Vocation confusion

Hi, I am new to this forum and I was hoping some of you might be able to give me some advice concerning vocations. I am a freshman in college and still living at home while I work through school. I am also currently a protestant but I am considering Catholicism. I will start at the beginning to illustrate the problem I am having.
I grew up in an extremely conservative Baptist family and loved the Lord very much from an early age. There were a great deal of internal problems that developed within the church my family was attending, so my parents decided to find another place to go. We went to many different churches throughout my youth and finally came to rest in the Breather an of Christ Church we are currently at.
A few years ago I met a wonderful virtues Catholic girl and fell very much in love with her. For around a year and a half marriage was the only vocation the presented itself and one which I was very excited about. I entered and RCIA program because I felt quite attracted to the catholic faith and I wanted to know more about it. This was fine with my family until about 3 months ago. I came home very excited about the idea of becoming a catholic. I had been reading a lot of books about the whole thing and been going to masses the whole time I was very much excited about the idea of marriage.

When the ceremony for the right of the catechumens came up things went south fast. My dad suddenly became very opposed to the idea. He had severely heated debates with me, and no matter the argument presented he refused to admit that is might be a direction God was calling me in. Several of the debates kept me up until 2 in the morning and got me back up at 5. This went on for about a two weeks. During that time he introduced me to many former Catholics and Protestants firmly opposed to the Catholicism. I met each of them in an open debate. I had done my research well and I feel God guided me through those debates. To every attack I had an answer and was able to convince most of the people making the attacks that they should go reexamine the catholic faith.

During this whole period of time I was constantly bombarded my things like maybe you should be a priest or what about that priesthood thing. I am one easily given to worrying about the future.  So tired and beat up I began to think about this and worry. My girlfriend was going through some hard times and was confused about the job she might have in the future and the anxiety transfer to me.  So for about a month of constant bombardment by these questions and assaults on a faith that I am not even part of yet I became very confused, I decided to hold off on becoming a catholic in order to respect my parents.  I have been praying the God will help my clear up the confusion ever since.

Recently my parents and those around me have settled down and have largely stopped making any attacks like those mentioned above. I am still confused however, I know I love the girl I am with very deeply and would very much like to marry here and share in God’s love with her, but now I have this nagging fear within myself. Many times I will wake up in the morning with a sense of gloom and something akin to terror in the forefront of my mind. I have tried repeatedly to give this to God and to trust him, but I feel abandoned.

As you can see I have very few places to turn to for advice, and I am simply hoping for some possible answers. I feel very conflicted some days. I feel a strong pull toward marriage and embracing the razing of my own children, but there is still a nagging fear that I many choose the wrong vocation. I have prayed since my child hood and even more intensely since I started dating this wonderful girl that God’s will would be done in this relationship. I have prayed so many times that if he did not want it he would cause it to end. There have been many uncertainties in the past that could very well have been the end to our relationship but God has always used these to draw us closer together.

If anyone can offer me some advice if would be greatly appreciated as there is not many other places I can turn to for it right now. If you have read this far thank you for your patience and time.


I feel for you.

What is the best thing about the idea of the priesthood for you? It’s possible that you might be able to do what you are called to do in a Third Order- in which case you can be married and have a family- or possibly as a deacon.

I personally am looking into becoming a Third Order Dominican (Order of Preachers).

“Carefully observe what way your heart draws you, then choose that way with all your strength” – An old Hasidic saying

Be sure to read up a bit on resources about choosing a vocation-- They really can help. In fact, some of the stuff I’m writing is from a Carmelite booklet. :stuck_out_tongue:
Your vocation should never make you “wake up in the morning with a sense of gloom and something akin to terror in the forefront of [your] mind”-- It might frighten you a little at first because it is a radical call, but after you look into it, you should feel very clear feeling peace, fulfillment, joy and certainty. :slight_smile: And that call, from what you have described, just might be marriage! :shrug: But depending on your age/how much more of “life” you have to get through to choose your vocation in finality, you may not know your vocation for a long time. And things might change. And they might not change. And either way, that’s okay.

