I’m not a mom yet, and I’m kind of scared about the day that God decides to turn my vocation discernment into reality. As a single young adult, I can barely keep on top of my spiritual life, job, chores, friends, family, freelancing, pets, health, and all the requirements of being human. How do you moms do it, with childbirth and kids and a spouse? I’m not kidding when I tell you that I’m scared spitless of my vocation and its accompanying uncertainty.
Being a Type-A personality brings certain side effects, including but not limited to a crippling fear of failure. Not being able to follow through is (in my head) exactly equivalent to being Santa Claus with eight stomach-flu-suffering reindeer on Christmas Eve.
Usually, I give the reindeer a dose of something and we keep going. This is a problem. I’ve tricked myself into thinking that I can do everything. That no matter what, I will get done what needs to get done, and make it all work.
One night at the beginning of Lent this year, I knelt to say my bedtime prayers, and the pent-up tension of the day suddenly overwhelmed me. All I could say to Our Lord was “I give up. I surrender. I can’t do this.” I kept repeating “I surrender” as the tears flowed. This admission was in itself a grace, because giving up isn’t an option for me. As Lent went on, I found myself clinging to this new lifeline. If a car cut me off, if a work project was worrying me, if someone asked me to do one more thing, I said “I surrender.” Every time I let go of worrying about consequences, theorizing about options, or strategizing my schedule – every time I really, truly surrendered – I saw the hand of Christ enter my life. Everything worked out, one way or another, usually better than my own solution could have.
Then, I realized that I have to surrender literally everything, including my future vocation.
That bombshell was dropped on my head when a guy I’d had a crush on for months initiated the “I just want to be friends” conversation. Happily, we still are really good friends, but I was forced to realize that I’d been trying to take matters into my own hands by talking to my girlfriends, pestering St. Joseph for a sign, and generally demanding that I have control over my future. It was killing me that I could do so much, but I couldn’t bring about the relationship I wanted.
Surrendering my loneliness and the suffering of singlehood, that’s one thing. Surrendering my feelings of attraction, my steady back-burner search for eligible bachelors, and the desire to be united in matrimony with the man God has in mind for me? That’s . . . not easy. What do you mean I can’t do everything?
So this became my prayer: Dear Lord, I give up. Help me to surrender, especially when I can’t let go.
I admit defeat. I’m not wise enough or strong enough to bring about His plan for me. He’s the only one Who can arrange my life in the best possible way, and no human-written bullet-pointed to-do list is going to help. Every cute guy I see in Eucharistic Adoration is hereby officially surrendered to God’s will and God’s plan. (You’d be surprised how many cute guys show up in Adoration.)
Dear moms, please pray for me, and all the other single girls out there trying to understand God’s plan for us. We feel like we’re stuck on a plateau, not able to complete our vocation until the right guy comes along. We look up to you, who even when you admit defeat get up and keep going. You keep taking care of your kids, you keep feeding your spouse, and you keep trying to be the best moms you can. Please keep on keeping on, because as we stand beside you at the altar as bridesmaids or babysit your little ones, scared in our uncertainty, you give us hope and comfort.
And hey Lord, the ball’s in Your court.
Copyright 2017 Rebecca Willen