Struggling with Finding Meaning in a Secular World

I do a fair amount of searching these forums, and I swear I’ve read the same 3 threads about people having a hard time in the secular world at least 5x each.

How does everyone here have such an easy time living in the secular world? I know I don’t.

I just had a job interview yesterday. And, I got a job. I am thankful, but I guess I’m just struggling with uncertainty now.

I’m basically a college dropout, and I got a job at a restaurant. I’ll be making minimum wage to make sandwiches. I’ll be doing that this semester. And, I really don’t see why I’d come back to school…

I don’t want to live in the secular world. I don’t want a secular degree for a secular job. I want to serve the Church. OK? I am homosexual. I have SSA, and I won’t have any children. So… the fulfillment that I’m sure many of you get from being parents and raising a family is not something I have to look forward to.

What else is there then? Why should I work so hard to get a degree (in political science), just to get some secular job somewhere? I could find some rightist political organization and work for them, but I believe there is no political solution to our country’s problems.

Getting a job with Rick Santorum would appeal to me, but its not like a bunch of materialistic secularists who don’t attend Church can simply be persuaded to vote for the political beliefs of Rick Santorum. No… the only way Santorum wins is if our society is converted, is if they’re brought to the cross.

So… what I’m saying is, I’m struggling with the meaning of my life.

I want my life to matter. And, in my mind, the only way it will matter is if I participate, Full-time in the New Evangelization.

Please, if you’re interested in helping me, maybe read some of the other threads I’ve posted in the past 2 months.

I’ve been experiencing anxiety and depression, and this week, I thought, perhaps its because of this. Sure, its logical that I get a degree… but, most people are either A) going to have a family that a degree would help them provide for or B) Homosexuals and people who won’t have children, but want to pursue money and materialism.
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I’m interested in serving God.**
How do I not waste my life? If I just work a secular job, then retire and die, then that’s a waste of my life.
I don’t want to waste my life, I don’t want to settle for mediocrity, I want to be a saint and serve God… what can I do? What are my options?

You’d be amazed at how little the priests I’ve talked to have been able to answer that question. There seems to be nowhere where I can go to serve the Church. All the volunteering things I looked into said no, or later. So…

I’m relegated to minimum wage. It seems unlikely I’ll get a degree. And I’ll almost certainly (99%) not have a family…

What is the vocation of someone with SSA?

Talk to a qualified spiritual advisor in person.

Many seminary programs expect incoming applicants to have a college degree or equivalent. Media Studies or Communication are good ‘secular’ programs if you want to evangelize in this brave new world, and will help open doors for your theological studies, if they eventually materialize.

There are no shortcuts. Good luck.

Have you considered the Peace Core? Just a thought.

God be with you, I can’t help you with everything your searching for, but, I do suggest reading and contemplating Matthew 6, it has helped me through many times of anxiety.
May the Lord’s peace be with you

You sound more like a Hero rather than someone who is lost. Many people can’t See how secular liberal behaviors are selfish, anti-romantic, breaking up families and marriages, leading to an addiction to shallow amusements, leading to more dependency, but you already See those things. We need evangelizers to go out and gently convince people of what you see, and to instead want deeper, more romantic relationships, ones that rock people to the core, emphasizing true love and the beauty of innocence rather than some phony shallow badazz persona. The world needs more men to “get it,” and I think you already do, so I see an opportunity for you to carry out a job I wish I had the time to do.

I don’t have SSA, but I don’t have a husband, boyfriend, family that I’m close to. I have no children. (I have a disability, which could explain some of this.)

Even so, I’d say my life has purpose. What I have done is volunteer work, and my work gives me a sense of purpose. At the moment, I am working with the visually impaired. here in Mexico. Here, there aren’t the services there are in the US.

Someone started up a Blind Association only about 3 blocks from my house. People come from even out of state to it due to the services it has.

I believe I am making a very small, but important, difference.

There are many ways to have purpose.

I would have loved to have found the right guy and been married, but at least so far, it hasn’t worked out that way. I admit I wish it could have been otherwise, but for whatever reason, I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.

I admit there are many times I have felt profoundly disappointed, wish it could have been otherwise. I’m 50 y.o., now.

I used to pray prayers like, “Lord, if it was never meant for me to have love, or happiness, in this life, could I have some in the next?”