Another thought…

Do you think Catholicism is the truth? How far are you willing to go to follow the truth? If Jesus is calling you to Catholicism, then what should you do about your family’s objections? The Bible has a few things to say about it.

“And at once, leaving the boat and their father, they followed him.” Mt 4:22 NJB
This was James and John.

“No one who prefers father or mother to me is worthy of me. No one who prefers son or daughter to me is worthy of me. Anyone who does not take his cross and follow in my footsteps is not worthy of me. Anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.” Mt. 10:37-39 NJB

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth: it is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword. For I have come to set son against father, daughter against mother, daughter-in-law against mother-in-law; a person’s enemies will be the members of his own household.” Mt. 10:34-36 NJB
Now here, Jesus is not encouraging hatred in the family or violence, but he is saying that he is a great cause of dissension. He will cause divisions in family life because someone will want to follow him, but the others won’t understand. And we’ve got to be okay with that, so long as we pray for our families and love them nonetheless. Following TRUTH will all of your heart and strength, even when your very family objects, is not dishonoring them if you are of an age of prudent decision making. In fact, if you follow truth and strive to bring it to them, too, aren’t you honoring them with your love and your wish for them to know truth? Food for thought. :wink:

It would also be a good idea to talk to a priest about your struggles, and hopefully he could help, too. Keep praying to know God’s will and for strength to do it! I will pray for you.

I came from a Protestant sect that makes the Southern Baptists look like a bunch of ultra liberals. My family absolutely revolted at the idea that i wanted to become a CATHOLIC!

I was 9 years old, and my uncles, my grandparents, etc just came unglued. I am certain that my grandfather prayed for my immortal soul every day for the rest of his life.

Right now, you have what is called, “Convert Zeal”. No seminary would take you as a newly professed Catholic. The odds are WAY too high that once you settle in, and get used to your church, that you will not feel a calling at all.

Relax right now. Get to know your faith, experience it for a few years. If you truly have a vocation, you will know.

If you are accepted into the Church this Easter, you will still have about 3-4 more years of college. See how you feel when you graduate. If you still believe you have a vocation, then apply to enter seminary. In the meantime, date some girls, get out and about socially, and let things take their course.

If you are really being called to the Priesthood, you will know in a few years.

This. Build a foundation in your faith first. There are many ministries to grow in your chosen faith. You may find that becoming a deacon is an alternative. It is the only vocation where you can receive all the Sacraments. A Third Order may be more to your liking. Check out the Knights of Columbus. However, first you need to get in the door and settle in. Get around some like minded friends and take part in Church or parish events.

First of all, I feel deeply with you and understand your confusion.

I, although being catholic, was raised by protestant stepparents, who weren’t very tolerant if it came to my faith. I ’ ve heard probably the same arguments and klischees about Catholicism as you did.

But the more they tried to talk me out of it, the more I knew that the catholic faith is the right faith for me. Unfortunately families sometimes think, it has something to do with your loayalty and love for them. Make them understand that it doesn’t. Make them understand that your personal relationship with the Lord is a catholic one and that you respect their faith and repsect and love them as your family as before.

May God guide you to find your way!

I was raised Catholic, but never really felt anything until my junior year in high school. The term “convert zeal” is what I felt when I truly saw the Catholic Church for what it is…fast forward three years and i’m about to enter seminary this Fall :slight_smile:

Thank you for all the responses. I have done many of the things you have suggested. I have also reacently met with my pastor and talked to him about what is gong on with me and I have noticed that whenever I surrender all the fears about this to God and give it back to him. I feel very certain of marriage and an overwelming scence of peace in that direction. My current pastor seems to think that this feeling of dred and discouragment is a form of an attach on me, which is trying to get me to enter the wrong vocation. He suggested that I resubmit myselft to Gods will and not accept these feelings and thoughts which are bringing such strife aversion and utter terror into my life as coming from our loving God. The Zeal you are describing I did have for a long time but if never made me tend toward the priest hood. I thought about your question phooiee and I can not think of anything that really attracts me to the priesthood. The only thing that I could think of was helping others. I have fealt for a long time that marriage is my calling, like i said there seems to be a lot of peace in that direction for me, and God appears to be moving me that way. I would like to know how I can continue to combate this fear as it does get to me and has drien me from the arms of our loving God. any advice would be appreciated as always.
Thanks again.

