What brings you joy?
Editor’s note: Sister Hannah Corbin shares the following reflection and prayer with young people. Feel free to share it with young people you know and love. May we all find and become that which makes us most fully alive!
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
I am sure you have been asked this question hundreds of times. How do you answer? Do you talk about wanting to be a teacher, doctor, or farmer? Or do you say things like, “I want to help people,” “I want to build things,” or perhaps “I want to travel the world”?
Have you ever wondered what the purpose of your life is? How are you supposed to figure that out, anyway?
In the Bible, Jeremiah 29:11 states, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares God, plans to prosper you and give you hope…”
These plans are not written down somewhere. There is not an instruction book you must follow.
These plans are written inside you. “Huh?” you might ask. Well, you know those things you think about being when you “grow up?” They are clues to who you are and what you can offer the world. What are your interests, gifts, and passions? Do you like to be around people or alone? Do you like to fix things or make things? Do you enjoy activities that use your body or activities that use your mind? These are all are signs, pointing to who you are.
Pay attention to those things that excite you. That bring you joy. That you never want to stop doing. Frederick Buechner said, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Some people call this your “vocation.” It is the person God is calling you to be in the world.
What does your community, school, or family need? Can your interests, passions, and gifts help meet those needs? You don’t even need to wait until you “grow up.” You can use your skills and interests to serve the world now.
Try this little prayer to get you started:
God, you have gifted me with many skills and strengths.
Some I know about and others I have not yet discovered.
Help me pay attention to these gifts,
so I may better understand your plans for my life.
Teach me how to use them to help others now.
For I do not need to wait until I “grow up.”
Lovely, Hannah! Thank you for this reminder about vocation. Sometimes I have stumbled on this deep gladness meeting the world’s deep hunger by what feels like accident but is probably grace. In other words, paying attention is key for me and trusting Providence.
dear Hannah…..your blog is so providential for me as I am in the process of discernment, with my PA companion, as a Providence Associate candidate. Your reminder to “pay attention” is just what I needed to hear. Too often the answers are all around me and just waiting for me to stop what I’m preoccupied with and give them my full attention so they can bloom. thank you!
Wow, Hannah, this is great!!! These words aren’t just for kids – you’ve touched me and I’m 71 and still growing up! Thanks so much. Jeannie Smith, PA
Thank you so much for writing this! I’m in the final throes of my graduate program and feel as though there is very little time or opportunity to feel joy in what I’m doing – I just need to get through the muck and finish. Remembering that joy is an important aspect of our call to be more whole and to serve God/others brings me hope that all of this overwhelm will pay-off and is part of a bigger picture and vocation.