November 5, 2014 by Alex Johannigman
Being a teenager or a young adult can be awkward. It’s easy to go through life constantly anticipating the next big life event. As a teenager, I remember eagerly longing for the time when I would graduate from high school and move on to college. Once I got to college, my next big life goal was to graduate college and move on to a career. Now that I’ve got a stable job, I’ve been pressuring myself to focus on getting married. Those longings for the next milestone never seem to stop.
There is a huge temptation to view life as a series of goals and checkpoints on our road to success, happiness, achievement, and ultimate fulfillment which we tell ourselves can be achieved only once we hit a certain milestone. Many single young people believe that once they marry the right person, or find the right religious or consecrated vocation, they can start living their true, God given vocation and get out of the awkwardness of “vocation limbo.”
We tell ourselves things like “Life might stink now, but once I get married, everything will be awesome.” Or “High school is hard, but once I get to college I’m going to be having so much more fun!” Or “Right now life is really challenging, but that’s only because God hasn’t revealed to me if I should be a priest or a husband. Once he finally answers all my prayers, life will be perfect.” Some even focus all of their extra energy on finding a great husband or wife at the expense of other aspects of their lives.
We need to stop viewing the “next step” in life, whether that is graduating, finding our dream job, or beginning marriage or religious life, as our ultimate goal and the point where we will become significantly happier and instead recognize that each of these are only checkpoints on our path to our true “God given vocation”: Heaven.