I’m a nanny and every so often the 4-year-old girl I take care of tells me about her future, “I’m gonna be a lizard babysitter… A chef that only makes soup… I’ll be big enough to hug you by your face” (all direct quotes). It seems that from the moment we can talk, we start thinking about the future . . . and wondering about our future too. That future-questioning mentality just grows stronger as we get older.
By the time I was in high school, I was so consumed by decisions and questions about the future. I found myself focusing on it so much that my prayer life turned into a giant mess of questions with no answers. I wanted to know what God desired me to do with my life—a very legitimate thing to be concerned with—however, instead of listening to what God wanted to tell me, I tried to figure His Will out on my own. I ended up focusing on my will, and hoping it just happened to be God’s will too.
Bad idea, my friends.
My Wake Up Call
It wasn’t until I was a summer missionary at Camp Covecrest that I began to realize I was doing the whole discernment thing completely wrong. One weekend, I had the opportunity to sit and talk with a fantastic priest, Fr. Peter, and I told him all about my questions about my future. “Should I be a missionary, a teacher, a youth minister, a wife, a nun, single?!” He sort of laughed at me and then told me, quite bluntly, to stop being so prideful. I was shocked, embarrassed, and super confused; but, then he explained.
Fr. Peter led me through a meditation about how Jesus approached Peter, a man whose entire life revolved around fishing, and told him, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). Peter immediately left his boat to follow Jesus (Matthew 4:20); there was no worry or question of what he would be doing. At first, I didn’t understand where Fr. Peter was going with this, but I was definitely intrigued.
Father’s point in all of this was simple; the focus of Peter’s first interaction with Jesus was never on what he was leaving, but on what he was going to do. What God desired for Peter’s life needed to come before what Peter thought his life was all about.
Come After Me
The most important part of all of this is in Jesus’ first three words to Peter, “Come after me.” With these words, Jesus is not only saying that Peter must physically follow him, but that Peter’s desires are to come after Jesus’ will. If we focus on doing what Jesus is asking us to do, our lives will change radically. Obviously, not all of us will become Pope, like Peter, but I guarantee that God will do far greater things with your life than you could ever do on your own.
After my conversation with Fr. Peter, my entire outlook of the future changed. Now, before I worry about the million questions and decisions that come through my head, I take a minute to pray. If you struggle with all these questions too, I encourage you to try this. Ask the Lord to show you how to come after Him, to conform your will with His Divine Will. When we stop worrying and simply ask God to show us His will, miracles happen.
Fishermen become fishers of men, students become disciples, and ordinary people become Saints.