I feel your pain.

As to finding meaning, the Blind Association I volunteer at is secular, actually. I work at one place that’s secular and the other that’s religious, San Felipe de Jesús.

Had you ever considered volunteering in your spare time in a cause that is meaningful to you?

Oh yeah, and I volunteered in the US 5 years at Goodwill, which I think is secular.

I volunteered years ago tutoring basic literacy and a little English as a Second Language for another 5 years with Literacy Volunteers, but I heard they since changed into Proliteracy or some such thing. They are also secular.

Just because something is secular doesn’t necessarily make it worldly. Some “secular” organizations do some really awesome work.

If you do want to become involved with the Church, though, there is also that as a volunteer.

Here is a list for you, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Good luck and God bless!

catholicvolunteernetwork.org/

Oh, and what about AmeriCorps?

nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps

Some of these places, like AmeriCorps, can help with your studies, possibly…insofar as cost.

I think one can volunteer in exchange for money towards tuition.

First of all I would just like to applaud you brother. It sounds to me that you are already an incredible witness to the faith.
as for serving God, for starters, you are. You obviously sound to me as someone who has decided to pick up and carry their cross. But as far as vocations go it sounds like something you need to pray about. Have you ever felt called to the monastic life. I know to be a priest you would need a degree but I’m not sure you need to have one to become a religious brother.i actually read a quote from St Pio before that is something to the effect of if he could do it over he would have stayed a brother instead of becoming a priest. There’s a Catholic University here where I live that has an order of Benedictine monks and they also run a gristmill there too. Also maybe if you did something like that at the university, you could earn a degree as a brother if you felt called to the priesthood.

I can definitely sympathize with you about anxiety in these matters. I have had anxiety before about trying to discern what God’s will was for me. Even after I was already married and had a child. I think reading about the amazing and remarkable lives of the saints kind of made me feel like I could never measure up. I could recommend 3 things for now. I would read about “The Little Way” of St Therese. It will help you find meaning in everything you do. The next would be to offer it up every day. We can always offer up our suffering. And the third would be to relax and live in the present moment, it’s the only one we have. Don’t let your past haunt and cripple you, and don’t worry about the future, it comes soon enough. Just remember that God loves you more than anything or anyone you’ve ever loved. Just relax, rest, and trust in the Lord.
As far as living in the secular world, be in the world but not of it. We’re in the business of saving souls and being a genuine witness of the faith in the secular world is a incredible step towards evangelization. People definitely take notice of the joy and love. You also don’t have to have a college degree to find meaningful work. I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up so I joined the Navy out of high school and learned a trade in the military. The way I see it now is that yeah my job isn’t directly serving the church but it makes it possible to serve the church in different ways. Like trying to work with and through the grace of God to bring the light of Christ to an otherwise miserable workplace although I’m not always doing so hot at that:( .
Sorry for rambling. It’s late and a boring night shift. But as St Pio said “pray, hope, and don’t worry”

Have you thought about a religious vocation? Perhaps you have a genuine call and need to discern further. I get a sense that nothing in this world would truly satisfy you because your soul thirsts for God. (So does mine and I often feel lost and confused in this world, despite being happily married and having children and having everything sorted out.)

I also like Clear Water’s suggestion of working for an aid organisation. If you are not opposed to going abroad and being challenged by different cultures and levels of poverty not seen in the developed world, this could be an amazing way to serve God.

These things sound much more fulfilling and interesting to me than having a secular job that to you is nothing more than a way to earn money, and living a life you don’t really want to live. You are young and free and nothing is keeping you here. I believe you will be shown where to go, just keep praying about it and talk to different people about your options.

I hope this has helped a bit. I will pray for you.

Luke 10:41 helps me
But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

You can still be a good follower of Christ out in the real world without totally selling out to the real world. Something I think we all struggle with - it’s normal.

Thank you very much for the encouragement!

Yeah, when you put it like that… its rather like John 6, “Then Jesus said to the Twelve, ‘What about you, do you want to go away too?’
Simon Peter answered, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the message of eternal life”.

So, that’s basically you and me. Once you know that Jesus is Lord, you can’t really go back to living a mundane, boring life of the world… But, I just wish I had more stability in my life, and Christian community of some sort to help me along.

