This morning I thought about how the idea of discovering what you are meant to do in life can some times feel like going to a restaurant with 300 main dishes, 300 appetizers and 300 desserts available. I tend to be more comfortable when I flip open a menu and there are only a handful of choices available to me. I know, some of you would find that to be boring, but I like the simplicity of fewer choices. I like how my decision can be arrived at quicker and I can move on to the next steps…preparing and then enjoying.
But life doesn’t appear to be that simple.
Let’s say as far back as you can remember you knew you wanted to be a doctor. You knew ever since you were three years old when you picked up your first toy stethoscope and something deep inside you whispered…this is what I’m meant to do. Yet, even then, there comes a point along the journey when you will have to stare at all those menu choices. What schools should I apply to? How am I going to pay for this? What field of medicine do I want to study? Should I work in a hospital, private practice, or something else entirely?
Then, there’s the rest of the world who failed to hear the “this is what I am meant to do” whisper. Your whisper still appears to be perusing the 300 main course menu options and all you might be hearing right now is the “I’ll have to get back to you on that” or the “your guess is as good as mine” whisper.
Personally, my “calling” in life never came as an “ah-ha” moment. Instead, as I look back over the journey, I can see how certain situations I was in (both good and bad), decisions I made (both good and bad) and opportunities I took (both good and bad), led me to where I am now.
A few things I’ve learned along the way: Discovering your calling isn’t a one-size fits all journey. Some callings won’t necessarily make you piles of money. Sometimes a calling isn’t a downpour of discovery, sometimes it’s sprinkled along the path.
Today, I can see how previous seasons in my life continually prepare me for the next. The one common, recurring thread that has woven its way through my life is a passion to move the freedom ball up the field.
How has that calling played out in my life so far?
- Years ago, shortly after picking up the freedom ball, I felt called to step out of my comfort zone and begin facilitating a recovery small group at my church. What pointed me in that direction in the first place? Pain, wrong turns, addiction,failure… and, most importantly, a God who assured me that the freedom I had accepted was infinitely bigger than it all.
- I started a blog nearly six years ago too. I feel called to write. I share because I want to pass that freedom ball on to others.
- I feel called to continue seeking out and being a part of communities where I can move the freedom ball up the field. I’ve facilitated small groups for years now. And, last summer, I felt strongly that I needed to look for ways to help those who are stuck in the prison of sex trafficking. I found the local group,Second Life of Chattanooga, and have been volunteering with them ever since. I currently help them with their social media and I occasionally contribute blog posts too.
I do what I can to move the freedom ball further up the field.
Why? Because I can’t not do it.
Move the freedom ball up the field. That’s the whisper I now hear everyday of my life.
Has my calling earned me tons of money? Nope. Will it one day? Perhaps (most likely not) but who knows. But the thing about a calling is there is this drive inside you that prompts you to find ways to do it whether it makes you money or not. The other thing about a calling is that it will look differently depending on what season of life you are in. Yet, there are important lessons to learn and growth to experience no matter what stage of life you are in. And some times, when we look back, we discover how the desert seasons were necessary because they were instrumental at bringing us to exactly where we needed to be.
I recently read Jeff Goins new book The Art of Work where he does a beautiful job of shedding light on how we should tackle this adventure of discovering our calling. The book doesn’t officially release until March 24, but for a limited time, Jeff has been gracious enough to give the book away for free. Free! All you pay is $6.99 for shipping.
Below, I’ve listed a few of my favorite quotes. I say a “few” because I basically underlined the whole book. It’s that good! Plus, if I had listed more than a few quotes then it would be like looking at one of those menus with 300 choices and you know how much I don’t care for those. 😉
- “What I’ve come to understand is that finding your purpose is more a path than a plan; it involves twists & turns that you never expected. Ultimately these surprises lead you to your destiny. And once arrive at what you thought was the destination, you realize it’s only another leg in the journey.”
- “The way to meaningful work doesn’t always look like a carefully crafted plan. Sometimes the route to our purpose is a chaotic experience and how we respond matters more than what happens to us.”
- “All along, her life was teaching her something, even in the pain. And if she hadn’t paid attention, she just might have missed it.”
- “The trick is to find your vocation hidden in your life.”
- “A calling is what you have when you look back at your life and make sense of what it’s been trying to teach you all along.”
- “Listening is where finding your calling starts, but it’s not where it ends. Our ears can only take us so far before our hands have to do the rest of the work.”
- “Life is a classroom, and if you are paying attention, you can recognize the daily lessons available…”
- “We all want to do something that we are good at, that the world in some way recognizes, but the point of practice is never just about skill acquisition. It’s about making a contribution to the world.”
- “This is how calling happens: not as a lightning bold, but as a gentle, consistent prodding that won’t leave you alone until you act. That you respond to the call, not how, is what makes it extraordinary.”
If you are interested in reading more, you can reserve your copy HERE