I have huge ambitions, but I'm conflicted


Hi everyone,

I’m 20 years old and want to get married but I now have this nagging feeling that God is calling me to the priesthood. The problem is, I really, really, REALLY don’t want to be a priest. The thought of God wanting me to be a priest makes me sweat. Literally. As in clammy palms and back, racing heart beat type of sweat. I want to have my own kids, and give myself to a woman (together with God of course).

I’m nervous because I used to have an issue when I was about 12, and made a promise to God that if he healed me from it I’d become a priest. He healed me, butI don’t want to fulfill that promise.

I’ve asked God to forgive me for not wanting to uphold my end of the deal.

My interests are as follows: I’d like to help people. A large number of people. I’ve always been into computers, and recently started programming and found that I’m having a blast with it. I’m studying to be a mechanical engineer and the idea that robotic limbs and supports can be used to help amputees and patients who have been paralyzed fascinates me. It thrilling.

My interests have always been largely technological. Taking apart and building computers, fixing things (mechanical and electrical). But once again, regardless of what I do in life, I feel the need to help a large amount of people. I firmly believe I can achieve this as an engineer in biotechnology. But I’d also like to get married.

My fear is: If I become an engineer, live a relatively successful life, get happily married, (and help people) that God will at some point slam me down for not choosing the priesthood. I imagine cancer, or some life threatening disease. Or perhaps I’ll have the life I wanted but with consequences. Someone close to me (like my kid(s) or wife) dies prematurely or my kids are born with serious health problems.

I have dreams and I’d like to achieve them. I understand that God has his will. My question is, can’t I achieve my dreams and still please God by doing a variety of things to help others? Both through my profession and as well as donations, and volunteer work?

I’m scared. This is extremely frustrating. I can’t focus sometimes. I know it’s my own fault but sometimes I’ll think about this too hard while studying and won’t be able to focus until I clear my mind. I just want God’s approval of my dreams.

Thank you for reading.


I think I read in another thread that you can still all that and be a type of priest being married with kids and having a wife. I just can't remember what they said about that. Talk to your priest and he will know. But you can still help a large amount of people by doing what you love and using that to help educate people in your field. You can be a teacher in a Catholic school and teach kids how to do the things you do with robots and what not. lol. They would love that!! Being a teacher in a Catholic school will be as close as you can get to fulfilling your (prompted) calling to be a priest. I love computers too! :D


I understand how hard it is for you right now. I think that all Catholics at some point have thoughts about priesthood or become a nun, or monk. You are afraid to get sick. Are we not all? I don’t know why people get sick, in the manner you mean, only the scientific cause. I think you should talk with your priest and your doctor. They will clarify it better then what I can at a web-site. And the sooner you do so, the heretofore you feel better. And you are so young. I was about your age when I thought I had the vocation to priesthood. (I did not.) Give it a year or two, date, look around, live. But please talk you your priest and doctor first. It will ease your mixed feelings, and give you a other perspective then your present. And do not forget to pray, and I will pray for you to. God bless you.


Permanent diaconate, maybe? Not a "priest" as such, but that seems to me like it would fulfil your promise and your call, while also setting aside your main objections...?

I'll pray for you and hope things become clearer.


I would give anything to be the type of guy you are: smart, gifted, with passions and a clear direction in life. You know how God is unexplicably generous or stingy with us mere mortals, my day of birth or conception must have been "stingy day" on God's fridge calendar. Envy aside, become a deacon once you're married, you will have at least partially respected your side of the pact, that should keep God quiet and happy.

Lasting faith, he is afraid God's far-reaching arm of love will, at God's chosen moment, wreak havoc in his life because he vowed something which he does not want to deliver.


God isn’t waiting around corners ready to smack us down for not choosing a vocation. Does He have an incredible plan for our lives? Yep. Can He work with whatever we choose? Yep.

Will you become the best version of yourself as a husband, father, and successful engineer? Would you serve God best as a priest? This is what you have to pray and discern - where can God best use you? Where can you bring souls to Christ? Is it through a parish, or is it through guiding the souls of your wife and kids to Jesus?

