By Veronica Hayes
WHAT am I here for? What is my purpose? Where is God calling me?
Turning 25 had me in a state of confusion – these questions racing around my mind like the Australian Grand Prix.
I wasn’t prepared for this. I was meant to be happy and content.
I loved my life. I had a great, full life – supportive family, great friends and a job that I loved and was passionate about.
I was young, single and free. What more could a girl want? Why was I not satisfied?
Having committed myself to the Lord as a teenager, I brought these questions straight to God.
I was doing my best to follow Him and walk in His ways. But I felt lost and without purpose.
Was I really living the full life God had planned for me?
Was I doing what he wanted me to do?
Surely there was more,
These questions led me on a journey of “self-discovery” but not in the worldly sense.
God was calling me deeper – to discover who I was and why He created me.
I needed to discover the cause that I was willing to live and fight for – the cause that I was willing to give my whole life to.
Ultimately, I knew, my cause was God.
I yearned with all my heart to give all my life to Him – fully and without reservation.
So, for a young woman working in politics, whose “me time” was spending hours in retail therapy and who couldn’t wait for the next opportunity to go out for a girls’ night, what did this mean?
How did this fit into the life that I was living?
Catholic, single and a desire to live for God equals religious life.
My initial reaction?
No way! That meant leaving everything I knew – everything I was comfortable with, and I was not ready for that.
After months of searching, asking questions, praying, moving away from and coming back to Brisbane, the desire to live for God fully still burned.
So, I decided to use my skills and abilities in an area where my heart was leading me.
In October 2013, I left my job and started working for the Church – in Brisbane archdiocese’s Vocations office. Go figure.
Now, let me tell you, when you step out in faith and give God the opportunity to work within you, it’s not easy.
He takes that little bit you give Him and dives straight on in.
After an encounter with five different religious orders at a youth conference late last year, my openness to religious and consecrated life slowly began to change.
I confidently stroll up to the women’s religious section in the Vocations Expo, just casually wanting to have a chat and check out what they did.
As I began to speak with them, an overwhelming emotion came over me and I broke down in tears – intense, mascara-running, ugly tears.
I had no idea where that came from.
Shocked and confused, I went straight to Adoration.
Where is this coming from? Do you seriously want me to be a nun?
I have let this experience and the burning questions continue to stir within me throughout this year.
Discernment weekends, spiritual direction and conversations with inspiring priests and religious brothers and sisters have allowed me to slowly sift through all my emotions, fears and desires.
My discernment journey has allowed me to be open to the beauty and joy of religious life but most importantly it has allowed me to discover my primary calling – the universal call to sanctity.
We are called to be set apart, set apart to become saints.
This applies to everyone, not just the professionally religious.
How I choose to live that out is ultimately my choice.
God’s will isn’t always clear but the needs of our world and community are.
Discernment is about seeing God’s will in these needs and how we choose to respond.
I may not have figured out my vocation but I’ve learnt to ask the question: How can my God-given desires and passions meet the needs of the world around me?
Veronica Hayes is the outgoing administrative officer for the Vocation Brisbane team. She finishes up at the end of 2014 and we wish her all the best for the future.
Seeking your call? Contact Vocation Brisbane for more information or discernment opportunities by phoning 1300 133 544 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org