You may have a picture in your head of your ideal future – a dream of the way you would like your life to go. This may involve a spouse, a dog, six children, and a white picket fence, or it may look more to you like a life spent deep in prayer and service, or even in total isolation in a monastery or abbey.
Whatever your dream is, these are likely the images that pull on your heart, and are often a motivation for prayer and action. These dreams of things to come are good, wholesome, and beautiful, and are usually put on your heart by your Maker. But what if some of those dreams are so consuming that you’re overlooking what God might actually want for you?
As a Catholic, one of the most important matters you can reflect upon is your vocation, which will ultimately set the course for the rest of your life. Accepting God’s plan may require an alteration of your dreams and ambitions, because when you know your vocation, it will become the single most important thing in your life. A vocation is different from a career or a profession. Rather, it is the reason for which you have been born, and the reason why God designed you the way He did. Not intimidating at all, right?
If you’re a control freak, like me, you might be thinking, But I already know what I want. Isn’t that proof that my dream is my calling?
Yes…but maybe no. I will tell you that the only thing I’ve ever wanted consistently throughout my life is marriage. I’ve romanticized love from the time I was a little girl, and my passion for it only grew when I lived my first real taste of it over the course of a six-year relationship. However, the caveat about romantic love is that it is very easy to get wrapped up in it to the point that everything else becomes secondary – including your identity in Christ. Romantic love is, no doubt, wonderful, but it is God who should be at the center of your life. Perhaps before you are capable of fully understanding this – before you learn to put human love in its proper place – God has other plans for you.
In my own life, God continues to make me wait for the one thing I’ve always wanted most. It got to the point, a few months back, where I actually found myself in a bathroom stall at midnight in a city hundreds of miles away from home, tears streaming down my face as I thought out loud to God: This is hurting me. It is hurting me to wait for my husband.
Looking back on that experience – despite the fact that it only happened three months ago – I realize that God has been preparing me. Maybe it’s for marriage, or maybe it’s for several more years on my own. Maybe it’s for a life of singleness or service. The fact is, I don’t know what God wants for me, yet. I only know that my heart still yearns to be joined in perfect communion with another person’s. However, I also know that I am willing to go wherever God leads me, so that I can reach all that His love orders for me. He created me for a purpose, and I will chase after that purpose until I’ve found it.
Similarly, He created you for a specific purpose, and He will guide you to it and reveal it when the time is right – but only if you are open to His divine will. Being open doesn’t have to mean that you’re in love with the idea of singleness, or service, or anything else that sounds less than appealing, right now. It just means that you have to let go of your chokehold on what you believe you want, in order to be open to whatever God is trying to put on your heart.
No matter what your calling may be, you were created for sainthood. For holiness. For perfect communion with God, and with others. Don’t be discouraged if you’re still trying to figure out God’s plan for your life. Simply stand still, and let Him move.
Lindsey Todd graduated from West Chester University in 2016 with a B.A. in English, and currently works as a technical writer for Mars, Inc. In her free time, she enjoys creative writing, singing, playing with her dog, reading, and exercising. She also loves art, fashion, and deep political and theological discussion. She has a special devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and a special love for St. Pope John Paul II. Lindsey is passionate about sharing the beauty of pure love with others, particularly as a Catholic writer. You can learn more about her work at www.lindseytodd.net. Lindsey currently resides in Bucks County, Pennsylvania with her family.