As a single woman, I struggle so often with feeling like I’m “missing out” on my life. I feel the desire to give myself away, to bring myself into something greater, to be called out to a great mission and do something extraordinary. And then I feel frustrated when there doesn’t seem to be any place for me to do that. My daily life, going to work, doing experiments, keeping up with friendships and making time for prayer, doesn’t seem to feed that desire, this thirst for service and drive to pour myself out in a more complete and total way. The desire is here. It is strong. It is lasting. So why doesn’t God seem to be answering it?
In my experience, there might be a couple of different reasons why it seems like God isn’t attending to the deep desire of our hearts for vocation, for mission, why He seems to be silent in the face of our cry to give ourselves away. He may know some areas of our hearts that need healing, deep places of hurt that need to be attended to in order to free us up for this service we long for. It may be that this desire of ours needs to be refined and focused so that we can clearly see the steps the Lord wants us to take next (He rarely shows us the whole path at once).
It may also be that our hearts need to conditioned against this “missing out” mentality, that we need to more fully embrace the life we have before we can be taken on the next steps of our journey. I may desire to give myself more fully to a vocation, to be able to take vows and make eternal promises of love and service, but am I preparing for that by giving myself fully to the people I am loving now? I want to give myself in service to a greater mission, to be a force for change in a system I see as broken and in need of repair, but am I being faithful to serving the people right in front of me, now, today?
Yes, we can make steps toward these larger goals, to begin to say “yes” to the little ways the Lord is calling us out into those bigger places and grander dreams. But we can’t afford to miss out on all the other ways He is asking us to embrace the life we have now as we wait for the life that we desire, but is still “not yet.”
Every time I meet with my spiritual director, we begin in prayer. As he prays over me, he always prays first and foremost that I would grow in my primary vocation: to grow ever more deeply in love with God. No matter what we’re talking about in that meeting, he always reminds me that this is the most important thing of all. It can be so easy to forget, but in order to live the other vocations we are called to well, we need to focus in on this more than anything else.
So, how can we more fully embrace the calling the Lord is putting on our hearts right now? How can we live our vocations as we are being asked to in this moment? Maybe it is in first embracing this first calling of our lives, the vocation that lasts for eternity and is the way for every Christian: to be in love with God, to have an open and honest relationship with the One Who made us. If we make this our guiding principle, the thing on which all other relationships, all other missions, and all other service is based, then we can be free to accept what is being asked of us today and stop being afraid of not ever having what is “not yet.”
We don’t need to wait for something else to happen for the desire of our hearts to be fulfilled. Our vocation isn’t something in the far off, distant future, but rather is something that we can pursue right now, starting when we lift our eyes to the Cross and give ourselves to God in love.
Your vocation is happening now. It’s time to start living it.