Right now as I write this, I have a coffee connoisseur in my ear explaining how coffee differs depending on where the beans are grown, how they're grown, sunlight conditions, and when they're harvested. He's now telling me about how they're processed, the way that grinding the beans actually happens, and when beans from several regions are blended together it tastes completely different to beans that are single origin. What about how you take it: espresso, latte, cappuccino, macchiato, long black, perhaps with soy or full cream?
I love coffee, but I don't ever stop to think about the process which produces the caffeinated goodness I enjoy so much.
What I'm getting at is that life is like coffee: there's a whole process that goes into it. As an impatient young person seeking my vocation it can get very frustrating waiting and waiting and waiting to arrive at my vocation. I get sick of discerning - I want my future NOW!
Have you ever had a bad coffee before? When the process is rushed it shows in the results. The same can be said of discernment: when you rush the process, or don't make an authentic effort; it will have an effect on your life and on your vocation.
Discernment isn't about going through the motions or ticking all the boxes to find the quickest possible route to ordination, consecration or marriage. Discernment is about being brutally honest with yourself and with God about the direction of your life. Discernment will lead to an answer or result, but it should also bring more questions. Ordination, consecration or marriage isn't the end game: the state of life which we're called to opens doors to even more directions to serve God and God's people.
My advice to other young people frustrated with discernment is to remember what the process is about. If you're frustrated about not knowing which state of life God is calling you to, then pause and see where God has placed you NOW. If you're stuck and not sure which direction to go then take a (prayerful) risk and choose a pathway.
Instant vocations are like instant coffee - the quicker the process, the poorer the results. Yes, a proper coffee takes a bit more time and effort; but the more emphasis we place on the process, the more quality the end result will be. The way in which we live and engage our vocation, our church and the world wholly depends on the way in which we engage the discernment process. If you're frustrated, impatient or sick of discerning, it means you're probably doing something right.