Callings aren't always professions

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The young man continued to talk on the phone. Wayne calls frequently, and we talk about his life, his aspirations and his family. That day Wayne was evidently contemplating what God wanted him to do with his life. He's a deep thinker and likes to have everything in place.

"I like to teach better than anything else I've attempted," he said. "But I don't feel that it's my calling."

Teaching is the latest venture in his search for a profession that fits his gifts and desires most. He still hasn't decided which direction he wants to take.

Wayne is, first of all, a family man. His wife and children take first priority after God in his life. Although he likes to teach middle school, it's also a means to do what he enjoys most -- taking care of his children and doing things around the house when he can. However, he keeps thinking fireworks will go off when he's found his perfect calling.

I suggested that perhaps his true calling was his vocation of husband and father. Teaching supplied the avenue in which he could best accomplish that desire. The hours were wonderful for raising a family, and his wife likes to work at her career, knowing that he is a great father and nurturer.

Don't we all at one time or another wonder whether we're in the right profession or career? There are various criteria in discerning what your calling is. The Holy Spirit provides a road map. If you're satisfied and feel fulfilled in what you're doing most of the time, that's a good indicator that you're following your calling. The good spirit is nudging you on. On the other hand, if you're stressed, tired, fearful, feel inadequate and dislike going to work each day, the bad spirit is guiding you. If one is following the whisperings of the good spirit, he's enthusiastic about what he does, and it energizes him. The opposite is true if the bad spirit is the guiding force. In that case you'll most likely feel tense, frustrated and exhausted.

Even though Wayne's road ahead is unclear concerning the right career, he's beginning to realize that perhaps one doesn't always have to fulfill a calling through a daily job. He can perform a work that suits him best at the time and derive his greatest joy from an after-hours vocation, such as fatherhood or even a volunteer job. Who knows when God will reveal something that pulls it all together? "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

People can also have more than one calling in life. You can perform one work during one period and a different one another time. Life is never static.

Someone's calling may be following God's will, as he knows it in whatever he does, and being another Jesus to those he encounters every day. What you do doesn't have to have a title or degree to be a calling. God and Jesus were all about ordinary lives and simplicity. Just do your best at whatever good you tackle and God will approve. We are all here for a reason, so ask yourself, "What is God calling me to do?" and do it with all your might.

Ellen Shuck holds degrees in psychology, religious education and spiritual direction and provides spiritual direction to people in her office.

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