Who knew that God wants to be consulted at ground level for major life decisions? I didn’t. I remember how I used to talk to God. I had a system. I would make my choice and then, if important enough, I would ask a distant God to open or close the door. I used this system when I was trying to make a decision about a university program I was applying for. While waiting for their response, I prayed to God and asked, “if this is good for me, let it happen. If not, close the door”. I knew God could ‘open’ or ‘close’ doors but that was it. I didn’t know God wanted to give me more direction than that. I didn’t know he wanted a personal relationship with me. In the end, God honoured my prayer and I was accepted into the program. But, when I look back at how I prayed to God, I realize my prayer never really pointed towards asking God if this program was part of His divine plan. It was the best I knew how to pray at the time but I realize now that I just asked Him to approve or deny MY choice.
A few years later, I went on a Marian pilgrimage and my experience rocked my foundation. I had new eyes and a fire in my heart for God. This fire was a direct result of an intense and very personal experience of God’s love for me. It was as if God was showing me more about this personal relationship He wanted with me. It was an amazing experience but a little overwhelming too. I returned from the pilgrimage with a curiosity and an awareness on my heart asking myself why someone may choose a path of consecration for their life. Never before had this thought occurred to me. It felt scary because I didn’t know what all this meant or what to do about it.
I realized as I continued on my current path that God was probing me to go deeper in relationship with Him. The experience I had while on pilgrimage had me wondering why I connected it to a vocation to the consecrated life. I felt in my heart that it was no longer enough to ask God to just approve or deny my choices but somehow I desired the peace of handing all my decisions over to God. Something in me just needed to know but I had no idea how to do this.
I contacted Sr. Anna of the Servants of the Cross for help. I was welcomed to come on retreat and address this ‘thing’ that I was experiencing in my heart about my vocation. I was invited to participate in their daily prayer times, mass, and community time. I was also given much free time for bible readings, prayer, and personal reflection. I learned their routine and I saw their wonderful sense of community. I was able to get to know the Sisters more. I also learned examples of structured prayer time, which I found helpful.
I felt a peace during my time with the Sisters. I became aware of my need to actively choose moving toward Jesus, when I needed to face something about myself. I began to see that I was more inclined to turn to a “neutral” position. I could justify I wasn’t turning away from God, which was good. However, I began to see I wasn’t turning toward Jesus either, which was where I needed to be, to allow healing and experience growth. This awareness has changed how I dialogue with God in a more personal way. I am very grateful for this lesson learned.
My time with the Servants has changed me. I’ve been inspired to grow closer to God and I am learning to be patient with the process. I’m still waiting. I don’t have a clear understanding about what I felt for the consecrated life but as I continue to consult God I am certain He will show me His ways in this major life decision.