Best piece of advice I ever got - be open. Don’t say no to God’s incredible plan because you are clutching onto your plan and not budging. God is pouring down blessings and help, you just have to open your fists that are holding your plan and open them up to catch what He’s giving you. Open yourself up to reckless abandon and joy in the Lord.

It would be good to have a spiritual adviser, and pray to the Holy Spirit. He can fill you with His gifts of knowledge, wisdom, etc. Can’t ever get enough of those :smiley:

Pray pray pray pray pray. Go to Mass often and read the Bible. God doesn’t chuck us out into the world and say “Well, you have a vocation, good luck finding it out!” No, He loves us and wants us to love Him all the way, with everything. He’ll show you the way - all you have to do is talk to Him…and more importantly, listen to what He says back. (this is the hard part :p)

God bless you on this journey, feel free to PM me whenever.

Chloe M.


I dont think the Diaconate is a good approach for it. The diaconate is not something for those that want both things and dont feel like choosing. I think if you feel you have a vocation you should check it out. You WILL live with the question of what if I had gone to the seminary and become a priest? If you are being called then leaving your aspirations will not hurt. Sure you’ll miss it, but you will have a different aspect to your life. And the desire for a family is perfectly natural, ive heard rectors, Abbots, and other religious leaders that its more likely an indicator of a larger problem if you dont want a family.

And dont worry about being smitten by God because you didnt go. To be perfectly honest I doubt he gives a fig if you go to the seminary or not. Your vocation is for you (ie you wont add to god by becoming a priest), but if you dont even try then you will suffer from it. The priesthood is a beautiful vocation and you shouldnt be afraid to look and see. If you give it a single year you lose one year of studies but you gain a lifetime of confidence that it was not what God wanted for you and you can live in peace.


Dear idk,

Do not worry! You have promised that you would become a Priest if God heals you, but has He ever said that He wants you to become one? Did not St. Peter promise Jesus many things before His Crucifixion? Did God make St. Peter sick? Jesus is not like that, He is tender!

If God is truly calling you to Priesthood, that is also what will make you happy! Having children, a career etc. will never satisfy you if your real purpose in life is the greater call.

But here i my question: What makes you think you are called? All you have described here are different kinds of fear. A “nagging feeling” does not sound like a whisper from The Holy Spirit to me, it rather sounds like a nervous inner voice… God wants men who are ready!

Talk to a spiritual director of some kind, and remember that fear never comes from God Here is some beautiful Scripture for you:

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.” (1 Jn 4:18)



idk - I think if you ask God for the strength, insight AND discernment to do HIS WILL/wish, that you will find peace and comfort of mind and spirit - let Him show you the way.

Remember Jesus’ words in Gethsemane?

Luke 22:42:

Father, if thou wilt, remove this chalice from me: but yet not my will, but thine be done.


Honestly, you need to find a spiritual advisor through your diocese to discuss this and discern what God is calling you to do. Someone from the vocations office can try to help you sort all this out. Just because you are talking to someone in the vocation office doesn’t mean that they will try and talk you into the priesthood but it seems like you need help that goes beyond what any of us can offer on the internet.


Thank you everyone for your replies.

I’ve been told I should be open (while others have been praying for me).
But if being open means becoming a priest, or more directly, not getting married, then I don’t want to be open in that sense.

I’m just being honest here. I can’t stand the idea of not having my own children. Of living a life of celibacy. It’s rather depressing. And I don’t want to use that word because God is love, but the whole idea of prieshood is depressing for exactly those reasons for the most part.

I keep looking at scriptures like “Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.”

and also how a “prudent wife is from the Lord” and how it is “good for a man to find a wife” and such.

I pray to the Lord all the time that he may allow me to get married (and be happy doing so) and that he not make me be a priest (and consequently be unhappy for not choosing so).

I figure I should talk to a priest soon, but I won’t be able to until next week. I have finals this week, and the stress of thinking of this is really getting to me.

I should also mention: I’ve enjoyed motorcycles since I was 2 years old. Now that I’m older, riding motorcycles and driving cars is a passion for me. The thought that I wouldn’t have my own personal wealth to make occasional purchases of toys like these also disturbs me. It’s not that i’m greedy or can’t let go of money, but end of the day: I just want a happy marriage, healthy kids, plenty of money to provide for them and afford enjoy vacations, and still donate plenty of money and time to helping others.


