I recall a conversation with one of my previous spiritual directors as a teen. He told me a story of how a young woman had once told him insistently that she wanted to give her life to God as a Religious. So, allowing her to test her desire, he sent her to the sisters for a week. He told me that she came back saying that the life is really not for her and that she could never be a Religious.
What did that teach me? It taught me a few things:
1. All of our desires must be tested. Until we are tested and our desires grow in relation to the reality of the situation and the life, we cannot make sound and clear decisions.
2. Until you experience the reality, it is very easy to fall into the fantasy, with certain ideals that have been shaped by our background, but that do not correspond to reality.
3. It all takes time, prayer and reflection. Sometimes we think we want something, but then, in time, we lose the desire and realise that perhaps it was just initial excitement. The surest way is to see if the desire is sustained over a longer period of time, and whether, on subsequent visits etc, you still have the desire to live that particular way of life.
4. You need to consider all aspects of the life - the ups and the downs, the trials that will come, "would you risk the hostile stare, should your life attract or scare?" (The Summons - John Bell).
5. Objectivity is important. Sometimes our desires are actually shaped, or even come from, someone else. For example, if you have a friend in that congregation, then you may feel tempted to follow them to join their congregation when in fact, you would be better suited to another congregation or way of life.
So, in conclusion, let go and let God. Let Him lead you and guide you, and remain open to all He has to show you. Discern, with the guidance of a trained and experienced spiritual director, and pray about all decisions. Experience the life before jumping to conclusions, and know the reality in its fullest form possible, then, and only then, will you be able to make an informed decision.
God bless, and know you have my prayers,Kim-Thérèse