Day 27 - Discernment Tip #5: How will I know??
Welcome to another week in our 40 Days for Vocations! This week, I will be sharing with you some of my favorite tips for discernment.
Linking up today with Kelly. Check out the new design of her planner! I'm thinking I need to budget for one. I haven't needed a planner for homeschooling preschool, but I'm thinking there will be more curriculum to juggle with Kindergarten!
I think that a common concern for those discerning is, "But how will I know?!"
I remember wondering the same thing, and feeling frustrated when people would respond, "You'll know. Don't worry." Other than assuring you that you will know in your heart, when God is calling you in a certain direction, I also want to tell you.. you won't know. There is no absolutely certainty this side of heaven. But, that being said, you can know with as much certainty as is humanly possible. And God will give you the grace to reach that point.
So here are seven ways you may know that you are being called to a particular vocation.
Peace. One of the surefire signs that something is your vocation is that you will know tremendous peace. That doesn't mean you aren't afraid, or aren't doubtful at times...but there will be a much deeper peace that "surpasses understanding." This peace goes beyond mere emotion - it is a deep spiritual peace, unlike any other, and you will know it when you see it.
You can't stop thinking about it. If you really, truly are being called to something, you won't be able to shake the thought of it. I remember when Andrew and I were discerning marriage. Once God started nudging us to get engaged, we couldn't shake that nudging. We found ourselves thinking about it, even when we weren't trying.
You can't get a moment's peace. I know, I know...I just said that peace was one of the hallmarks, right? Well, that peace comes when you decide to say "yes." Prior to that peace, you may feel a lot of agitation. Once you feel God is calling you to do something, you will not be able to rest until you give your consent.
Others affirm your vocation. It may be that you were often told that you would make a good priest, or nun, or mother or father. Often someone will have planted that seed for your vocation, and you may recall those early seeds when you in the process of discerning. Those words of affirmation may make you feel more confident in the vocation you feel God is calling you to.
Others oppose your vocation. It is very common that a true vocation will be tested. If you are doing God's will, people will oppose it or be confused by it. Often, it is well meaning friends and family who care about you, and want what's best for you. Don't fight this opposition, even if it may be hard to deal with at the time. This opposition will strengthen your call, if your call is true. Andrew and I had friends and family who were concerned about us getting engaged too early on - but in the process of explaining to them our reasons, those reasons became firmer for us. If you have a vocation, God will give you the grace to say "yes" to it - but He may also use those you love to help refine that "yes."
You are scared. There are two kinds of fear. One is unhealthy - a fear that comes from being worried about the wrong things. For example, being "afraid of being a nun," and just wanting to be a nun because otherwise God will be mad at you - bad fear. But another kind of fear is healthy - fear of taking on a new challenge, trying something different, or fear in the face of something awe inspiring. This kind of healthy fear is part of the discerning process. This fear doesn't mean you shouldn't do anything. It is normal to feel afraid of new things, and feeling afraid doesn't necessarily mean something isn't your vocation. It depends what kind of fear it is.
You feel you are being handed a gift. Something that I didn't anticipate was how incredible blessed I felt when I finally discerned my vocation. I felt as if God were handing me the most tremendous gift. I felt so loved. Yes, I felt loved by Andrew, but even more so - I felt loved by God. I felt as if I had been seeking out a way to give God the gift of myself, but He surprised me by giving me a gift that far exceeded any I could give.
Tomorrow we'll talk about saying yes!
Please continue to pray for vocations with us!
O God, Father of all Mercies,
Provider of a bountiful Harvest,
Provider of a bountiful Harvest,
send Your Graces upon those
You have called to gather the fruits of Your labor;
preserve and strengthen them in their lifelong service of you.
Open the hearts of Your children
that they may discern Your Holy Will;
inspire in them a love and desire to surrender themselves
to serving others in the name of Your son, Jesus Christ.
Teach all Your faithful to follow their respective paths in life
guided by Your Divine Word and Truth.
Through the intercession of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary,
all the Angels, and Saints, humbly hear our prayers
and grant Your Church's needs, through Christ, our Lord. Amen. (source)