By Carmen F. Aguinaco
To start, you need to know not “If” God is calling you, but how God is calling you. Because God always calls each one in a specific way, where according to your capacities, talents, and inclinations is the place where you will be fulfilled as a person and reach the happiness that comes from being with God. Since a vocation is a call to come into relationship, the fundamental key to understand the call is to have had a personal encounter with Christ. Having been reached by Christ is what will teach you to answer in faithfulness to what God is asking of you.
There are various manifestations of the call from God which start by a desire to follow Christ, to serve the church, and to build the kingdom of God. This desire is the guarantee that you will be available to do what God wants from you.
Another key element is to recognize that the call is free and is being extended to you out of love. It is not a fruit of your merit or efforts. Simply, Christ, who loves you, wants you to be close to him and invites you to be his companion in mission.
When discerning the ways in which God is calling you, you will have to realize your own qualities. A measure of your capacity to make a long life commitment is your psychological and emotional stability: that means objectivity to face events around you, perseverance in your study or professional commitments, and serenity. That is, one of the first things you need to have for discernment is self-knowledge. Keeping decisions in spite of difficulties, knowing how to deal with the normal frustrations of life, facing and integrating your own limitations are also fundamental aptitudes.
All this also implies having a positive approach to your own sexuality, whether you feel called to marriage, the religious life or the single life.
Focusing your life in service to the Kingdom and to others, more than on personal gain is an important element in every Christian vocation.
For any vocation, you will need accompaniment, guidance and orientation from people who know and love you, and possess a certain level of spiritual life experience. Joining an organization, group or projects that serve others will provide you with the level of certainty regarding how far you are willing to collaborate with others, devote to service, and to live a certain lifestyle. God is calling you, but he calls you with what you have and are so can develop your calling in a manner that will make you happy.
Do you know yourself well? Have you ever felt an inner attraction toward Christ and working for the kingdom? How do you think you could follow the calling? What are you doing to discern the ways in which God is calling you?