The Joyful Compass

IMG_9366 (1200x674) By: Mark Suezo.

My parents are hardworking people and have done so much to ensure that my brother and sister and I were provided for our whole life. I am very proud of what they have accomplished. I was raised with the philosophy that as their son, I would go to school, get a successful career and make enough money to  support my family and my parents in their old age. My idea of a fulfilling life meant a successful career, a family, a comfortable life filled with vacations, cars and a big home and making sure my loved ones were proud of me.

So, at the age of 20, after completing a business program , I joined the family business. I was very good at my job. Within months, I was winning awards and achieving great success . I was excited for my future and began making plans. If I continued on this path of success, I knew that by the age of 25 I would be the head of our firm.. Our firm would be generating enough income to retire at 40. Helping my family and making them proud was truly at the root of my hard work.

However, shortly after joining the business, I felt God tugging at my heart. I was reminded that love for my family and my desire to do my parent’s will should not surpass my love for God and desire to do his will. He was calling me to be open to giving up all of my plans to follow him. Sadly, at the time, I was not willing to listen to him, and though he was persistent, I shut him out. Eventually, after months of ignoring God’s voice, my relationship with God fell apart and I began to feel unsatisfied with my life. Though I was successful, I was feeling anxious and empty.

Finally, this emptiness was too hard to bear and I turned to prayer. For the first time in a long time, I picked up a rosary looking for peace and direction. As soon as I was finished, a simple word came to mind: Joy. Then, I remembered a quote from Blessed Mother Teresa:

“The deep inner joy that you feel is

the compass that indicates your direction in life”

I decided to be honest with myself: I had not felt true joy since joining the family business. Making money made me happy, so did making my parents proud; but, this happiness was fleeting and did not give me deep joy. It dawned on me that this lack of joy may be an indication that I wasn’t headed in the right direction in life. I was realizing that if I truly loved God, I needed to follow whatever he had planned for me. So I asked myself: When was the last time I felt deep inner joy?

The answer was in mission. As I looked back on my life, I realized that my joy was found in sharing the Gospel. I loved leading faith studies and seeing God transform the lives of others around me. Nothing brought me more joy than proclaiming the Gospel. I knew that God was pointing me in the direction of missionary work with CCO.


Mark working with other CCO Missionaries


This was no easy decision. I had to face my family and coworkers with the news that I was leaving the family business. I had to repeat to myself “All I care about is sharing the Gospel, that’s what brings me joy” and by the grace of God, I resigned from my post. Despite being ridiculed and accused by everyone closest to me  for letting my family down and going against my commitment to provide for them, I was filled with peace knowing that I was following God’s will in my life.

Now, I am a full-time missionary at Simon Fraser University and have never been in a more peaceful and joyful place in my life. Today I can say my family is happy for me and that all they really wanted was for me to be happy and to do  something I loved. Today I can say with conviction that true fulfillment can only be found in following God’s will for our lives.

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