By Dr. Mark Glafke, HSPP
Faithful young Catholics often desperately want to do God’s will in their lives. They take the idea of vocational discernment very seriously, turning to prayer, the sacraments, and spiritual or priestly counsel. It can feel like a daunting task: to discover and embrace whatever God desires for our lives.
Even secular-focused young adults can struggle for years in trying to answer the question of direction. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about 80 percent of U.S. college students change their major at least once and the average student changes majors at least three times.
In some cases, young people can even experience a level of paralysis in moving forward. The fear of making the “wrong” decision leads to making no decision at all.
Let Go of the Singular Focus
Although a singular focus on God is a good thing, let go of the idea that there is one ultimate “right answer” when it comes to discerning your vocation and your future. God is not playing a cosmic game of hide and seek.
Instead, God asks us, through the apostles, to “put out into the deep” (cf. Luke 5:4). This is not a test of our Love for Our Lord, but rather an invitation to discover our love for him and trust in him, as well as a promise that He is there to guide us and show us where to find not only happiness and peace, but an over abundance that we can only imagine.
Discern the Next Step
Remember that God does not force anything upon us. He simply desires us not only to seek the good in all things but to use our free will to make choices daily to love Him through our actions.
In essence, God allows us to choose directions, and then He guides us to what is best. When we remain in communication with Him and stay open to His graces through our lives, He gives us abundant opportunities to grow into happy, healthy, and holy individuals. He gives us everything we need to love and serve Him in this life and in the next.
The most important thing for us, then, is to make a choice to begin somewhere. It may not be our final destination, but whatever we choose next could be the first of many choices that lead us to growing confidence, consolation, and excitement about living life and ultimately doing God’s will.
Choosing to Love God and Neighbor
Remember that ultimately we are called to love God and neighbor. Many young adults may really be struggling to choose between competing goods like marriage and religious life, a job in North Carolina vs. Tennessee, or a career in education compared with starting an entrepreneurial venture.
Remember that we won’t find peace simply by discovering what we want to do, but by trusting that whatever we choose to do, we can willfully choose to love God with our whole, heart, mind and soul through it. We can also fulfill the second great commandment by loving our neighbor as ourselves through our chosen vocations and actions.
Living out those two commandments is God’s will for each of us. Use your free will to go out into the deep today and discover His love for you through whichever path you choose.