In our first years in life we are led to question everything around us. Far from pretending to know and understand everything, we look to adults as life partners who can help us make sense of the world, guiding us to see what is right and protecting us from harm. During this period – which we usually call the age of “whys” – we question the reason of things to which we really need to respond.
Many of us certainly cannot remember this period. However, we all know that once that stage of childhood has gone, we enter a new era of questioning. From “why?” we move to “what for?” in an eagerness similar to that of childhood, but now, more self-centered.
None of this is alarming if we take into account that, in a world that imposes self-sufficiency as a maxim of life, we are impelled to take on an outlook that makes us feel that asking for help is a sign of weakness, not a sign of maturity. To accept this lifestyle is to accept living a life adrift, a life whose meaning is imposed by others and not by us.
The truth that inhabits us is the truth that comes from God’s dream for us. In this sense, we must discern the purpose of who we are and what we want to be.
We gradually leave the age of questioning as we continue to grow in maturity. In fact, when we do not have a sense of purpose in life, we will always be listening to other people saying “do this,” “do that,” “should be this way,” “you should think so,” and the like, without pausing to ask “what for?”.
Of course, whoever lured us would be able to present his justifications. However, when we seek the path of our life, we are able to choose our fellow travelers for true vocational discernment. As we embark on this path of discernment, we are responsibly responding to “the what for” of our life and reversing the logic of “whys.” In this case, those around us will question the why of our life choices (rather than them deciding for us).
If we want to know, we have to ask! This is the maxim that must be taken into account when we are seeking answers, especially when we are discerning who we are and what our life’s purpose is. However, you have to know how to ask the right questions! Some of us may be able to formulate the questions. However, not everyone can do this, so those who help us discern our vocation play a fundamental role. In fact, they serve not only to help us find answers, but also to help us formulate questions that only the most intimate truth of our being can answer.
For example, we may question whether a certain path will be able to lead us to greater happiness and to true fulfillment as persons. Here, our companion in the journey will help us discern and separate what we are from the illusion of being. Consequently, he or she will help us discover the authenticity of what we desire to be. This is not a simple or easy process. If it were, we would not need help! In doing so, we will be faced with questions about ourselves and our ideals.
In this tangle of questions and answers in the path of inner discovery, God’s dream will shine for us. This will always present itself as aid and will always be conforming to the authenticity of our being. So put away the false ideas of a God who is hindering our dreams. On the contrary, when we doubt, He is (and gives) certainty. When we question, He is (and gives) an answer. And when we only see the impossible for our full realization, He gives (and is) a solution. (Susana Vilas Boas)