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Pacific East: When I Grow Up…

Fred Balce (fourth from left) hosts Father Nick Meisl, Tito Dodie and Tita Rellie Dimacali, and Sisters Mary Bethany and Mary Jacinta during a talk show segment at Saint Bernadette’s Parish in Surrey, BC on March 8, 2014. (Photo: Nat Abad)

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

A lot of people often asked me this question during my younger years. Sometimes I said that I wanted to become a doctor and other days I wanted to become an actor. At some point I even considered becoming a marine biologist until I realized that I was deathly afraid of sharks.

As I grew older, the answer to this question kept on changing until it came to a point where it just remained unanswered. From one simple question, deeper questions started to arise:

What program should I take in university?”

“What profession should I pursue?”

“What is God’s plan for me?”

“What is my purpose in life?”

“What is my vocation?”

I graduated from high school ready to take on the next step in pursuing my calling when I realized that I didn’t even know where to begin. In each day since I graduated, I have felt—even if it’s just for a fleeting moment—completely lost and confused.

My heart’s shiftiness was neck-breaking. I’d watch the Winter Olympics and think I needed to be a figure skater. I haven’t skated in 3 years. I’d set up a surprise party for friend and think I needed to be an event planner. I dislike logistics. I’d read a book about the Marianas trench and think I needed to be a diver. Like I said, I’m deathly afraid of sharks.

With a lack of motivation and no direction to go, I tried to distract myself. I figured that if I’m meant to be something, someone—that if that Lord truly has plans for me—then I’ll get there at some point. Eventually.

Three years later, a seemingly simple question brought me back to this very same dilemma. Fittingly enough, it was asked during the first session of Pacific East Cluster’s Vocation Recollection:

What are your 3 simple joys?”

The sound of the question resonated back with a quiet indifference at my superficially deep reflection. This question was important. And how I answered it was equally important.

Except, the answer just wouldn’t come, I don’t know what my simple joys are. I’m an openly joyful person but I couldn’t even define what brings me joy. I don’t know much about myself to be honest. I don’t know what I’m meant for. I don’t know what the Lord is calling me to be. I’m back to where I started 3 years ago. In fact, I’m pretty sure I never even left. Buried underneath layers of distraction and insecurity, my soul was still desperately trying to find truth and answers to the question of “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

For the rest of the event, I may have seemed calm on the outside but inwardly, I was in the midst of a quarter-life crisis! I was in the core of a very big wake-up call. I realized that the reason why I have not made any progress in pursuing my vocation is because I have been too idle, too indecisive, too fearing. For the longest time, I’d start saying the words, “When I grow up,” out loud, and left it like that, relying on the Lord to finish the rest of the sentence. Trusting the Lord is not a bad thing, but assuming that He will drop an answer on my lap as lay in bed all day doing and accomplishing nothing is the wrong attitude in pursuing my vocation. I’ve mistakenly thought that I could find an answer by passively waiting instead of actively seeking.

I knew that God has a special purpose for me. He wrote my name in the very palm of His hands! He has a beautiful, unique, and specific plan for me from the very beginning. I still don’t know what my vocation is, but I do know that faith and action go hand in hand. I’ve been living in the state of passivity of the longest time and this must change. My vocation will remain unknown until I actively and purposely seek it. The Lord has already provided the wind and set the sails; when to start the journey in achieving His plan is up to me. No more “When I grow up…”. I am grown up, and the time to fulfill God’s call is now.

Lorryzel Badajos, CFC-Youth Pacific Region