What do you do when you don't feel called either way?


#1

I'm having a hard time with this discernment thing. I'm 28 years old. I've never felt a strong calling to anything except a general desire to serve. At one point in my life I thought perhaps I would make a good minister because I am actually quite charismatic in person (I'm the girl who convinced an atheist, an openly homosexual non-denominational Christian and an anti-Catholic Christian to come to my Confirmation - not to toot my own horn but just as an example of my personality - I kind of draw people in like a moth to a flame and I don't really even know how I do it, I just do it), of course now I'm Catholic so I realize being a 'minister' isn't a possibility. As a child I was what you might call a force to be reckoned with when it came to Christianity, I spoke my faith loudly and confidently and people usually listened, but I lost my way.

Anyway. These days I don't feel particularly called to anything! Single Life? Fine. Marriage? Okay. Sister? Sure why not? I feel completely neutral towards all the vocations, with no particular leaning towards any. Mentally the idea of dedicating my life to the service of God alone appeals but I feel no emotional or even spiritual draw at this point.

Now, I realize that I've only JUST been confirmed so there's no huge rush but on the same hand I've always been this way. I've never felt any strong pull towards anything.

I suppose all I can do is pray but I'm curious to know if there are others who've been here and where you ended up? Right now I find the current state of things very confusing because I'm not sure how I should proceed. Patience! It's a virtue I haven't fully developed yet!

Are there any specific vocation prayers that anyone knows that might be helpful? I'm not even sure how to pray about this one? I'm just getting back into prayer (well, it's only been one year since I returned) and the study of God's word and all that so I suppose I shouldn't even be thinking about vocations yet but I can't help but feel a little bit lost.

I suppose a big start would be to just start reading this vocations forum... So I'll get right on that. :D

Thanks for listening guys. To summarize my questions are:

Does anyone else feel no particular draw to any vocation?
Has anyone who struggled with not feeling called to any vocation found their vocation?
Are there any vocation specific prayers that could help?


#2

Don't force anything. God will reveal your vocation to you in His time, and when He does, you will have no doubts.

In the meantime, work on your spiritual life, and pray as you discern. Here are a few things that help:

1) Frequent Communion and Confession
2) Spend lots of time in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Try to visit every day if you can.
3) Pray. A lot.
4) Get a spiritual director. There is no better way to help discern your vocation.
5) Go on a vocations retreat. Usually there are retreats for every type of vocation. Go on a few and see what comes of it.
6) Do a General Confession. You mentioned in your post that you lost your way. I have myself as well, and I am recently about to do my first general confession. It's a good thing to do to officially "close the book" on your old ways and firmly commit yourself to Christ. Many of the saints did general confessions.
7) Be patient. Many make the mistake of rushing things. They don't get an answer so then they try and force it. Sometimes God deliberately gives us late vocations just to teach us patience. And the happiness you will gain from your patience will pay off later in life.

I realize I didn't directly answer your questions, but I think that will help to give you a better perspective on vocations. I will say a prayer for you!


#3

You may want to look into becoming a lay member of an order, such as the Franciscans, who are very service oriented. It may lead to an apostolate or a religious vocation or simply parish involvement. In any case, God will lead you into what he desires you to do as long as you are open to letting him direct you. I'd also encourage you to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, starting with Morning and Evening Prayer and perhaps Compline. Every religious order prays the Divine Office, so that's a good place to start. All the best. :)


#4

Oh! I forgot to add; It seems like any religious person I've spoken to felt 'called' from early EARLY in their lives. Is this always the case? Any Sisters/Brothers who were called later in life?

And thank you both so far for your advice! I'm an impatient person. :\ Now that I'm ON the right path I just want to run forward and do what I'm supposed to do... It's rough!

PS: I'm starting to think my saint should be St. Peter because he and I have a lot in common. :D


#5

I think a good place to start is taking a good look at what your interests are. Sometimes we downplay our hobbies in life, but actually our skills and likes are gifts from God. The gifts we use to fulfill His plan. By following our interests the vocation question gets answered along the way.

I was single for many years. I've been married for ten years. I still feel a pull towards the priesthood, and this may occur later in life. So life is full of vocations.

At 28 follow your interests. See what path it leads you down.


#6

[quote="nickybr38, post:4, topic:238963"]
Oh! I forgot to add; It seems like any religious person I've spoken to felt 'called' from early EARLY in their lives. Is this always the case? Any Sisters/Brothers who were called later in life?

[/quote]

Obviously some vocations can come at a very early age. But many times it requires some real encouragements as well.

For those who can read Chinese, take a look at the profile of Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong Cardinal Zen. cathedral.catholic.org.hk/interviews/cardinal_Zen/bishop_zen.htm

His father was a Shanghaiese and was a new Catholic and wanted to become a priest, but it was not recommended for new Christians at the time. So he put his hope on Joseph Zen.

He would lure Joseph to all five Sunday Masses with a rich breakfast. His father died of stroke when he was secondary 1, and Joseph started to be rebelious. His mother's friend knew about this and found ways to convince Joseph to enter the seminary. He was only twelve when he entered.


#7

[quote="PLAT, post:6, topic:238963"]
Obviously some vocations can come at a very early age. But many times it requires some real encouragements as well.

