I realized last week that I don't like dating... at least not the way I've experienced it up to now. I think I've just had really bad experiences with some really shady guys. That's a big part of why not dating for years (with valid excuse, teehee) was very easy for me; the pickings have been incredibly slim in this city. I was on Catholic Match for 4 full days and they were the longest 4 days. All the guys who reached out were old enough to be my dad or were (thankfully) honest about their disagreement with the Church's teachings on contraception and premarital sex. I was actually creeped out by some of them so I just deactivated my account. I mentioned this to my spiritual director. When he asked me why I thought marriage was my vocation, I couldn't give him an good reason... because I was afraid that maybe my reasons weren't good enough.
Am I afraid to be called to the religious life? Not at all. If it's what He wants from me, I'll do it. My mother won't be happy but if it's what God wants, it's what I'll do. Do I feel called to it? Not at all. In fact, when people ask me why I'm not a religious sister, I almost feel like they're trying to force the vocation. There, I said it... I feel like having to re-discern the vocation or having people repeatedly ask me if I'm sure I'm not meant to be a religious sister means I've failed to discern my vocation properly... and like it's being forced onto me.
I'll be completely honest about another thing: I have a great fear of childbirth. I think it may be because I've known from a young age that my mother came very close to dying when I was born. The older I get, the closer I get to possible complications... and that scares me. I love babies and I'm my friends' personal cheerleader when they're about to give birth but the idea of me giving birth scares the crumbs out of me. However, I'm very open to this as my vocation. The thought of having children and raising them up to be good, faithful Catholics who could themselves become priests or nuns in the future makes me so incredibly happy. I, myself, don't feel called to religious life but I hope that if I'm ever blessed with children, at least one of them has a vocation to it. Is that weird?
I think my biggest confusion comes from the fact that so many people bring up the vocation to me... and I've had terrible luck with guys. As my spiritual director said, sometimes we don't "feel" called to it but are... but I honestly don't think I am. I've spent time in silent prayer, in front of the tabernacle, doing novenas, reading Bible passages (you name it) and I've only felt drawn to get married. I once felt called to religious life, but I quickly saw that it was for the wrong reasons. I wanted to run away from life and problems from my past. Once I was able to work through them, I saw that I wasn't called to the vocation.
I've seen so much damage done within marriages -- through infidelity, the addiction of pornography, lies, greed, etc. -- yet I'm not at all jaded about the vocation. I see marriage as a beautiful vocation... one that is in danger. My generation (the Millennials) have a pretty grim outlook on marriage which is why so many decide to not get married and simply live with their partners. Yes, we need faithful priests and religious sisters but we also need faithful people (religion aside) to live their vocations of marriage faithfully. We need to raise children in a manner that will strength the Church instead of pull them away from it.
I understand that marriage is not the answer to loneliness or anything beyond doing God's will. So why can't I formulate coherent sentences when my spiritual director asks me? Am I really that afraid of not being called to it? As I said before, I'm open to the vocation of religious life or even a consecrated single... and neither scares me more than marriage. That fear? That fear is of not only having to give birth (I'll get over it, God willing; lol) but of marrying the wrong person. That's where my fear lies. It would be much easier to become a nun or even stay single; I'm incredibly independent anyway, staying solo would not be a problem for me.
Wait, did I just get my answer? Who knows. I'll have to talk about this with my spiritual director next month. If any of you have had any similar experiences, please feel free to let me know what helped you in your discernment.
Alright, I have a number of things to do before the day is over so I'll shut up now. lol.
I hope y'all have a great weekend. :D
As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D