Even once we know of God’s love and desire for our happiness and have begun to realize His specific will for us it is not uncommon to feel unable or unwilling to give ourselves completely to Him. In order to persevere in following our vocation it is necessary to understand and deal with the things that keep us from giving our entire selves lovingly over to Him.
Past hurts can complicate the discernment process. The result of another’s sin against us, they impair our ability to trust and follow the will of God, an act demanding of much trust. Often taking the forms of abuse, neglect or absence of a parent or rejection by friends, they not only decrease our ability to trust, but also interfere with the ability to love others and to accept love. We may find forgiveness difficult because we haven’t yet dealt with the just anger we have about those things, but is absolutely necessary for a complete gift of ourselves to Christ. The strength to do so will come from Him who makes all things new (Rev 21:5). Have confidence in Jesus who comes to free you and make your life new. Find a priest, whom you can trust and open up to, so that he may pray with you and offer counsel. Talking through pain privately with someone trustworthy can bring an enormous amount of healing.
Fear inhibits our complete gift of self to Jesus. This fear is not the awe and wonder of holy fear, but rather a crippling fear that comes not from God but from the devil – a state in which it is impossible to discern. The fears can be varied and many: “I hear Him knocking at the door of my heart, and I’m scared to say ‘Yes’ to Him.” “I’m afraid to move away from home and my family.” “Will I be happy as a priest?” “I’ve done too many terrible things to be a priest.” “My parents want grandchildren and they won’t have any if I become a priest.” “What will be left of me if I give myself totally over to Him?” “My friends think I’m crazy for thinking about it.”
Jesus says over and over again, “Be not afraid!” Our beloved Pope St. John Paul II echoed this line frequently, and our Holy Fathers have since continued it, because it is so needed. We live in a world of fear. St. John tells us, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” (1Jn. 4:18). Jesus loves perfectly and Jesus casts out fear; He can put fears to rest. He can do this when together with Him we face them with courage and bring them to prayer.
Dealing with sin, past hurts and fear will free us and purify our love for Him so that His voice can begin to resonate deep within our hearts. It will clear the way to finding your vocation. When you hear His voice and put yourself before His presence you will be in a position to say, “Yes, Lord Jesus. I say ‘Yes’. Be it done unto me according to Your will. Yes Lord, send me.”