Vocational Doubts

If one has the answers to all the questions - that is the proof that God is not with him. It means that he is a false prophet using religion for himself. The great leaders of the people of God, like Moses, have always left room for doubt. You must leave room for the Lord, not for our certainties; we must be humble.
— His Holiness Pope Francis

Brothers & Sisters,

Discerning your vocation isn't always rainbows and butterflies. While there are plenty of moments where you'll find yourself filled with joy, there are also moments of doubt that we'll have to work through. I would argue that these moments might be more critical and pivotal in the process than a moment of joy, in fact, they'll often bring you to a moment of happiness in the end.

No matter where God is calling you there will always be challenges laid before you. However, beyond problems lies the ever looming presence of doubt. Perhaps we've come to understand that there is a gap in what we know and our brains start going a mile a minute about what else we could not understand. Here's a newsflash, we don't understand many things, and we can't have all of the answers. Let's address the elephant in the room that is "am I sure this is where God is calling me?" I've wrestled with this question a bit in the past few months as I travel along this path that God leads me down. I've found that these uncertain times while they aren't dark, they indeed aren't joy-filled, and yet the draw to prayer is higher than at other times during my day. At first, I'd find myself questioning myself and God and what He wanted from me. I never really got anywhere with this line of questioning, and I'd advise against it. Instead, I'd recommend that when you feel the pangs of doubt start to echo in your heart, stop what it is you're doing, say a prayer and have a conversation with God. Reaffirm with him that you're open to whatever He desires of us and that you'll accept whatever it is he permits to happen to us. Here's the prayer I say:

Cardinal Mercier Prayer
O Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul, I adore You. Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, console me. Tell me what I should do; give me Your orders. I promise to submit myself to all that You desire of me and to accept all that You permit to happen to me. Let me only know Your Will.

This prayer is great for centering your self before you have that ever important conversation and allows you to ensure that you're heart is open to whatever comes out of that chat. The Lord will make his desires quite clear to us when the time is right. If He's made his desire of you obvious and you're now thinking twice (a week or even years later) go back to prayer. Try and silence your mind as much as you can, attempt to figure out where the doubt might be coming from, peel back the layers and allow God to affirm once again, His desire of you. Also, understand that The Lord will place before you affirmations of your vocation and to observe them we must slow down our lives. Slowing down can be excruciatingly tricky given the world we find ourselves in these days. Put the phone away, go for a walk and open your heart. Feel His presence all around you and walking right along with you, let that doubt fall apart and fill that God-shaped hole in your heart back up with faith and love. Remember that you have a circle of support around you as well and you should never feel guilty about picking up a phone and calling someone for help.

Yours,
Jeff

Photo by Grant Whitty on Unsplash