Finding your calling

The fifth most important thing in life is to find your calling.  I do really consider this to be one of the top 10 most important things in life, because its one that a lot of people miss, and I think they go through life with a low grade grief because of missing it.

How do you begin to find your calling?  Well, how come we named it a “calling” anyway?  Its something God made you to do, and in a sense He “calls” you to be doing it.  The word vocation comes from the latin word for “call”, because in those days life was more about God and less about “me” than it is today.  Still the “call”, even though it comes from God, is meant for you and is specifically for you.  God tailored you for it.  He gave you abilities, interests and passions, so you would fit the call.  Therefore, the three questions to ask yourself are:  “What am I good at?”  “What do I love to do?” and “What do I really care about?”  One of these days when our “best self” is driving, its good to think about the answers to these questions.  I say when our “best self” is on the job, because to get good answers you have to have somebody good doing the answering.  Days when I’m selfish, vain or otherwise full of myself are days when I am not going to get good answers to the three questions. 

If I ask myself “What am I good at?”, I’d better be brutally honest with myself.  Better yet, I should ask a few other people who may have a less biased and therefore more realistic answer.  I had thought myself quite good at music and art and fancied myself famous one day in one or both of those fields.  That was until an art professor told me I should buy a camera instead, and the music director told me I had no sense of rhythm and no voice either.  Quite a disappointment, to be sure, but then my motive was wrong.  I mostly wanted to be famous, and thats never a good motive.

The second question, “What do I love to do?” might be somewhat easier.  There are two pitfalls here, though.  The first is that a lot of people are martyrs at heart and think nothing worth doing is valuable unless you suffer in order to do it.  These people feel God’s will is always to be doing something very difficult and sacrificial.  What a pathetic view of God!  I’m sure He’s very disappointed!  In fact, a Christian author, J.I. Packer says that where our interest and delight collide with our duty, that is where we find our calling.  If God wants me to do something and He wants me to do it for more than a couple of weeks, and He would like to see a good job done, then He will make me with the ability to do it, interest in it and enjoyment in doing it.  He’s the smartest of us all, and we ought to give Him credit for it.

The other pitfall is we think we like to do a thing and actually we just very much admire the people who are doing it.  We think they are so wonderful and we want to be as wonderful as we think they are, so we want to do what they do.  As I said, I loved music, and I so admired good singers.  It wasn’t until the community choir director (not at all as nice as the choir director at church who put up with all sorts of things) told me I sounded like a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, that I realized I didn’t actually like singing all that much–I just wanted to be like the singers I admired.  If you’re not sure of the difference, just try out the thing you think you would like doing and see what happens.  You will either love doing it and be good at it, or you won’t.  And, by the way, you’ll never love doing something you’re bad at, at least not for long.  Frustration is quite a joy killer.

Speaking of cats singing, we used to lie awake on summer nights listening to the cats singing through the open windows.  After awhile my father would yell out “Oh for crying out loud, she said no!”  Of course, this has nothing to do with our topic, but since it was cute and we did mention cats, I decided to include it.  Now we’ll go on to our third question.

What is your passion?  What do you really care about?  The answer to this might come out of your personal experience, something you have seen or something you have read about, but you will realize you care about it very, very much.  It might be needy children, or the sick, or seeing people succeed in business, or seeing a house constructed, or seeing a field harvested.  Whatever it is, you will care deeply, and it will be part of your package.

Whenever you find a place where the three answers intersect, you will be in the general vicinity of your calling.  For instance, if you love animals, you’re very good at science and you care very much about the welfare of animals, you might be a veteranarian.  If you also love the outdoors, you might be a park ranger.  In my case, I loved children and homemaking, I was good at homemaking, and I felt strongly about being a homemaker, so that is what I did and never outgrew it until my dear husband died after the boys had grown.  That is when I began writing.  I love writing, and I only write about things I feel passionate about.  Am I any good at writing, well you will have to answer that for yourself, won’t you?  The wonderful thing about writing is who can say when its good?  Its rather like beauty, in the eye of the beholder.

 Nonni

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