How Do I Discern My Vocation?
I’ve heard that everyone is called by God to some vocation. How do I find my vocation?
Fantastic. This is one of my favorite questions because a) it indicates that you realize that your life is not your own...it belongs to God, and b) it indicates that you care what God thinks about your life.
I can give you a guaranteed strategy for discovering God’s plan for your life. It basically involves asking yourself three questions each day. I promise you that, if you ask these questions of yourself regularly, you will never miss out on God’s plan for your life.
But before we get to these (apparently) golden questions, there are two principles that must be clearly expressed. You’ve known them since you were in Second grade. The first is this: God knows you better than you know yourself. This means that God knows why you are alive. He knows how you think. He knows what you love. He knows exactly what will make you happiest in this life. The second principle is this: God loves you better than you love yourself. So the thing that you were made for? God wants that for you. The thing that will make you the most happy? You can trust that God wants this for you. Those two principles add up to this reality: you can trust God. Period.
Knowing this, let’s get to the three questions.
First, every day ask yourself this question: Am I in a state of grace? If not, get to Confession and get reconciled with God. This is critical. If I am trying to discern what God wants for my life, but I am disconnected from God, what are the chances that I am going to be able to hear Him clearly? You know how we sometimes can’t see things clearly when we are in the middle of a situation? If I am in serious sin, it is very unlikely that I will be able to see God’s will with any sense of clarity. If there is serious sin in my life, I can be easily deceived, so get to Confession.
The second question is: Am I doing my daily duty? This is extremely concrete. If I am a student, am I doing my best to get my work done and to class on time? If I am a husband, am I loving my wife and doing my best to serve my family through my work? Basically, look at your calendar (the things you have to do) and ask yourself, am I doing these things to the best of my ability? If I am not doing the basics that my current state of life requires, it is highly unlikely that I will respond when God asks me to respond in a more dramatic way. Put it like this: think of the tasks on your calendar as God’s will for your life today. If you are saying yes to God’s will in these little things, you are training yourself to say yes to God in big things.
The third question: Did I pray today? This should be a no-brainer. I mean more than, “Bless us O Lord...” and “Now I lay me down to sleep...”. Really pray. Talk to God. It doesn’t make any sense to say, “What does God want me to do...?” and never take the time actually talk to God and ask Him the question. And then wait for Him to respond.
I absolutely promise that you will know God’s plan for your life if you follow this simple plan. How can I be so confident? Because I remember the first two principles and I trust that God wants you to know why you are alive. Now you can be patient and never worry that you might miss out on God’s plan. He will not be one moment too late. But if you are getting impatient, remember that He won’t be one moment too early, either. If He isn’t revealing His plan just yet, it is only because you aren’t supposed to know just yet. Just trust God and ask the three questions.
Fr. Mike Schmitz is the chaplain at University Of Minnesota-Duluth and is the director of Youth and Young Adult ministries for the diocese of Duluth. The posts on this page were originally published for The Northern Cross. You can email Fr. Mike your questions here.