05 April 2017

One Simple Vocation

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I've been thinking a great deal lately about what to be. A butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker. A religious sister, a wife, a mother. 

I've been thinking a great deal lately about what I am. A daughter, a sister, a friend. A young adult, a city dweller, a nature lover.

I've been thinking a great deal lately about how what I am and what to be should or do intersect. I have spent hours puzzling over which role I am more comfortable performing, over what my strongest gifts and talents are. I have second guessed half the "important" choices in my life, wondering if I have by some accident led myself down the wrong path. What if I am still headed down the wrong path?

With these fatalistic thoughts, of course, comes the biggest fatality of all: what if I am failing God? What if He is sitting there, frustrated that I just keep missing the signs and screwing up?

This is precisely where I have now learned to stop and reorient my thinking. For starters, God is never just sitting there. He is always an active participant in this process. He wants me to stop worrying, stop confusing myself, and instead, listen. He is trying to have a conversation with me. He wants me to stick with conclusions we reach together. He wants me to trust Him. He wants me to dwell in His will.

I could claim my constant pondering and floundering is an issue of control, because goodness knows I like control. But honestly, I know those questions and their answers are not a matter of my control. No, my scruples come from an enormous desire to fulfill God's will for me, and to not get it wrong. 

I realized recently that with these questions, I had enlarged God's will into this monolith, as if God's will is only a matter of my vocational state in life. I had convoluted His will so greatly that I started thinking, if I don't figure this one thing out right now, I am stuck and not following what He wants of me

And then I read this:

"You see, God's will for you is to serve him, in his way, as he chooses, now. It is only a want of humility to think of extreme vocations, like being a nun or a nurse, while you try to bypass your present obvious vocation, which is to restore your will to God's, so that you may become what he wants you to be, and may be able to use the faculties he has given to you for his service."

It's simple, really. Not easy, but simple. God's will is not about making one large choice. His will is about small choices, each and every day. It's about building a relationship with Him - and as a daughter, sister, friend, I understand relationship very well. Conversation, reflection, and action are the building blocks of good relationships. If I nurture those three things in my relationship with God, I will naturally fall into His will, and from there, all else – all those extreme vocations – will fall into place. Today, I need to look at what is before me and ask myself, how in this exact moment can I use my gifts to accomplish this, to make it a service to God? 

Not much remains of Lent. The season of purging will soon give way to the season of abundance. But these last days should not go to waste, and the fruits of the season should not end come Easter. We do not stop at the cross, and we surely do not stop at the Resurrection. I want to focus on listening, not thinking. I want to focus on trusting, not controlling. I want to focus on being in the present, not worrying about the future. I want to understand and utter Jesus’ words: Thy will be done.

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