Oh dear. I was doing so well with posting for a while, and then…I don’t know. My bad. Here’s a picture of Carmelite friars hitting a piñata as an “I’m sorry” gesture. 🙂
I’ve been taking a bit of a social media break over the past month. I just felt this strong pull to sit and think and, most importantly, listen.
Mostly, I’ve been pondering the scary-ish (for me, at least) question of Vocation. As in, what is mine? I confess, I haven’t given it a whole lot of thought over the past couple of years. Oops. But in the midst of moving up here and getting settled and working on trusting God more, I just haven’t had any time! Okay, well, I’ve had time, but I didn’t feel like I was in a space to be deciding anything major. But no more! I have a decent job, I have no debt, and I feel emotionally prepared to actually listen to what God is telling me instead of talking to myself and pretending that it’s God’s will for me. Do you hear that, Lord? I’m ready to listen to all the things!
However, let me just say this: I’ve already given religious life a serious try. About three years ago, I went through aspirancy with an amazing cloistered order in Kentucky. Obviously, it didn’t pan out, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have a good, spiritually fruitful time! Seriously, though. I don’t know if it was because I was younger (21! d’aww) or if it was my first time seriously away from home, but holy homesickness, Batman. That, combined with my inner people-pleaser
taking over my life coming out to play, which made me clam up something fierce (not good), combined with the death of a family member coming right at the end of aspirancy, made me seriously freaked out about religious life as it applied to me. Whenever someone tried to ask me, how was it? Or, are you going to try another order? I was like:
At the time, it felt like the end of the world, but now I just feel a little ridiculous when I think about it. Because nothing bad even happened to me! The nuns were lovely and awesome and kind and fun, and I learned SO much about myself, and I definitely grew up a little. I would definitely do it again.
Lately my prayer has been different. For the past three years, I was just like:
But now? Not so much. It’s a lot less fearful; it’s freer, somehow. I have been feeling the urge to tell God, “Take me wherever You need me to go. I’m not so afraid anymore.” It’s times like this when I am even more grateful that the Church, through the Liturgy of the Hours, gives me the words for the movements in my heart:
“Incline my heart according to your will, O God.”
“Speed my steps along your path, according to your will, O God.”
So. Here I am, back at square one. At first I was like, “Right…so…how do you discern again?”
Now, before someone goes, “Just do what you did before, Liz,” well, the last time I seriously discerned, I put my name on some mailing list, and a week later, my mailbox was stuffed with mailings from religious communities all over the country. I got stuff from over 80 different communities, multiple times. Yeah. All it did was bring out my indecisiveness and freak out my roommates. (Sorry, past roommates. I promise I’m not a religious nut. Well, actually, I am, but I’m the fun kind of religious nut!)
So I’m making it my mission to find a spiritual director soon-ish. I’m extremely nervous, mostly because I’ve never asked anyone to be my spiritual director before! Eeek. And all of this doesn’t mean that I’m looking to join religious life anytime soon. I’m definitely open to it, though! I just need some help getting going with discernment.
Anyway. This is basically a very long-winded way of saying, “Pray for me! Because I don’t know what the hell I’m doing! Yayyy!” But seriously. If anyone has any advice, throw it my way, please.
Until next time! I promise it won’t be a month. 🙂