When things don’t work out

Dear people in my life who don’t know what they are doing or where they are headed,

I know life has not been what you thought it would be. Some days you enjoy the freedom of uncertainty and other days you crave the clarity that comes with knowing your mission. I see you struggling to find your fit. You know there is a purpose, but can’t articulate what that looks like in your daily life.

Jobs are not working out. Skills and passions are not translating into careers. Relationships, if you are in them, could really go either way right now. You seem to be thrown out into the world without the practical next step in view. Days are filled with the worst kind of busyness. You spend time working to pay bills, checking off lists, and lost among people who either a) seem to be leaving you in the dust by happily accomplishing things or b) are just as lost as you are.

Figuring out your purpose and your life mission are not about finding a roadmap already labeled and ready for you. It is about fixing the way you listen and actively respond to God.

  1. Do not wander and do not waste time.
  2. Talk to stable, mission-living people who are actually living out what they know their purpose to be– and are happy about it!
  3. Listen to God daily. You should talk sometimes, but listening is important.
  4. Serve others more frequently than you indulge in laziness, hopelessness, or meaningless activities.
  5. Go visit a religious order.
  6. Really, go visit a religious order.
  7. I’m serious. Single or married– witness God calling and people answering every day in a way that the world does not advertise. Saving the world sometimes looks like spending your days serving the poor, caring for the elderly, or speaking across the country or teaching kids or quietly spending time praying and pondering.
  8. Be better to the people already in your life. Be the better friend now. Be awesome to that lonely person in the world- the elderly, the suffering, the hospitalized. Be an active part of your family.
  9. Live fully in the Church. Visiting the sick or imprisoned, baking for funerals, volunteering in the offices, praying at Daily Mass and Adoration, writing encouraging notes to the priests, ushering, teaching kids about Jesus— do it all! If you have time to fill, fill it well. With so much diversity and so many spiritualities in the Catholic Church, finding your fit can sometimes happen by meeting a spiritual friend in the Faith.
  10.  GET UP AND RUN through the good, holy doors opening for you. Remember number 1?

Not all gifts, talents, and passions are majors waiting to be paid for or careers yet to be discovered.

Single friends, when your path seems invisible, that does not mean pausing life to wait for the first opportunity to get married and be a homemaker. Married and family life are calls to specific paths, not backup plans. Go visit a religious order.

Married friends, your gifts, talents, and passions are still needed, even if God gets creative in combining them with your family responsibilities. Your unique gifts and talents and role in the world do not stop when you become someone’s wife, husband, mother or father.

The world doesn’t need another *insert label here*! The world needs you.

Go, get started!


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