Vocation advice, please?

I am super confused right now over my vocation. I discerned a vocation to religious life for 4 years. However, those were crazy times and it wasn’t until 2 years ago that I made a good confession and experienced Christ’s incredible mercy in the sacrament of reconciliation. After I made that confession, I began to have a growing desire to have a family of my own some day. That desire continued to grow and after I got out of an unhealthy/ unofficial relationship with a guy friend of mine, I had an intense dream of having a daughter. This dream came the very night after I was “dumped/deserted” by my friend. At the time, I thought that it was God’s way of letting me know that I have a hope and a future and it wasn’t the end of the world. Its been almost a year since that happened and I’m still recovering from the emotional wounds from it. However, I am wondering if a desire to have a family is enough to constitute it as your vocation.

Recently I have started to think that God may be trying to get me to discern religious life again. However, the thought of not having a family (Husband + Children) devastates me. Quite literally, I began to cry a few months ago when I started thinking about it. I feel like I am going crazy sometimes. Sometimes I wonder if living in sin earlier in life damaged my conscience permanently. Why is it so hard for me to figure this out? I have begun to get deeply depressed/ anxious thinking that God might not want me to get married. I even went through a phase where I was angry at God for destroying all of my relationships with guy friends of mine. Is there anything I can read/ watch that will help me? Or, any advice someone can offer? :blush:

My wife and I became Benedictine oblates and there are many Third Orders in which lay people learn how to live in a much more “religious” manner. We live simply and follow many of the practices followed by those in a monastery. It actually made our marriage an amazing pilgrimage. You don’t need to give up everything or every part of the religious life just because you have a spouse.

Be guided by what your heart says in stillness. Be thankful you have a heart that seeks God. You are blessed and will find your way.

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

It is perfectly normal to be frustrated, unsure, and emotional about your vocation. One day I was at daily Mass about a month after I got married. I watched a young priest (about my age) pop out of the confessional and hurry to the sacristy to start Mass, which was late due to confession. He had a big smile on his face. I remember thinking, I could be really happy doing that every day. Well, it took about 2 months for my wife and I to get used to living together, lol. At that moment, I thought, “Ohh no. I missed my vocation.” I was sad and upset. Fortunately, the feeling passed. I love my wife so much and I am confident I’m on God’s path for me. At that moment, I was not.

Your present feelings of frustration and hurt are not from God. I often think of St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians, “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

If your vocation is to religious life, God will open that door for you. If your vocation is to have a family, God will open that door for you. The Church could certainly use faithful women in both of these vocations.

You did not mess yourself up living in sin before. “Where sin abounds, Grace abounds more.” Sex (if that is what you mean) bonds you to your partners, and it might be confusing you now, but it is nothing that God cannot over come and set right.

From personal experience, I hope you will make an appointment ASAP with a Priest and put everything on the table. They’ve heard it all before and give excellent advice.


Quite honestly, if the thought of not having a husband and children makes you cry, it doesn’t sound to me like you are called to a religious life. God wants you to be happy, and He puts yearnings on your heart for a reason. You can certainly still serve God through the vocation of marriage (and motherhood).

But that said, I’d still recommend taking the time to visit several different orders and see what you think of them.

I toyed with joining a religious order for a while. I kept agonizing over it again and again in my mind. Finally, I visited a few orders and went on a couple of retreats. It was a great experience, but it became pretty clear to me that it wasn’t what I was called for. Ever since then, I haven’t had any doubts about it.

And by the way, I’m now happy married with a daughter :slight_smile:

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If you’ve been discerning this on and off for 6 years, or any number of years, you definitely need to find a spiritual director who can help you sort this all out. I don’t see how anyone can seriously discern a religious vocation without a spiritual director.

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