listen, listen, listen.

“Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10

This is the sentence that I come back to, time and time again.

As you may have noticed, this week’s topic is discernment. When I was first faced with the task of writing about discernment, I was baffled. My story on this topic is a long and complicated one. For a long time, I felt as though I were getting mixed signals from God. I did not feel a definite pull from any one vocation.

My dream is to be married. Ever since I was young, I have wanted to have a family. I am the kind of person who cannot stand being alone for long periods of time. Besides, it is expected for little girls to fantasize about the perfect wedding, the perfect dress. As I grew older, I drooled over romantic comedies and “the perfect guy.”

I realized that the perfect family can only be achieved by Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. I was confused by sparks of interest from the religious life. Although I was still fazed by the glamorous idea of a husband and a family, I was completely stumped by what God wants from me.

Discernment is not about what you want. Discernment is about listening to God’s plan for you. Now, that does not mean you will literally hear his voice. For me, I heard God’s voice in the rush of the subway, the car honks, and the chatter of the crowds. In the city. New York City.

During my first visit to the Big Apple, I knew that it was for me. If God designed me for anything, it was the fast-paced life of New York City. I fell in love. I knew it was right. I just knew. And the thing is, I wasn’t searching for a future home. He just led me there. He showed me the beauty of the concrete jungle, and now there’s no going back.

Sometimes, we fill up our prayers with requests. We become impatient. “God, where are you?!” We become needy, and forget to listen. It is when we are quiet that we hear Him. You can only search so much. After a time, you have to stop seeking out the call so harshly, and wait for it to come to you.

Maybe you’ll hear Him through the voice of a friend, a family member, a priest, or a stranger. Perhaps you’ll hear Him in the quiet of your room, or like me, in the middle of a busy street. God is all around us; we only need to listen.

So what does New York have to do with my discernment, might you ask?

You see, when I knew that the city life was for me, I knew that the religious life wasn’t. I’m not jumping on the idea of a Bride Wars wedding at the Plaza (besides, I would want a wedding in a big, beautiful Catholic church!), but I’ve narrowed it down to the single life vs. matrimony. I knew that God made me for a career in the office—business, journalism, or advertising. Those are where my gifts lie.

I am still young, and I do not know exactly if I am to be married. My career aspirations will probably change as I figure more things out about myself. Prayer is my strongest weapon. But, it seems reasonable that I will only know if the married life is for me if I meet the right guy. The next time I am in a serious relationship, my discernment to the married life will be much clearer. And if I do not meet someone special, that is a clear answer that God wants me to stay single. Although, I am still hoping for that big, beautiful family and that big, beautiful wedding.

I thank God for leading me to New York, and I know that He will guide me to the rest. It is important to keep an open mind. Always ask yourself, “What can I do for Him? What is the best way to serve Him?”

After all, Samuel did not say, “Listen, Lord, for your servant is speaking.”

Remember who you are living your life for.

All for Him!

Viola Joan

(violajoan@gmail.com)

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