Here's a tidbit you might not know about being in formation in religious life: you discover things you never knew about yourself.
I thought I knew myself pretty well. I thought "I lived in a foreign country for two years. There, away from everything I knew, I really got to know myself. I know very well how I deal with sticky situations, problems, challenges, etc. I know how I make decisions, etc."
The behavioral assessment given as part of the pre-postulancy application process is meant for the Sisters to get to know who you are but also for you to think about who you are. Sure, some parts were uncomfortable but I like to think that I easily answered most of the questions.
And then I began prepostulancy.
I have since discovered that, in religious life, probably particularly during formation, you face yourself every day and there's no avoiding it. You face who you are from living in community, from praying together every day, from facing personal challenges and frustrations, from serving the poor. There's no way to ignore that mirror that shows you your abilities, inabilities, strengths, weaknesses, personality, soul. That reflection follows you around everywhere. And sometimes it shows you something shocking that you never knew about yourself. Sometimes that thing could be good, sometimes it could be bad. Or it could just be something real that needs to be tweaked into something wonderful.
Either way, meeting myself every day like this is a real challenge. Yet, as I realized this morning, it is a very good thing. I owe much to my vocations director for helping me realize that. Meeting yourself every day helps you better serve others by knowing yourself, of course...but for me, it gave me relief. Relief in knowing that this jar of clay has a few cracks and that's okay, despite what the perfectionist part of me (that I never knew I had!!!) says. (Okay, Amanda, you're going to remember this, right? Probably not...and I see a certain Sister in my future saying to me...again..."remember to be nice to Amanda!")