Why does it feel like God is playing Vocational "hide and seek"with me?

I’m a 25 year old man who honestly doesn’t know what the heck to do with his life. I studied to be a social studies teacher, barely passed my student teaching, and have been substitute teaching and working at a grocery store since i graduated 2 years ago. Anyway a year ago I was just getting ready to do the Totus Tuus program for my diocese which is basically a more in depth VBS type thing where i traveled teaching kids for 2 months and it also included a lot of prayer and discernment on my part.
Anyway at the end of the summer I felt strongly that I was going to get another teaching endorsement in special education and do that because it felt more like where I was supposed to be. I also felt that I wanted to do this because my vocation was to get married and if I wanted to get married I should try and do something to make more money so I could support my family and have a job. I was so excited for it from about November-December until around now. Don’t get me wrong, I still love it and would love to work with disabled kids, however I still feel like I just don’t care anymore.

It all started a few weeks ago at a retreat where for some reason during the middle of private adoration for some reason a voice cried out in my head saying “I want to be a priest”. Now don’t get me wrong Its not that I don’t want to or that I’m against it. Its just that my own vocational story is complicated because I thought that I would become a priest because I couldn’t get girls to like me and felt like I wasn’t worth being with which is not a reason to become a priest. Thankfully I shed that attitude over the past few years. However now i’m confused again because the idea of the priesthood has come back. My fear though is that I hope it’s not for the wrong reasons. It’s tough because now I want to be a priest because I think i’d be a good one and would love to be able to help people.

However I do have some reservations, such as that I don’t know if it feels right. I remember last year being at a church practicing for lector and I stood in front of the altar and I remember feeling like God was telling me “this isn’t for you”. But now it feels like things have changed somewhat. It feels like a game of vocational game of hide and seek. Why can’t God in a clear voice just tell me “Do this” and just leave it at that. Or is God even talking to me at all? Anymore i’m just confused. I love God and just want to do his will, so why won’t he tell me what it is? Or am I just being too greedy and selfish and should just let things play out?.

If you are not at peace with the thought of being a priest then it’s not your vocation.
Just because you have not married yet does not mean that its not your vocation, God will let you meet her when he thinks it’s right. I know you would have heard this before but it’s true.
If you feel called to be a priest you have to have the signs of a vocation which are right motivations, desire for the life and ability to live the life. See vocations.com/discern/signs_pable.html

I already think it’s great you got you qualification and started working in the teaching area that’s great ! And it’s really good you have participated in church related things too. That’s more than I can say for myself.

My problem is though I don’t know if I feel at peace anywhere. Sometimes I wish I could just give up everything and completely rely on God, kind of like St Francis did or like John the Baptist. I just feel like anymore it feels like it’s too much work and at the end of the day I get depressed because I worry I just won’t find a job in my field like the last time. I don’t know what’s right for me anymore. I almost wonder if it’s my fault. I was sure my vocation was to be married and that’s why I wanted to do something to get a better job, but it feels like too much work to do so and in some ways I wish I could just chill out and depend on God rather than work so hard for something that might not even happen.

You could try setting up an appointment with a priest and get his thoughts on this matter.

The priesthood is not an escape from current problems, it is a vocational call. The reasons you listed seemed to be focused less on your spiritual qualities and more on your recent social, romantic, and occupational failures.

Please spend time in prayer and self-reflection. I’ve personally seen many people use seminary to hide from their life choices and it never works out well.

You mention just “chilling out and depending on God.” That’s a very misguided approach to the religious life. I guarantee that you will not be able to ever just chill out and wait for God to provide for you.

Ora et Labora is the Benedictine motto. It means pray and work. The service of God is not the refuge of the lazy.

Pray and seek spiritual guidance from your priest.

I heard a talk today by a priest in which he said that God lets us know our vocation at precisely the right time, not too soon and not too late. Perhaps He is preparing you gradually because you need(ed) to get some things out of your system? Or perhaps He is doing something else altogether. Whatever He has in mind for you, tho, be assured He does have a plan for you; it’s not that He’s still trying to decide where you fit in!

I’d agree with the poster above who suggested you talk with your priest. You might also want to find out what they do about student loans. This would help you whichever way God wants you to go.

WildCatholic, do you have a Spiritual Director?
I have one and he helps me recognise where God wants me. You don’t have to want a Religious vocation to seek Spiritual Direction, they can help you with spiritual matters in day to day lay life and help you recognise where God is leading you or wants you.

