Discerning one's vocatio (call from God) takes commitment, discipline, and patience. It is also a very personal process that is unique to each individual on their path. There is no absolute or correct way to experience this process, but there are key steps and elements that will lead to clarity and understanding. Also, the discernment process involving vocatio never truly ends, but evolves. Once someone has clarity regarding their call from God, they may need assistance knowing how to move into their calling and, over time, assignments may change as they grow and become more experienced within their vocatio. The discernment process helps us through the many dynamic phases of God's call and purpose for our lives.
STEP 1: The Power of Prayer
The first of the Christian disciplines in our daily lives is the commitment to prayer. This is the time we set aside in our busy day to connect with God and listen for God's guidance. If we do not commit to this first discipline, it is easy for us to listen solely to our own inner voice or others about our purpose and call from God.
It is recommended that individuals in the vocatio discernment process keep a prayer journal on this topic to keep track of specific questions asked to God, answers that are received from God during prayer, or answers that are delivered by messengers of God (e.g., the timely comment from an acquaintance or stranger, a divine message from a friend, or a timely encounter or situation that brings clarity).
There are additional discernment steps that can be taken to help us discover our vocatio while we are developing our prayer life or waiting to hear our call (vocatio). Those steps are listed below, and other suggestions are listed on the Resources page.
STEP 2: Understanding Our Gifts
One of the most helpful approaches to discerning one's vocatio is understanding our God-given gifts and talents. Scripture reminds us that we are all born with individual skills and gifts for a reason: "...but all these gifts are the activity of one and the same Spirit, distributing them to each individual at will." (I Corinthians 12:11)
There are some questions that can help you on your path to discovering your vocatio. It is recommended that you write down these questions and your answers in a journal:
1. What are my gifts and talents?
2. What do other people consider to be my
gifts and talents? (Sometimes we
do not see ALL of our gifts and talents;
answering this question also validates
what we see in ourselves. Be sure to
ask this question of individuals who
are not trying to control you in some
way. This is an authentic question that
requires authentic answers.)
3. What am I passionate about, and do
my gifts and talents align with this
passion somehow? (What am I
not passionate about, and do my
gifts and talents align with that?)
4. For which gifts, talents, and/or passions do I
feel God's presence helping and guiding me as I
PLEASE NOTE: A call from God is not a decision we make or other people make for us. We are each here for a reason and purpose, and through discipline and patience we can discover God's will for our lives.
In addition to answering these questions, other discernment approaches can be used based on individual preference. The Resources section of this website has a list of books, articles, sermons, and videos to help individuals customize their individual assessment process.
The committees that support this website highly recommend an astrology natal chart reading for the most in-depth understanding of one's divine blueprint and path to discovering one's vocatio.
STEP 3: Have Faith and Persistence
The road to discovering one's vocatio is incredibly fulfilling, but it requires faith and persistence. We live in a society that rewards efficiency and provides answers to questions in seconds. We also live in a society that requires us to make enough money to take care of ourselves and, in a lot of cases, take care of others. If we focus just on our daily needs for survival, taking the time to find one's vocatio can seem like a luxury for those who have the time and the financial means. This is not the case, though; our vocatio or call from God brings a deeper meaning and purpose to our lives and keeps emotions such as emptiness and depression at bay. It is also important to note that making money is very important in a 21st-century society. It may be that your vocatio is something that does not bring in enough income for your daily needs. The Apostle Paul's vocatio was to help spread the Christian faith through his ministry, but his main source of income was through his tent-making business (one of his talents). Vocatio does not equate to financial success, but it does mean that God equips us with other gifts and talents so we can provide for ourselves and others in a material-based modern society.
The Discernment Process
'Do not be afraid,' said Jesus to Simon; 'from now on you will be catching people.'
- Luke 5:10