For one thing, your immediate concern is your “finals” (university? college?). Your first priority should be to get them out of the way and stop worrying about this question. God can wait for another week or so. He’s been there a long time already, and your particular problem isn’t going to get *Him *into a sweat. So get your finals out of the way first.

Then… when the pressure is off, go and see a good spiritual counsellor. Frankly I think you’d be frustrated as a priest, as your interests seem to be at odds with the lifestyle and studies for the priesthood. Jesuit maybe, but other than that I can’t see you being a priest.

Somone suggested the diaconate. Maybe, but from what I’ve seen the diaconate can keep you pretty much involved in the local church.

Bear in mind however, God’s will may not be your will. There’s no guarantee that you’ll continue to have the freedom to do what you want for a start, the way things are going in the West, or the world in general. We might all be in for a season of suffering.

As for a commitment you made when you were twelve years of age, God may have healed you (of whatever issue it was) as He was simply pleased with your faith that He could heal you. Whether He really expects you to keep to a commitment that you made as a kid, under duress so to speak, is another matter.

If I were you, I’d just keep on doing what you’re doing. If God really wants you to go into the preisthood, He’ll make it pretty clear. Everything will seem to jump out at you in that direction. But if that’s not happening, then just keep on going for the time being.

Incidentally be careful riding your motorcycle. I’m not telling the following story as a comment on your riding, but I had an old pastor who was prophetic. He had one young bloke in his congregation who was riding his motorbike stupidly. The pastor warned him with the words, “Look, if you don’t start riding more carefully, you won’t last two weeks!” He told me he felt a bit guilty about warning him like that as he said “I often find that what I say happens. I buried him two weeks later to the day.”

Just yesterday, my wife got a fright with a potentially short lived Australian motoryclist who zoomed past her at what seemed 140kph in a 80kph zone, and then starting weaving madly in and out of other vehicles who probably didn’t even know he was there.

So ride carefully, if you’re going to keep on with motor cycling.


About money and wordly things, we should be careful not to love them! That is not just something that goes for Priests and Deacons (1 Tim 3:1 -14) but in fact for all Christians (Mt 6:24, Lk 16:13 etc.).

I would actually be more worried about this part than of anything else:

“The thought that I wouldn’t have my own personal wealth to make occasional purchases of toys like these also disturbs me. It’s not that i’m greedy or can’t let go of money, but end of the day: I just want a happy marriage, healthy kids, plenty of money to provide for them and afford enjoy vacations, and still donate plenty of money and time to helping others.”

I do not mean to be harsh, but it sounds like you need to practice Sacrifice. Start small and increase little by little. Your life will not be pink and bright blue even if you get that wife and that healthy kids, there will be plenty of hurts anyway…

We all have a part of ourselves that wants wealth and luxury toys, the question is if we are willing to give it up for the greater treasure which is the Kingdom of God…


Money has an awesome power of attraction, it changes lives, it changes people, it open doors, it is life-changing. If someone wants to sell everything they have and live poor relying solely on God’s providence, if that’s what they want, great. It’s okay to not want to live like a monk. America is based on the pursuit of happiness mostly through money, what you’re advocating would kill the spirit of America. It’s okay to want to have more than just enough money, it’s okay to go on nice vacations, see the world, go places, have a nice house in a nice neighbourhood. If God wanted everyone poor or barely getting by, Jesus would have told his wealthy friend Lazarus about it. It’s not wrong to build a nice life for oneself just because a large segment of the population doesn’t have the energy, intelligence, ambition, shrewdness to do so. I’m middle-class BTW, lower or average: I onl y get to dream of doing nice things, of going on nice vacations etc.


Not only that. But the large segment of the population has to make a lot of sacrifices to do so as well. Which is something not everyone is cut out to do or willing to try. You also have to have a lot of faith in that regard also.


I am just saying what Christ told us, namely that we cannot love both God and money.

It is okay to have money if you use it to do good for others? Yes. Is it okay to love it and to focus too much on it? No.

Scripture speaks so much about this issue for a reason - it is a real danger! If having nice things is the goal of our lives, then we slipping away from God... It is the same with sex, with fame etc.


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