Thank you for your understanding. Idk… its not every day that I hate the secular world with a flaming passion :smiley: … idk… I’m sure there are plenty of things which are very noble. I just want to live my life for the Lord. I have looked into volunteering through a lot of things listed with the Catholic Volunteer Network… but, nothing came through.

I’m going to just settle down. Save up some money, spend time with friends and such. But, I don’t want to do this forever. Idk, its very easy for me to think that I’m wasting my time.

Its very difficult for me to justify what I’m doing as means to an end. I want to be working in the vineyards now… it doesn’t look like I’ll really be able to do that. So… I guess I’m forced to make the most of it.

Please pray for me.

Also, it sounds like you’re really making a difference in Mexico. I mean, you’re literally helping to the blind! :thumbsup:

Thanks for your post. I’ll definitely get St. Thereses’s book.

Yeah, I know I’m called to holiness, and to carry my cross. Thanks for the encouragement. Its easy to beat up on myself, and take for granted all the changes I’ve made in my life.

[quote= Contra Mundum]Have you thought about a religious vocation? Perhaps you have a genuine call and need to discern further. I get a sense that nothing in this world would truly satisfy you because your soul thirsts for God. (So does mine and I often feel lost and confused in this world, despite being happily married and having children and having everything sorted out.)

I also like Clear Water’s suggestion of working for an aid organisation. If you are not opposed to going abroad and being challenged by different cultures and levels of poverty not seen in the developed world, this could be an amazing way to serve God.

These things sound much more fulfilling and interesting to me than having a secular job that to you is nothing more than a way to earn money, and living a life you don’t really want to live. You are young and free and nothing is keeping you here. I believe you will be shown where to go, just keep praying about it and talk to different people about your options.

I hope this has helped a bit. I will pray for you.
[/quote]

Thanks for your post and the prayers.

I guess I’d respond to both of you, that I will be talking to the vocations director tomorrow. I have thought about religious life, and I guess I’ll keep looking into it, as long as my sexual attractions aren’t a problem… I actually have been in contact with a few religious, so I am definitely thinking about it.

I’m so glad to hear that. Nothing will be an obstacle if this is God’s will for you. Please keep us posted about this if you don’t mind. I’m always very happy to hear about people discerning religious vocations. :thumbsup:

lol Thanks! That’s nice of you to say, funny!

There are opportunities all around. If there aren’t, one can even create them.

I’ve also done that.

Consider what you want to do, more specifically.

In what capacity do you see yourself wanting to help…evangelization, with the poor, disabled, sick, elderly, prisoners, youth, homeless…? The sky’s the limit. There is more work out there than time to do it all.

There’s literacy, tutoring, computers…animals…children.

Teaching…tutoring…mentoring…coaching…

One can consider by setting or by job.

Churches often have a bunch of ways to help. I once went to my church in the US, and the had a list of things they needed, everything to helping the sacristan, organizing, cleaning the church, visiting or calling shut ins, praying with them, leading a prayer group, singing with the folk group or chorus/choir.

There is Life Teen, and they needed people to help with dinners there. There were funerals, and they needed people to help with food for that. There are large events, fundraisers…people needed to call and letter write, answer the church phone.

We had one church where people would help water the grass and such.

There’s catechism. Sometimes, it’s nice to help the catechism teachers as an aide.

There are a ton of positions. When I lived in Alabama, the city I lived in had more than one volunteer office, and one filled in a survey, there, or online. They’d figure out what you might like by your interests.

is that not the way it should be spelt

good idea I think maybe

I think this also about you,

your already thinking along the right lines just keep doing what you can to be loving to god and others.

GOD BE WITH YOU

A Prayer of St Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556)

Teach us, good Lord, to serve you as you deserve; to give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and not to seek for rest; to labour and not to ask for any reward, save that of knowing that we do your will

remember Rome wasn’t built in a day though.

Thanks very much.

Thanks everyone for the encouragement!

Well, my job starts tomorrow, and I’m excited. I did see my spiritual director yesterday, and he said that I should keep my same sex attractions to myself for the time being.

So, I’ll start work. And be trying to find what to do long-term. I could go back to school starting in January. Or, I could find some volunteer type program to do somewhere. Some kind of Catholic service thing. So, be praying that I do my job well, and pray that my ears might be inclined to hear the Lord, and to discern His Will.

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