Conversion is, then, a response to God, Who invites us to a state of complete freedom, away from everything that is hostile to His goodness and mercy. The call one hears is not primarily or simply an encouragement to amend one’s life or to follow a particular religious path….
We begin to acknowledge, accept and know God — always imperfectly and darkly — when we seek to be free of our idolatry of self, love others unselfishly and accept our existence as meaningful, despite its unmanageability. When we renounce our fear of life and give up trying to have it under our control — that is, when we acknowledge our contingency and utter dependence on God — then God comes to us and turns us toward Himself. Seen in this light, conversion means not only a turning away from one’s past but entrusting oneself to the unexpected, uncharted way into the incalculable future in which God comes to us.
From Reluctant Saint: The Life of Francis of Assisi by Donald Spoto