Are you struggling with the uncertainty of your vocation? One of the perhaps unexpected struggles that faithful single Catholics often face is the inability to know for certain what God wants them to do with their lives.
A lot of us tend to have the idea that, eventually, we will just know that God is calling us to marriage, or to a religious or priestly vocation. But this certain knowing doesn’t always happen. Father Mike Schmitz made an interesting video with Ascension Presents for those of us who aren’t clear on God’s calling when it comes to our vocation.
In this video, he says a lot interesting things for those in this predicament of lacking clarity about their vocation. Here are the main takeaways he offers, if your vocation isn’t becoming clear to you.
You do know some things for certain
If you’re struggling to make sense of which vocation God is calling you to, it might be a good idea to start by looking at things you can know for certain. Father Mike says that the most obvious thing we can always know for certain about God’s vision for our life is that he wants us to be saints.
It’s kind of a given. Yet it can be easy to lose sight of this as we struggle through the discernment process and try to figure out more details of God’s plan for us. But starting with a focus on this call to be a saint can help us to grow in ways that we need to grow before we can hear God’s call more clearly, or before we will be ready to faithfully live out this call.
Concretely, Father Mike says that this call to be a saint always begins with becoming someone who says yes to God in all things. That means we say yes to following God’s commandments, going to confession when we sin, and serving those around us. A good place to start on this path to knowing our vocation can actually be to work on becoming a person who is in the habit of saying yes to God, whatever it might be that he is calling us to each day or in each moment.
Saying no to obvious “no”s
Another point Father Mike speaks on is the need to say no to things that are obvious “no”s for our lives, as we work on discernment of our vocations. This can mean different things for different people.
If you’ve struggled with repeated sin, you need to work on saying “no” to those things so you can say “yes” to God better. For others, this saying “no” might actually be ruling out vocational choices that we know are poor fits for us. For example, it’s definitely possible to know that some subset of religious life is not right for us, even if we’re not sure about religious life in general.
You could even take this saying “no” idea into your Catholic online dating experience. If you know that you would struggle to remain strong in your faith while dating someone who didn’t share your faith, there are some potential dates you should probably say “no” to, or create accounts only on Catholic dating platforms.
Chose an area to work on
Another practical tip Father Mike gives for anyone on this discernment journey is to pick one area of your life to work on each week, or one virtue to strive for. As you spend your week striving to grow in the practice of a particular virtue, you will start growing closer to God’s vision for your life.
This is a practice that can extend far past your vocational discernment years and can help you to become a holier person in general. It can also be a very helpful tool to bring into a Catholic dating relationship, to strive for holiness as a couple, if you begin down that path.
Make small decisions first
One very poignant truth Father Mike points out is something that he heard from another person about Catholics who are in this discernment phase of their lives: “Ever since discernment became popular, no one has made a decision.”
We wait for clarity, because we want be certain of what God is calling us to do. We put off making these decisions until we “know.” Suddenly, the time has come when we need to make a big, pressure-filled decision. This scenario sounds kind of terrible, especially for those of us who like this idea of certainty and tend to seek control over all aspects of our lives.
A much better plan, Father Mike says, is to begin with a small decision. What does this mean concretely? Perhaps it means that, instead of saying to yourself, “I must decide whether or not to become a priest,” it’s a decision of whether or not to enter the seminary. Or an even smaller decision would be whether or not to get a spiritual director who can help you discern if you should enter the seminary.
If your discernment seems like it might be headed toward marriage, you don’t need to immediately make the firm decision to get married. A more practical small decision to make might be to begin online dating. Doing some casual online dating on a Catholic dating app could help lead you to finding the person God is calling you to marry, but beginning it is not some huge, unalterable decision by any means.
Father Mike says that the advantage of making smaller decisions first is that, besides how much less intimidating they are, we can alter our course and make adjustments as needed on such a path of small decisions. If we make a small decision and it turns out to be the poor choice, we can just make another small decision to get back into the right direction.
What will your discernment look like?
Discernment doesn’t need to be intimidating. Even when it feels like the answer to our vocation question is far away from us, there is still a lot we can do to start progressing down the right path.
Are you ready to take the next small step to discern if God is calling you to the vocation of marriage? Finding someone who shares your Catholic faith and values on an online dating app shouldn’t feel like shopping for a spouse. We want to help single Catholics stop shopping and start discerning, and that’s why we’re not just a dating app. We’re a discernment app.
Catholic Singles is making Catholic dating more natural and simple by matching members through their shared interests, all while helping them connect without having to pay for messaging. You’re a person, not a profile picture. Our online dating app recognizes your human dignity.
Catholic dating should be fun, enjoyable, and natural. Our app is the first step to real, lasting relationships. We are committed to continually rolling out new and improved features to help our members find someone who shares their faith and values!