This seems like a inappropriate and petty title, considering I am about to discuss an aspect of God-given vocations. However, although I do not particularly care to focus on this rather unimportant point, it seems God would have it, therefore I write it. This concerns a common misconception that we are forced into our way of life. Especially one who is discerning will often feel that he is being forced into a life that he did not choose, a vocation.
An interesting thing about us is that we are so apt to settle for second best. We lose patience, get confused and distracted, lose faith, and end up throwing ourselves into places that God could have improved upon. We ignore what our hearts truly want! At the very least, if one is going to try to include God in his search for his vocation, he should pray for guidance.
What do I mean when I say we ignore what our hearts truly want? Just this... what we truly desire is our vocation, always. God gives us each the vocation that will fulfill us the most, and bring us the most happiness. Therefore, it is not He who puts this desire into our hearts... but He sees this desire, this perfection of our persons, and gives us a vocation that fulfills it in the greatest way possible. He then strengthens the desire and fortifies it so that we are prepared for the work we are to do. When seeking your vocation, analyze your desires... what you truly want, for that is a direct hint of your vocation.
One of the main issues that arises when we are discerning our vocation is the difficulty of faith and patience. We, as humans, are often rather impetuous. We think we know what we want, we come to believe life is too short, and we cease waiting for God. Part of our vocation is the purification of our motives and testing of our faith. If we are not patient, faithful, and prayerful in our discernment we will mistake God's work in our souls for silence. He does not ask us to step out of the womb into the immediate challenges of motherhood or advanced religious life... rather, He raises us as children to these heights. At the very least, if we hope to make the right decision, we need to open our hearts to God's work and pray sincerely for guidance and strength.
I speak often of distractions. Sometimes we are afraid to pursue our true vocations, sometimes we are impatient and have no faith, but actions done as a result of these two things can seriously hinder our search for our vocation. The best example of a distraction for one with a religious vocation is dating. At this point in one's life it is difficult not to take pleasure in this and thus it is one of the greatest and most dangerous deterrents of a vocation of consecrated virginity. Another distraction for some is learning... with all the pressure to attend college and gain financial independence on young people, it is often very difficult to look beyond our study obligations and see something else. These distractions cause us to be prepared to settle for "second best" before we really know our true vocation. The best vocation and the deepest desires of the heart do not stem from mere material interest.
Now I come to the heart of this topic. Your vocation is a gift from God and a pull to a certain way of life... but He has given you a life of your own. So many religious vocations are never realized because of this, but it is true, we are asked to follow our vocations, it is not demanded. Unless you are the one to make the choice to follow a certain vocation, you are not truly following it. To follow our vocations requires us to make a decision for ourselves. If we do not agree with our heart that this is the vocation that our hearts most ardently desire and God most strongly pulls us too, there is no possible way we can live our vocations in the fullest way possible, for to follow a vocation is an expression of freedom of mind and heart.
When we are confirmed, they say it is our decision to join the Catholic Church. It is at this point that we are grown enough to reason for ourselves whether we would like to be Catholic. God never makes us follow Him, but He begs us to do so for our sakes. By merit of our free will we are individual persons, and can make a decision to follow our vocations or to disregard them. It is ultimately our freedom to choose to follow God's call or not to, and He will not hate you for attempting to walk alone. However, let us pray that we always do His will and thus come to find the unique and precious vocations He has given each of us.