I had one that I saw but he lives too far away and at the time we both decided that the priesthood wasn’t for me. I mentioned how I felt called more to have a family and that’s why I went and got my masters. I felt it was important that I try and get a better job. The problem is another bad feeling resurfaced. The feeling is that I won’t get a good job in spite of my education and that i’ll end up being some minimum wage loser. Its not that I want to be rich but I want security. No woman wants to be with a 25 year old grocery bagger. It also doesn’t help that i’m 25 and most people I know are in relationships and don’t live with their parents. I know I know it isn’t that bad but it makes me feel like a crummy loser who doesn’t have a life or that something is wrong with me. What doesn’t help is that i’ll admit i’m entitled. I feel that because I follow God and pray every day and am devout that I should at least get some sort of reward. It doesn’t have to be much but if marriage and family are my vocation at least give me the opportunity get a job that provides for it. I’ve lost such confidence in the past few months. I feel like i’m stuck. Sure i’m getting a masters but an education doesn’t mean jack to employers.I think i’d be better off if I just worked as a full time grocery bagger or some other low wage job. That’s all I want.

The other thing is I know it’s what God wants but he doesn’t seem to tell me. People say look in ordinary things. Well how does that work. I feel almost like God is just so mysterious and forces me to look like he’s playing hide and seek. It also doesn’t help that I have this feeling about God not caring. I feel like god would just let me starve or let me be depressed. I feel like it’s my right to ask God for what I want but I anymore I get told it’s more what he wants. If that’s the case then why ask for things?

Here’s the thing though, what if God makes me wait until i’m in my 40’s or 50’s. Do I just sit and wait? It almost feels like anymore thats all I can do. Fortunately I’m patient at least externally but what makes God want to wait with me? I don’t get why i struggle vocationally while some people know from the minute they are walking that they want to get married or be a priest or religious or what have you. Am I just not god enough to receive that? Like I said my greatest weakness is probably that I feel entitled because of my faith.

A call to the priesthood isn’t something you feel because you don’t feel like you can be loved by a woman.

A call to the priesthood isn’t something you feel because you don’t have any other career opportunities.

A call to the priesthood isn’t something you feel because you are faithful and you work hard to do the will of God.

A vocation to the Catholic priesthood doesn’t serve as a silver medal when the rest of your plans don’t work out. It’s more than that.

I’m not telling you these things because I believe or I disbelieve that you are called to the priesthood. The reasons you mention just aren’t good. Please find a local priest and discuss your feelings with him. He will be better able to guide you on the right path.

I think you are putting too much emphasis on how you “feel”. I would encourage you to take a look at St. Ignatius’ Discernment Exercises. I don’t want to give too much advice as it’s impossible to know your situation but I would say maybe it’s time to seek out a new spiritual director.

I think part of the answer is in your moniker. :slight_smile:

The Dominican Friar brothers just posted a blog entry regarding St. Faustina’s works as being “Alter Christocentric”. From what they said, it sounds as if most priests don’t have their mental sacerdotal wits about them, nor do they understand their calling and the temptations that go along with it. Very thought-provoking and meditative, and I never saw the priesthood in the same light again.

My eldest son said he has prayed over his vocation, and God is telling him to be a priest. He has high-functioning autism and ADHD, so this is certainly going to be the grace of God working in him!

What kind of disabled kids have you been working with?


If you can go to a Jesuit retreat facility and do the Spiritual Exercises the way St. Ignatius intended them to be done, I think it would be awesome. Dr. Nicola Tesla did them–look what he did!


I’ve been working more with high needs kids but I have had children with Autism and I have a brother who suffers with HFA so I understand your struggle. You are right that most of the time a priest doesn’t know why they are called they just are. Sadly I don’t think a lot of people understand this, or at least my family doesn’t. My own priest is someone who isn’t the smartest man or the most well spoken but like St John Vianney he is a model priest and I respect him for that. Anyway it doesn’t help when both my parents would say things like “he should have stuck to being an auto mechanic” or “did they teach him grammar over at his school” Obviously they feel that only certain people should be called and honestly almost anyone can be.I hope your son is truly called because it would be a great gift.

just a hunch

what do you do for your prayer life?

Welll, found out that any contact with vocation directors has to be from the young man himself. We thought he would be able to attend the week-long retreat, but that was for those involved in the church. (Website didn’t say that). He’s been in community college since graduating high school (3 years) and hasn’t had a lot of time for parish involvement.

If someone has had their nose in books other than the Bible, how can they get a referral? Would he even be able to go on a private retreat?

We’re back in the groove of daily Mass now, since he’s taken the summer off. Hopefully, we can keep up Mass attendance. I’m decompressing this summer, since I’m ride and advocate for him. He now has his own place, and I told him to converse with God while he’s there. We put together a binder for him which has his morning and evening prayers, a place for his rosary, and “Will You Help Me?” Divine Mercy booklet.

We shall see, as the nuns always said.


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