Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wisdom in Our Calling and Vocation

Do you ever find yourself asking God, "What is it exactly I'm called to do?  Or maybe you've asked, "What is the goal of my vocation?" I spent my summer chasing a writing deadline with a very clear goal at the end: a book.  All my closest people heard about this goal, whether they wanted to or not, because finishing the book was constantly on my mind.  In fact, my husband and girls were super supportive throughout the eight and ten hour writing days until the very end when each one said, "Isn't that book done yet?"  Reaching that goal, finishing the book felt so good.  You might read this and think, "She's fortunate to know her vocation, her calling."

Well, here's the backstory.  For almost ten years, when my daughters went through preschool and elementary school, I asked myself the questions above.  I wanted to write a second book not only for the subject but also for my vocation, my work, my calling. And it took ten years until it finally happened.  Year after year it seemed every door would close and every answer was "no."  In dark moments, I let the closed doors and the confusion of hearing, "no" serve to distract me from doing what my Heavenly Father wanted.  Ironically, as the ten-year-story of my life unfolded, I did walk in my calling and vocation but not the way I thought I would hear it and live it.

Here's Five Nuggets of Wisdom I learned in the Past Ten Years:  (I have more but five is a good start)
  1. Our calling can come from a revelation, an invitation, or an employment situation.  I may not have said "Yes" to every invitation or job opportunity but I embraced certain ones with my whole heart.  I do not regret taking jobs or projects that seemed out of the box.
  2. What brings us deep satisfaction tells us something about our calling.  On the Friday after I finished the book, I felt joy--a full and filling happiness that caused me to laugh.  The days and weeks that followed were not filled with more writing but with extended time with friends and family I had missed while I was writing.  The satisfaction I experienced from spending time with them is also a part of my calling; satisfaction has a way of leading us.
  3. The "seasons" of our lives don't need to frighten us.  I wanted to do everything at once.  I have women friends who do this beautifully.  I wasn't one of those.  When the fruits of the Spirit started rotting in my heart because I was stressed, I knew it was God's way of letting me know I walked away from my calling.  I'm so thankful for a season of writing: it had a beginning and an end. Before that season, I had a season of no writing; I felt like Habakkuk in chapter three.  Looking back, that season had a beginning and end, too.  Don't let the word "seasons" frighten you.
  4. Marriage and Parenting are part of our vocation. Building meaningful relationships with my husband and daughters required me to slow the pace of my life down significantly. I made a costly choice to work with more flexible hours. 
  5. The burdens and pains I feel are an indication of my vocation and calling.  The very things that broke my heart and seared it with sadness were gifts God gave me to follow my call.  I learned to pay careful attention to them so I wouldn't lose the gifts I was born to embrace and hold dear to my chest.  

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