:slight_smile: I should note that since I have done as my pastor suggested I have noticed that the fear has melted away and I did not even feel called that way at all but was over come by a great scense of joy. will you please pray that this scens of joy and peace my continue?

One thing I use to combat my fears or hesitations is to e-mail my pastor. They usually send me words of encouragement or readings from scripture that may deal with my fears. Remember that they are there to help you on your path.

well good luck to you! both vocations are noble!

ok I have a similar question to the one posted at the begining of this message. I do not want to create a new thread because it pertains to the above situation. I have been dealing with this vocational confusion, and for a few days I will be at peace with God and pretty sure that Marriage is the way to go, and then I will wake up one morning terrified that it might be the opposit. Since I was little I have noticed a patter with majod desicions. I will be sure or nearly sure of somehting, and then I will second guess myself and worry about the whole thning. In this case the thing that terrifiys me is that I can’t know in one direction or the other for sure. I am not even at a point that I could do much if I did know. The feelings I wake up with concerning the priest hood I think came in durring the period of time that I was experiancing the truble with my family and many I others becasue of my potential conversion to catholosism. I keep hearing what about priest do you agree with that, and what are you going to become a priest or something now? that combined with a lot of other stuff seems to have ingraned this fear about vocations into me. I still am very much in love with my girl friend and hope very much that God will bless of with marriage, but I don’t know how to deal with these fears. I have met with pastors and priest. I have tried giving them up and everything in the book. it works for a while but they keep coming back. Every time I have a bad day or I am tired or something goes wrong. I give these things up and pray for Gods help and he seems to grant it, but after a while the fear and anxiety returnes. Can anyone offer me some advice on how to deal with this? a few pastors I have talked to think I may be under some form of spiritule attack. Considering my current lack of complete certainty in either the protestand or Catholic church I am very confused about how to deal with this. I should mention that when I wake up with that fear it is not something that always draws me close to God instead it sometimes leaves me dumbfounded and feeling like I can not turn to God. I know that is a lie but I have no idea how to deal with this. Sorry for the rambling, but I could really use some advice. Thanks again.

Hi David,

I think that maybe it might help to focus on one thing at a time… do you feel that now is a safer time to become Catholic? Do you feel drawn to the Church and that God is calling you to be Catholic? If that is the case, I think maybe you could become Catholic first and receive the Sacraments for several months, and then return back to thinking about vocations. My priest once told me, only make decisions like this when you are feeling peace… questions on vocation are best discerned through receiving the Sacraments, Adoration, prayer, and spiritual direction of course. That is why it might help you to become Catholic first, if that is what you believe and feel drawn to.

God bless


based on everything I’ve read or been told by priests, - peace is a great sign that something is from God.

**God would NOT terrify you into a vocation!!! **

This is something I actually read in a vocation booklet. God invites us… and does not terrify or scare us into anything. He wants us to choose His will out of love, not out of fear.

If you feel peace about marriage, after having prayed for God’s will and trying to be open to it, then that is your vocation. All the stories I’ve heard of people deciding to be priests, they always felt great peace and joy about it while praying or going to Mass, Adoration, etc.

Try to just give all this to God, and trust Him… we receive more when we trust. Be open to His will, tell Him that you want to do His will, pray about it, and trust Him, and then when you feel peace, - if at that time you will feel what your vocation is, that is more likely to be from God than waking up in fear every day.

God bless :slight_smile:

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