
How about posting a new thread - What are ways in which we can listen to what God is telling us?".