It was less than one month until my college graduation, and I was systematically applying for all jobs that listed marketing, communications or public relations in the job description. As I cast my resume into the sea of the unknown, I reflected on the limitless possibilities ahead. No longer constrained by a full course load and internship, I was free to do anything. But what did God want me to do? Who did He want me to be?
Single Catholics often struggle to find their unique life purpose, and with no fiancé waiting in the wings or a young family to care for, it’s easy for even the smartest and most faith-filled singles to feel apprehensive or lost when it comes to their future.
Where should I live? What should I do for a living? How should I spend my time? What really makes me happy?
These questions are not easy questions for anyone to answer and especially single Catholics who may not be ready for marriage but want to grow in self-knowledge as they pursue their God-given purpose and an eventual spouse.
Enter Dick and Martha Lyles, a dynamic 60-something couple in Poway, Calif. and co-authors of the newly-released book Answer Your Call: Reclaim God’s Purpose for Faith, Family, and Work. This husband-wife duo is spearheading a Catholic Renewal Campaign aimed at inspiring a resurgence of Catholic values in the U.S., and their book represents one component of their crusade.
In some ways a response to evangelical pastor Rick Warren’s 2003 best-seller The Purpose-Driven Life, Answer Your Call is a practical guide deeply rooted in Catholic theology written to help readers bridge the gap between their faith and their everyday lives, while discerning their life’s purpose and, ultimately, answer their call.
Inspired by their own brushes with reality, including Dick’s coma, the Lyleses break down why we lose sight of God’s presence, how we lose touch with our natural gifts and how we can discern and fulfill our God-given purpose. It’s an easy read specifically tailored for our on-the-go culture, and each chapter is packed with real-life examples, Scripture and references to the Catechism that apply to all readers and especially Catholic singles.
Determining Your Calling
A large portion of the book focuses on the people, things and mindsets that hold us back from fulfilling our unique purpose. This was intentional — we can only determine our call after we recognize these barriers. Our divine call is more than a faith statement — it is three dimensional and achieved when you combine your natural gifts with God’s supernatural grace to fulfill your unique life purpose.
Many people, and likely many singles, often consider their call to be synonymous with a career or vocation, but ultimately, your calling should be something more and address faith, family and work.
Answer Your Call guides readers through the four phases of determining one’s purpose — data gathering, analysis and evaluation, clarification and implementation — and then outlines the daily actions that we must all take to integrate God’s grace and purpose into our daily life.
How do we know when we’re successful? Dick and Martha write:
“The only valid measure of success in life is whether or not we develop our gifts to their fullest potential, use them in a way that brings glory and honor to God and touches people in a special way.”
What a powerful message for faithful Catholics and especially singles! God doesn’t only call mothers and fathers or husbands and wives to fulfill His work. He has a divine plan for each of us, including singles and those with a religious vocation. We are all a part of His Church.
Even though my college graduation is now years behind me, Answer Your Call has inspired me to reflect on my gifts and the call that God has set on my heart. I hope that the practical tips in Answer Your Call inspire you to do the same. Be empowered by the gifts you have to offer and the unique purpose that God has ordained for you alone.
To learn more about Dick and Martha’s campaign, visit www.catholicrenewal.org.