Monday, May 18, 2015

Pressure About My Vocation Discernment

After writing about my vocation confusion and fear, I got a number of great, supportive messages (some on here, mostly on Twitter and Facebook). The word "brave" was used quite a bit but I don't think of myself as being particularly brave. I was just honest. Of course, when you open up yourself like that, you're also inviting some messages that aren't particularly helpful (though they're definitely well meaning.)

If it didn't come across in the last post, I've been feeling an incredible amount of pressure to re-discern the religious vocation from a lot of people who know me well. While it's flattering that people think I would be worthy of the vocation of a religious sister, the pressure of making it my vocation is incredibly overwhelming at this point. The peace in my heart rests in the vocation of marriage and motherhood yet I feel like I'm being pushed away from it by others.

Last night I reached a point where I just spilled what I was feeling onto a letter I wrote to my future spouse. (side note: I've written a number of letters to my future spouse for several months now.) I'm sure he won't mind if I share parts of what I wrote with y'all, especially if it'll help someone else going through something similar.

I was supposed to be sleeping at the time I wrote this but I sort of had this moment of clarity (and this was right after my nighttime prayers, which included day 3 of the Pentecost novena) so I just stayed up and spilled it onto the pages of the latest letter.

"I keep feeling like I'm being forced to think about the religious life. I get a peace thinking and praying about (the) marriage vocation. I'm not afraid of the religious or single life. Marriage scares the heck out of me. Choosing the wrong spouse scares me. Childbirth scares me. Not having the vocation of wife and mother scares me.

I'm currently feeling... sort of relief as I'm writing this. A very... relaxing and almost peaceful feeling is replacing the anxiety (and) pressure I've felt over the past couple of days... I've even feeling happy about this; like I'm meant to do this and I shouldn't have let others influence me this much.

The thought of being (a) wife and mother... brings me joy, peace, and excitement. Yes, I'm still worried about choosing (the) wrong (fella) because of how terrible my track record has been thus far, but I think that's natural... Childbirth scares the crumbs out of me but the thought that one of (my) future children may be a future priest or nun makes me excited. Thinking about the positive changes (my) future children and grandchildren may do in a world that pulls further away from Christ makes me so happy. Am I getting my sought after answer writing this...?"

I had to modify and omit some things but you get the gist of it. After so much pressure -- to the point where I wanted to cry -- I just let go and wrote it all out. As I wrote about it, I began to feel peace. The more I wrote, the more I felt enveloped with a sense of serenity and love. It almost felt (and quite literally) like a very cool sensation start from my chest and go down to my feet. Not in a "I'm cold" way but in a way that made me feel very at ease. Then I felt a lot of love for my future family.

I'm sure everyone who has been gently (and not so gently) pushing me to think about the religious life means well but I've repeatedly said that it doesn't seem to be my vocation. I know I'm turning 30 years-old next week (30 on the 30th; easy to remember ;D) and that that means it's "too late" in the eyes of some people but, please, don't rush me. And, if it makes any of you "you should discern the religious life" people happy, I have been discerning becoming a lay Dominican or Carmelite for some time now; a married lay Dominican or Carmelite. That will also be a slow process because my spiritual director wants me to finish grad school first; I don't want to overwhelm myself with too much at once. I'm not in a rush so please be patient with me and with Him since I will be doing His will, not my own. :)

I'm just sharing this because I don't want to reach the point where I'm going to be crying (my default when I'm feeling overwhelmed or very upset) because of the pressure.

OH! I'm starting my last novena in my 20s on the 20th. It's going to be the St. Therese 24 Glory Bes novena. If anyone wants to join, please let me know so I can send you a reminder of the day we're on. This novena isn't for me (though I'm doing it for personal intentions), the prayer intentions are your own; I just wanted to do the novena that helped me the most during the majority of my 20s as the last one I did before I turned 30. :D

Anyway, I hope y'all had a great weekend and have a great week as well. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D


Amanda Marie said...

I totally hear where you are coming from with this. I have been having a hard time in the discerning process as well. I keep feeling pushed towards religious life and have been considering consecrated virginity but I'm really not sure. I also, in a way, feel the calling to be a mother. It is a rather confusing and entirely personal process (that of discerning).
I hope you find peace with everything. I will be praying for you.

With God,

Emmy Cecilia said...

Thank you, Amanda! Prayers for your discernment as well. :D <3

MCH said...

I'm finally catching up on all of this. I think it's so hard to feel the expectations of others who aren't loving it/inside our heads. Like the whole 'when are you going to start having kids?/is Johnny getting a siing soon?/are you done yet?' ridiculousness that many married couples deal with. It's like, can we just let each other live a little? So thanks for sharing what you did so honestly. I think it's important for people to know that just because someone is single/hasn't met their intended yet, they should just be swept into the default category of 'they must have a religious vocation!' I believe God puts desires on our heart for a reason. And as my mom always says, "sometimes when we thing we want something or we're supposed to do something, the answer isn't necessarily "no," it's just "not now" or "not yet." Keep on keepin on, friend. I'll be praying for you.

MCH said...

And that would be 'living it ' not 'loving it' and 'sibling' not! Because autocorrect. ;)

Emmy Cecilia said...

Thank you, MCH! And, yes, exactly. I can appreciate people wanting the best for me but they aren't living my life so sometimes the words (though well meaning) aren't helpful.

Anonymous said...

If it's any comfort, my mom didn't meet my dad until she was 30, they married when she was 35 and she had me (their oldest) 3 days before she turned 36. My dad was 38 when they met, 43 when they married, and 44 when I was born. You've got plenty of time!

Emmy Cecilia said...

Theresa - Thanks! My being a bit older than most (and not by much, btw) seems to be an issue for other people more than it is for me.