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What if the vocation I felt called to is no longer a good fit?

When things don’t go as we expect, it’s hard to discern what to do next. It is often unclear whether the setback is an opportunity to practice perseverance or self-reflection or whether God is inviting us into something new and unexpected, perhaps even a new calling.

A few examples: Does not getting accepted into a specific school or program mean you should take some time off and reapply later, or should you explore something different? Does your lack of motivation for your program mean that you ought to pursue something else, or is this lack of motivation normal at this phase in your program—or even a result of all the challenges of this past year?

Discerning your vocation is hard work, and no one else can do it for you. It is wise to spend some time prayerfully reflecting on or perhaps journaling about your expectations and what has gone wrong. At the same time, God has given us others to encourage us, and it is good to share what you’re going through with others whom you trust and who have faced similar challenges. Their wisdom and experience can help you understand how much of what you are going through is a normal part of pursuing your vocation and what might be unusual, indicating that it might not be a good fit. Talking to others might also help you imagine how God might be inviting you to pursue your calling in a different way.

It can be hard not to know what one ought to do. It feels as if it would be easier if God let us know directly what we ought to do next! But that is not how God usually works. Instead, we are invited, along with our community, to listen, and to wonder about what God might be inviting us into next. Such work is harder, but doing so allows God to form us more fully into people who can love God and our neighbors with our whole heart, soul, and mind.

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