For those who can read Chinese, take a look at the profile of Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong Cardinal Zen. cathedral.catholic.org.hk/interviews/cardinal_Zen/bishop_zen.htm

His father was a Shanghaiese and was a new Catholic and wanted to become a priest, but it was not recommended for new Christians at the time. So he put his hope on Joseph Zen.

He would lure Joseph to all five Sunday Masses with a rich breakfast. His father died of stroke when he was secondary 1, and Joseph started to be rebelious. His mother's friend knew about this and found ways to convince Joseph to enter the seminary. He was only twelve when he entered.

[/quote]

I wonder what he attributes his calling to? The waffles or the eggs?

As a parent, I don't think I would encourage my 12 year old son to hear any "calling" except his Mother's calling to set the table.


#8

My bad. His father had not passed away yet at that point.

Umm… no? The passage also quotes that even at naughty times Zen felt that his calling was correct. So no waffles and eggs. The fact that he lived in Shanghia, China explains it:p. It takes some effort to attend all five masses, u’know, not even altar boys would be doing that for more than two masses now?

Perhaps I didn’t do my best at translating though. The fact remains that parental encouragement is a very important part of vocation.

Yeah just remember that this is pre-communist China.


#9

[quote="PLAT, post:8, topic:238963"]
My bad. His father had not passed away yet at that point.

Umm... no? The passage also quotes that even at naughty times Zen felt that his calling was correct. So no waffles and eggs. The fact that he lived in Shanghia, China explains it:p. It takes some effort to attend all five masses, u'know, not even altar boys would be doing that for more than two masses now?

Perhaps I didn't do my best at translating though. The fact remains that parental encouragement is a very important part of vocation.

Yeah just remember that this is pre-communist China.

[/quote]

Bribing with food was a classic way to make converts in pre-Mao China.

The 'converts' were called rice Christians.


#10

I wasn't called to religious life very early. I was 18. I had spent weeks praying about whether to marry my boyfriend. When I was finally ready to hear God's answer it came.

The answer was vague, though. Jesus told me I could marry boyfriend or I could marry Him. So it wasn't until after I broke up with that boyrfriend that I really considered discerning that call.

My point is twofold: 1) Jesus tells us that if we ask we will receive, so pray on this (and try to have patience in waiting for the responce). 2) God wants us to be active in the discernment process, so be observant...see what moves you at your deepest level - this should help to prepare you to receive your calling.


#11

[quote="SilverGracie, post:10, topic:238963"]
I wasn't called to religious life very early. I was 18. I had spent weeks praying about whether to marry my boyfriend. When I was finally ready to hear God's answer it came.

The answer was vague, though. Jesus told me I could marry boyfriend or I could marry Him. So it wasn't until after I broke up with that boyrfriend that I really considered discerning that call.

My point is twofold: 1) Jesus tells us that if we ask we will receive, so pray on this (and try to have patience in waiting for the responce). 2) God wants us to be active in the discernment process, so be observant...see what moves you at your deepest level - this should help to prepare you to receive your calling.

[/quote]

Thank you. I think I needed to hear that. :)

I've contacted one of the sisters from my diocese and I will be discussing some of these things with her.


#12

Hi Nicky! I hadn't seen your post before, only a few days ago I posted something that went pretty much along the same lines. I understand you quite well...it's a frustrating and sometimes scary place to be, but I guess we have to keep persevering to trust God, knowing that we are living exactly what's He's got planned out for us. Check out the advice everyone gave me on the thread that I started...it has all been so helpful for me!! Also, whenever you have the chance, read this: jesuits.ca/Join_us/discerning_your_vocation.php I came accross this yesterday, and found it really interesting and encouraging.

The best of luck to you, and God bless!


#13

[quote="lauralh4, post:12, topic:238963"]
Hi Nicky! I hadn't seen your post before, only a few days ago I posted something that went pretty much along the same lines. I understand you quite well...it's a frustrating and sometimes scary place to be, but I guess we have to keep persevering to trust God, knowing that we are living exactly what's He's got planned out for us. Check out the advice everyone gave me on the thread that I started...it has all been so helpful for me!! Also, whenever you have the chance, read this: jesuits.ca/Join_us/discerning_your_vocation.php I came accross this yesterday, and found it really interesting and encouraging.

The best of luck to you, and God bless!

[/quote]

Thank you very much! Best of luck to you too! It's not easy to discern but I'm sure God will lead us both where we need to be!


#14

[quote="nickybr38, post:4, topic:238963"]
Oh! I forgot to add; It seems like any religious person I've spoken to felt 'called' from early EARLY in their lives. Is this always the case? Any Sisters/Brothers who were called later in life?

And thank you both so far for your advice! I'm an impatient person. :\ Now that I'm ON the right path I just want to run forward and do what I'm supposed to do... It's rough!

PS: I'm starting to think my saint should be St. Peter because he and I have a lot in common. :D

[/quote]

No not always. Fr Corapi is a great example of a delayed vocation and I hear a lot about that becoming the norm. I felt a call at 36. It is different for everyone I feel. I don't think that you have to be called as a child. Talk to Sacred Heart they are there to help the 30 and older to discern their call. So if a seminary caters to second career vocations then it is not only you. There are many. God Bless


#15

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