Tips for young people to help them discern God’s plan


Photo by Alan M. Dumoff

yya-webLeft photo: Father Kevin Nadolski speaks to young adults on the topic, “Does God have a plan for me?” during a Theology on Tap session held Jan. 19 at the Landmark Americana Tap and Grill in Glassboro.

For many young people beginning to settle into adulthood, the transition into post-academic life can be overwhelming. Suddenly, no one is dictating the next step to take, and they are left to choose for themselves.

Where to work? Who to love? The questions are endless and often stressful.

On Jan. 19, about 85 young adults from around the Diocese of Camden met at the Landmark Americana Tap and Grill in Glassboro to ask one question in particular: “Does God have a plan for me?”

The gathering was held as part of Theology on Tap, a movement that reaches out to young adults with the message of Christ in a casual setting. This was the fourth meeting for the South Jersey TOT, which launched in September of last year.

The speaker for the evening was Father Kevin Nadolski of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales. Father Nadolski spent seven years as a director of vocations and is deeply familiar with the struggles that come with discerning God’s call.

“Your career is how you make money, but your vocation is how you make a difference,” Nadolski said, explaining that many small decisions work together to form each person’s unique calling.

Through personal reflection, prayer and the support of others, discovering God’s plan doesn’t have to be panic-inducing. Father Nadolski offered nine tips for anyone discerning their next step in life.

1) Start with the end in mind. God calls us from heaven, which should be our ultimate goal.

2) Define your preferred lifestyle and “love style.” Figuring out the best way to love others – in marriage, singlehood or religious life – is a large part of discovering our vocation.

3) Do the next “best” thing. Life isn’t meant to be planned in full, but by making the best decisions we can in the present moment.

4) Seek a trusted friend and/or spiritual director. Other people who know us well can point out strengths and weaknesses we may overlook. Wise advice is a crucial resource.

5) Listen to your head and your heart. Some people can be excessively rational, while others are emotionally driven. Making good decisions calls for a healthy balance of both.

6) Make no decision in crisis. Difficult situations can prevent us from thinking clearly.

7) Mourn what we say no to. Choosing one vocation is to turn down another. Can we live without the things we’re sacrificing?

8) Serve the common good. No matter what we decide, our choice should serve the needs of all people, especially the less fortunate.

9) Jesus is the model. “The first vocation is to be fully human, and we were saved by one who was fully human,” Father Nadolski said. We can’t go wrong imitating Jesus.

More information about Theology on Tap — South Jersey is available by calling Andres Arango at 856-583-2876, or on

Melissa Pileiro is a freelance writer and senior journalism major at Rowan University, Glassboro.