Putting Off My Vocation

Hi Everyone,

I’m 21 years old and have been actively discerning a vocation to the religious life for the past year or so. I feel strongly that this is what God is calling me to, and have already taken the initiative to visit a few potential communities.

Besides being a little scared to take the next steps, which I think is pretty normal, I’m also concerned about the timeframe of things. I’m very comfortable at my Software job, I make a decent amount of money, and tend to fill up my free vacation time with traveling.

I’m wondering what everyone’s take is on putting off a vocation for a year or two because they want to have experiences (like traveling among other things) that would not be possible in the religious life. What should the balance be between setting aside vacation time for the “worldly” things and other things like visiting orders and discerning more seriously?

I keep on thinking of God’s words to St. Faustina on her vocation: “How long shall I put up with you and how long will you keep putting me off?” But on the same hand, I don’t want to rush into things hastily either.

Mary

Praying to the Holy Spirit to give you guidance, direction, strength, fortitude & wisdom in your discernment.

Try to get yourself a spiritual director. A lot easier said than done I know but pray to God for one.

21 years old is still very young. Don’t be surprised that you find yourself to be a totally different person at 31.

There is no rush. Take your time.

  • 1 and ICXC NIKA.

Better to take your time than to later regret life experiences you could have had.

I did what you’re describing (albeit at a slightly later age), I decided to put off entering the seminary in favour of travelling for a year - or so I thought. One year turned out to be more like four but I’m grateful for that time and the experiences I gained from it. Just a word of warning - don’t try to run from God; it doesn’t work, He finds you! Also, as a friend of mine put it, be careful you don’t end up joining the order for perpetual discernment!

My two cents, take your time with it. Think of it as the numerator, but the common denominator - no matter what you do - is to love.

Your purpose is to become a totally loving person.

If you make love the theme of your day, everything will fall into place for you.

Will pray for you.

If you’re being called now, you go. You do not put it off. If a community feels you need more life experience, they will let you know. If you put it off to seek worldliness, you risk losing your vocation.

From what I understand, the process to enter any type of religious order can take a long while as in months to a year at least. It might be worth while doing your homework, exploring the various orders you are interested in and even attending their come and sees which occur several times a year. All of this is part of the discernment process. Furthermore, it takes a while for both the religious order and yourself to determine if you will be a good fit for that community. I know some orders will first arrange for the potential new people to live with the community a weekend here or a weekend there. Plus some orders such as the Monastic Fraternity of Jerusalem, Sisters of Life, grey nuns, are spread across the world so one never knows where one will be able to visit and serve. Each order is different so don’t turn your back on this wonderful calling.

During this time, you might realize that yes, God calling you into religious life or no he isn’t. Furthermore, just because you join, it doesn’t mean you are stuck there forever. You have 8 years to discern if this is the path God is calling you to live. I know someone who was a nun for a few years before she left, met someone and married.

Although you are young, it can’t hurt to explore and see what happens. Just because you explore and find an order that is a good fit, it doesn’t mean you have to join right away. Everything happens when the time is right . You might be destined to join a religious order when you are 25, 30 or maybe never.

Often it is the journey of exploring does one realize who they are meant to be.

I’m 24, college student (2+ yrs left: just want to move on), continue to explore the religious life locally (attended personal retreats for inquiry & quiet prayer), & love to travel (ambitions to explore countries & states). In my case, I’m torn between matrimony, sacred single life, or religious life… for spiritual direction, I’ve met with 2 priests (more than once), 1 friar, & 4 nuns:: different perspectives, different answers… but all steering me back to me being young, that I’ve got time to decipher what God prefers I do to serve Him best.

When schools out, I’ll be an ASL interpreter… that’s where my passion is… not giving that up! Instead of living in a monastic community, I can see myself (after 7 yrs: whole process I’m not sure I’ve got patience for, but if God’s will: worth it) as a Benedictine ‘oblate,’ meaning I’d vow to live the “Rule” (the rules how they live by) through singlehood or marriage while living on my own & working, but not as a Benedictine nun… this means I can keep working someday for an interpreting agency, travel to catholic events to voluntarily interpret… I would be visiting the monastery on monthly meetings, local events, & keep in touch with other oblates & oblate director.

My advice to you:
Although we’re ‘still young,’ (if you haven’t already) go on a personal retreat (journal thoughts, read Bible, seek a consistent spiritual director there or elsewhere locally, attend events (at convents/monasteries: wherever you’re interested in), ask questions to those who live there daily (can you see yourself there?, etc). If you are meant to be a sister of some kind of religious life- God will provide at the right time how He wants to present it to you…pray for guidance (be patient with yourself, enjoy life where its at while exploring with an open mind what options there are to religious life. God is ever present in our lives & so patient… He’s not pressuring you to urgently make a decision now… gently in small ways He will show you the way.

I’d rather take my time with vocations than jump into one & find it’s not what I desire… you’ll get the pressure anywhere (I got it at the monastery w/ them while on a retreat ‘high’ & later found their persuasive encouragements not helpful… need time to decide what I really want…not what others think I should do, but what I truly think is God’s will… only you can answer what God is calling you to do), but God is the God of patience, not impatience. There’s a time & a place for everything… wait for God to instruct… He will show you (He knows you more than we know ourselves) the way, the truth, the light, & the life. We only get one earthly life to serve Him… choose it wisely. ((I’m also taking my own advice, still in progress)).

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