A few months ago, we completed, I thought, a series of blogs on Live Your Calling. It turns out there is much more to say on this subject. So here is another post on this topic. (You can find the rest by clicking on the Live Your Calling category in the category list in the right hand margin.)
Before we can live our call we have to “find” it. The process of finding our calling is different for everyone. In the passage below, Suzanne Farnham describes how God gets our attention.
“People call us to get our attention, to make contact with us, to draw us closer to them. So it is with God. A call may come as a gradual dawning of God’s purpose for our lives. It can involve an accelerating sense of inner direction. It can emerge through a gnawing feeling that we need to do a specific thing. On occasion, it can burst forth as a sudden awareness of a path that God would have us take. Call may be emphatic and unmistakable, or it may be obscure and subtle. In whatever way call is experienced, through the centuries God has chosen to speak to us and bids us to listen.” ( By Suzanne Farnham et al in Listening Hearts).
Finding our call can also become as prolonged process because we think too hard about it. We are afraid we will get it wrong somehow and live to regret it – or, even worse, be shown disobedient to God. In the following quote Gregg Levoy points out that over-thinking or holding off on a call is risky.
“There is such a thing as thinking too much about a calling, which is like leaving a hot iron too long in one place while you’re trying to smooth the wrinkles out of your shirt. Not only can studying it to death—turning it inside out like an old sock rather than, to some degree, simply exposing yourself before it—make it bony with refusal, but it can also be a pretty good way of avoiding the call altogether. We can analyze every facet of it. We can probe every consequence of following it, not following it, procrastinating in following it, jumping on it right away, or trading it in for another. We can ponder whether it’s really ours or whether we’re appropriating someone else’s, whether the time is now or later, whether it’s being murmured to us by God or not-God.
We can hold off and then beat ourselves up for not taking action, or we can take action and beat ourselves up for not being more patient. We can scare the backbone out of ourselves by contemplating the enormity of the call and the modest talents we bring to bear on it. We can break ourselves against the rock of debate. We can spend so much time, in other words, dithering with definitions and exactitudes, possibilities and probabilities, that we do little more than chase our own tails and eventually collapse into bed too exhausted to do anything at all.” ( By Gregg Levoy in Callings)
It appears that finding and living our call is as much a leap of faith as is following Jesus. We have to start the walk across the bridge even if we can’t see where it joins the earth. A new year is a great time to intuit a new call or commit anew to a well-worn old call and follow the Holy Spirit into 2016.
I’m learning that determining a calling is a life-long project because life events often influence a calling. Hopefully we can learn to lean into the cues the Holy Spirit provides rather than aimlessly chasing a dream
You just described much of my life.
Ryan, every mother’s dream is to hear that their adult child has found value in something she has shared. Challenged by a calling is good; paralyzed is not. The journey of a calling is life-long and takes many paths. You’ll figure it out.
Good thoughts, Mom! I know that one year ago at this time I was struggling with discerning whether being a Hope College professor was really my calling, and I should stick with it even when presented with other, perhaps more exciting, possibilities. I’m still here at Hope, and sometimes still wondering, but at least I’m not paralyzed by the question!
Thank you, Karen.
Sent from my iPad