There are few things that make me prouder than to see my friends express a desire to enter the priesthood or religious life. There are also few things that make me more jealous. See, my vocation and I aren’t very good friends. You are probably sitting there thinking, “ooh, Tani’s about to tell us she’s called to be a nun AHHH!”
Actually… No. This is where it gets annoying. Lets go back to impatience. As I mentioned a few days ago, I am very, very impatient. I plan things out weeks in advance, because I always want to know everything that’s going to happen. I’m a writer (well, duh!) and when I write, every post and essay has a long and detailed plan that it must follow. I keep plans for my week in every detail on my phone (and occasionally written on my arm.) I always need to know what is going on and when and why.
Sadly, God doesn’t always tell me exactly what He is planning. Ok, scratch that, God never tells you exactly what his plan is (he doesn’t have to, he’s God. You’re along for the ride.) All we know is that there is a plan, and that it’s a plan for good things. It’s in Scripture- in Jeremiah 29:11, God says that he “knows the plans he has for you, plans for prosperity and not harm, to give you a hope and a future.”
But hey, impatient Tani over here. Can I have those detailed plans for my entire life, like, right now?
God doesn’t work like that. Now, here’s the part you’ve been waiting for for two whole paragraphs and an aside. I am not called to religious life. But I sure as heck want to be! An entire lifetime of service to God with my fellow nuns and never having to worry about stinky boys again? SCORE.
Seriously, though, I wish I was. The contemplative life, the life of a sister, speaks to me. A few years ago, I was so sure of my vocation to the married life, but then I got sick. One of the effects of EDS is that I will probably be unable to ever carry a pregnancy to term. My body is just too fragile to handle it, and either the baby or I (or both of us) would die. This is deeply painful, since I very much want to be a mom. I’ve been struggling with this, of course- how could God give me a vocation to marriage if I can’t have kids? How can I be faithful to the call of being open to life in my marriage, if the child or myself could die? So I started discerning the single life and religious orders. But I’ve been so full of confusion and chaotic fear that I can barely stand to think on those options. When I think about being married, I feel peaceful… Until my doubts come back to assault my mind.
I’m realizing now, after neglecting this blog for months, that there are a lot of things I just haven’t surrendered. At LEAD, I was forced to share the Surrender the Brownies story (ok, so not forced… I needed to talk about how God changed my life, and I picked that story.) and it really brought into sharp focus just how many things I was allowing myself to fear, how many things I was refusing to Surrender because I was afraid it would hurt more to Surrender than to worry. But you know what I forgot?
(Evelyn, you can turn away now, I know you hate it when I get this way!)
I forgot that God has a plan. I forgot that God won’t let me fall. I forgot that I had told God in February 2012 that my entire life was his to control. I forgot that God had changed my life when I added too much flour to a pan of cheesecake brownies. I even forgot that God loves me! How could I do that?!?
So, am I still worried about my vocation? Yes. But I’m going to try, from today onward, to trust God with it and simply be open to His will. I love the quote by Elizabeth Elliot that graces the top of the web page (under the STB sign!)
“God is God. Because He is God, He is worthy of my trust and obedience. I will find rest nowhere but in His holy will, a will that is unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what He is up to.”
Surrender your brownies, my friends. God has a plan for them.
Love to all!
-Tani (who is AGAIN writing a deep thoughts post at 11:40 at night while sitting on the bathroom sink with an empty toothbrush because she just felt like she needed to say something. Gosh.)