I have been trying to pray for God’s will in my life, but I don’t seem to hear an answer. I’m in graduate school at the moment, and for the last few months I have really felt a complete lack of motivation to continue towards my degree. I have also begun dating a friend, but I’m really questioning whether I should be in this relationship. Could this restlessness, this lack of motivation be a sign that God wants me somewhere else right now? Does anyone have any advice about how to get over a lack of motivation?
I think you should consider that you may have a calling to the religious life.
I’m also in grad school, and am having some of the same troubles. I’m about half-way through my program…and I just don’t know why I’m in this program any more. I don’t feel the same as when I went in.
BUT, I am going to see it through. As much as I feel like quitting, I will probably regret not finishing it out in the long run. If I do finish, even though I might not do anything with my degree, I doubt I’ll regret having it.
So I advise to stick with it if you are significantly invested in the program already. If you just started, just take some time out and think about the direction you want to take.
Sometimes lack of motivation is a sign that we as human beings are just getting bored, or tired. Are you making time for yourself? Be sure that you are, because you need to stay in touch with who you are and what your passions are.
As far as the girl in your life, if you are in touch with your passions you’ll know about the romance side of things.
Keep praying, and look out for signs. Also be aware of our human condition though.
What are you getting your masters in?
When I was getting my Bachelor’s, I got a bad case of “Senior-itis” – brought on partly by my buddy I’d met at freshman orientation marrying and moving away, so I’d only see her on the days she commuted in. And then cold feet about the upcoming change from not being an undergrad anymore.
I had an even more severe case of depression 3/4 of the way through and never finished my Master’s, but in that case I’d broken up with a guy I thought was “the one.” (I thank God now that I didn’t marry him, but at the time it hurt to let go.)
So what I’m wondering is if your feelings are fear of the unknown, maybe a little depression thrown in. St. Ignatius says never change a resolution in time of depression or desolation. Do you have a priest/spiritual director you can talk to?
What you’re experiencing is very common. It’s like the honeymoon with the idea of a graduate degree is long gone. Hang in there, and stop dating until you’re done. That’s nothing but a needless distraction, believe me! You’ll regret it if you ever give up finishing your degree.
That being said, you may well, indeed, have a vocation to the religious life. A degree would be very helpful, though, because it offers you so many more options.
I have a first cousin who’s a Dominican nun with the group in Nashville. They are a contemplative and a teaching order. I went there when she was taking her final vows. There were like 150 of these nuns running about, all in full habit, and all with tremendous smiles on their glowing faces. You can fake being happy, but not once in three days did I see even one of these nuns look anything close to unhappy! They even exercise in their habits. I was walking under the big trees in front of the convent (a huge pre-Civil War hospital they converted with 18 ft. celiings!), and a nun whizzed by in tennis shoes, with her habit held by her knees with a big clothes pin. She was jogging. Another was attired the same, sitting on a tractor, mowing the grass. LOL Think about it, though. They never have to worry about bills, being fired, where their next meal is coming from, who likes them and who doesn’t based on their looks, insurance, etc. EVERYTHING is taken care of, till they die! All they need do is get closer and closer to God. The mother superior told my aunt and uncle that their only job with these nuns was to make Saints. One of the old ones died while they were there. She was in her 90’s! They put her in a plain wooden coffin, in full habit. Then, they went in the basement where they kept all the letters the nuns wrote when they took their vows (they hand-write a letter to Jesus, promising them all the parts of their vows). They put the letter that old 90 something year old nun wrote as a teenage girl (they joined early in those days) in her hands in the coffin as testimony to her faithfulness to her vows her whole life! What a way to go! I think they’re scheduled to take in 23 this year. They’re growing by leaps and bounds. (All the traditional, faithful orders are growing vs. the liberal ones who’ve shucked their habits to become worldly. Those are dying out.)
Anyway, it’s just something to consider. Keep praying and keep studying. And don’t let yourself get sidetracked by boys. You’ll have plenty of time for that if you discern your vocation is to the married life.