You are in my prayers and God bless.
1. The thought of having a different path in my life freaked me out.
2. The thought of the unknown scared me.
3. The thought of the possibiltiy of never getting married scared me and never even crossed my mind before that, not even being a single person.
4. The thought of joining the convent depressed me, if not just because I would never get married.
5. I was 27 and now 28 and still had not found anyone.
6. The thought of the possiblity of noone understanding my predicament scared me.
7. I was tired of the comments from all sides such as, "If you don't want this vocation, then don't do it" or "You need to look into it if it is something that you are thinking of" or "You need to look into it if it is something that is bothering you". I resisted especially the last one because if it is bothering me and I didn't want to become a nun why would someone urge me to be one. Would God want me to be unhappy in life? Then there was the guilt that came with that question. Jesus died on the cross for you and it was hard for Him. I should be doing God's will not me, except it seems as though everyone else gets to do their will.
8. Then there was the issue of low self-esteem because I thought that if I wasn't married
9. Then there was the issue of anxiety because after a while the convent didn't seem so bad and I took that as a sign that maybe it was my calling. That freaked me out because I instantly knew then that I didn't want to be a nun after all-so I guess I still didn't like the idea of joining a convent.
10. My innermost being wanted marriage, but I felt as though I was being selfish by wanting it if that's not what God wanted me to do.
Besides, I wanted marriage for selfish reasons. I am not a selfish person, and if I do get married someday I will try my best to be a selfless gift to my husband. However, there has to be some part of "I" in getting married because you choose who you choose. God is not going to force you to get married to anyone you don't want to get married to. He is actually the one who puts the desires to get married to a specific person into our hearts. So in a way, you can make yourself a selfless gift, but you are putting the "I" in the equation in that you desire to be with that person and not just anyone. They make you happy. They will help you get to Heaven. You love the person. You want children with the person, etc.
I don't want to freak you out and make you have these questions, too. That is how the whole thing started. Someone posted something in the fora and it escalated from there. But through all this I realized something else: Having these doubts and questions kept me in a safety zone of sorts: It kept me off the marriage market and kept me from getting hurt. So even though I want marriage, I don't want to get hurt. I don't really think that that was the reason why it started. I really do want marriage, but it all started with a fora question.
How do you know? Love God, try to be holy, and in HIS time, everything will fall into place. Easier said than done, I know.
I know how you feel about your friends finding their vocation. A lot of my really good friends are either engaged, married, or are preparing to make first vows! I know God has his own timeline, but it does make me sad sometimes too.
I would definitely recommend finding a good spiritual director who can help you figure things out. Sometimes, all it takes is to really talk about things with someone else---it really can help you see things more clearly, and also gives you the advice of someone who is more experienced.
Why haven't you found your vocation yet? If you are truly open to God's will, not trying to run from what he might be calling you to do (and I think if we are really honest with ourselves, we know when we are running!), then He will always let us know in HIS time. He always gives us the graces we need to love and serve Him in the way He is calling us to.
Prayers for your discernment.
I don't know you or your history or the steps you've taken in your process of discernment so you'll have to take my words with a grain of salt.
If I sound a bit like a drill sergeant or a jerk please chalk that up to my inability to text with sensitivity. The truth is I know where you are coming from generally speaking.
First off, your 27!
Relax, all is well.
Read Psalm 139. God is causing your existence even now and He knows the amazing life He's preparing for you both in time and eternity.
Second, try not to fall into the trap of getting fixated on 'vocation, vocation, vocation'. Focus on Jesus Christ and do what He tells you to do in the moment. This is a hard discipline but you'll find it's the best way to live.
Third, in the course of waiting for God live as an, obedient Catholic. Pray, receive the sacraments, go to Mass, say your Rosary and obey Catholic faith and moral teaching. This last part concerning Catholic faith and moral teaching requires that you actually learn what The Church teaches.
Fourth, pray and act.
RE: Priesthood/Religious Life
Talk to a vocations director to explore the possibility of priesthood or religious life. Go to a seminary or religious community and see what it's all about.
If you see a young woman you like, talk to her, ask her out. Take concrete steps to prepare for a life for marriage i.e. find a job and career you like, start putting money away for a house, buy a car.
RE: Consecrated Single Life
Establish a regular rule of prayer. Explore ways in which you can serve your family, friends, parish community, co-workers and the people you come into contact everyday.
As to why you've not found your vocation - only God knows. In truth, literally only God knows.
Finally, this last little bit must be read slowly and thoughtfully.
As hard as it is when you see the lives of others supposedly 'getting better' and you feel as though your life is going nowhere, stop, drop and pray and remember Jesus Christ's Life is fulfilled in you in heaven and not in the order of time. Furthermore, He is literally with You in the midst of all this. Be at peace with Him as He stands with you in the midst of your interior pain.
I know this last bit of advice is difficult to take most especially when you experience that searing white hot sting of loneliness. It hurts and it is agonizing. But let yourself experience this pain and just sit with it. Believe me, the pain passes and you will be that much stronger after it has run its course.
You're exactly where you need be.
Keep The Faith, Eat the Flesh, Drink the Blood and Honour the Blessed Mother and know you are loved.
GREAT comments! (I especially like "Stop, drop, and pray"!)
Michael, I was widowed 15 years ago and have been praying and wondering all that time what I am to do/become when my children are grown. Well, that'll be next year -- and I still don't know.
So all I do is pray to know His Will and have the courage to carry it out. As others have said, He sometimes reveals His Will very slowly...and sometimes it's very much at odds with our own.
Prayer of St. Ignatius:
Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my whole will.
All that I am and all that I possess, You have given me. I surrender it all to You to be disposed of according to Your Will.
Give me only Your Love and Your Grace. With these I will be rich enough and will desire nothing more.