The path of discernment and commitment of life to vocation is based on the dynamics of accepting to “lose oneself” in order to “find everything.”
The vocational way is to lose oneself in the arms of God and, in that sense, it means to lose oneself in Love. In spite of being an exciting prospect, the truth is that this “getting lost” is not without effort and some suffering: Love is demanding! To love always implies “losing oneself,” “giving oneself.” To lose oneself in the paths of vocation is to assume with faith and responsibility these demands, with the certainty that walking with God, we are not alone: for Love always triumphs!
When it comes to vocation, “losing oneself” progressively becomes a joyful “letting go,” insofar as we let go of everything that draws us away from the greater joy that God has reserved for us – the one that totally fulfills us, far more than all we ask for or imagine. (Eph 3:20)
Jesus Himself warns us that “whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the Gospel will save it.” (Mk 8:35) This is not an appeal to religious life, but a clear call to assume vocation as a form of fulfillment and experience of the baptism received.
It is not a matter of abandoning something of what we are, but of accepting to leave behind everything that distances us from God, from our brothers and sisters and from ourselves, in order to achieve something greater, something that will make us more authentic and truly happy – something worth all the sacrifices.
How do you find yourself? First of all, those who seek to do it with authenticity, do it through a serious and accompanied discernment and concrete attitudes in daily life. However, this “finding” presupposes a “losing”, without which the “finding” is not possible.
For example, could one immerse himself or herself in the immensity of the sea without leaving the firmness of the shore? Can we know the world without ever leaving the place where we were born? In either case, it is not so much a matter of abandoning a place, but of starting from one place to launch oneself into the discovery of something new and unique.
The same is true of vocation. Vocation is very personal and it demands from each one concrete decisions and steps towards a goal (in a path that is done step by step and not at once). However, vocation is not only personal, it is always relational and it should be noted that “finding oneself” is not something individual or an “isolated moment” that happens in life.
It is, as the word says “an encounter” and there is no encounter without the presence of others. In fact, it is in the relationship with others that it becomes possible to find oneself because they are different from me, they are the starting point for us to question ourselves, to discover what we are and our deepest and most authentic identity. They are the starting point and the companions on the road we want to travel towards what we want to be, helping us to keep away from everything that can prevent us from become ourselves.
Thus, putting oneself on a vocational path is also to dare to relate to those who help us to “ask the right questions” and to find, in what we are, answers that will gradually make us discern the dream of God for us and, consequently, lead us to meet the truth that inhabits us – the truth of who we are.
Leave Aside The Securities
One cannot find without losing: whoever dares to live the vertiginous joy of “finding oneself” must be willing to “lose oneself”, to “leave aside” the securities of what is already known and dare the unknown with the confidence of knowing that God is there.
Vocation is based on the dynamics of losing oneself and finding oneself, safeguarding, however, that there is no fatalism in the experience of vocation, but rather a path which, although not free from pain, is full of cheerful moments.
If it is true that those who run for fun do not tire, to enter into the dynamic of vocation is to enter a path where one knows why he/she is running and where to reach the goal. It is the daily yes to that which makes us authentic with who we are, what we desire and what God wants for us.
In fact, our vocation sets us on a road in which, rather than losing oneself, it is leaving something – it is to choose, exercising without fear, our freedom. More than to find oneself it is to find Someone. Vocation is not a question of “losing everything”, but of “finding everything.”
We Are Not Alone
To dare in full freedom, to embark on a path of vocational discernment is to assume yourself, responsibly as a person, and wish to go further than the horizon that daily life dazzles us with. It only makes sense to “lose oneself” if it is to “find oneself”, since losing oneself directed to the encounter leads to the discovery not only of oneself but of the truth that dwells in the hearts of those we meet.
By living an authentic life of discernment, we are able to enter into dialogue with others – with so many others who live their way of vocational discernment with doubts and anxieties similar to ours.
Jesus Himself assures us that our vocational search is not in vain – “seek and you will find” (Mt 7:8) – and that our sorrow will become joy (John 16:20) whenever we live in this certainty that we do not walk alone: He who calls us walks with us every day (Mt 28:20). (Susana Vilas Boas)