I’ve been thinking about calling lately. A lot of things have been happening to influence this thought process, like reading amazing books, being inspired by the thoughts of others, coming to a growing realization that it may be time for a shift in my own calling, and being gifted with a powerful idea for energizing people in their personal calling.
I’ll be doing more writing about this as I prepare posts for my new website, but for now, I thought I’d write a few random thoughts that are on my mind. (And yes, I know I’m mixing metaphors all the way through, but that’s why I’m calling them “random” as opposed to “polished”.)
Here are some of the things I’ve learned about following your calling and honouring your giftedness.
1. A calling is not a clear or straight path. Sometimes you have to take surprising detours along the way, stumble through a lot of undergrowth, and climb over major obstacles. The remarkable thing about all those obstacles and detours, though, is that once you’ve struggled past them, you can usually look back and recognize the value in them.
2. There may not be any “ultimate destination” in the path to your calling. More often than not, the real calling is to the journey, not the destination. Be faithful in the journey and you’re being faithful to your calling. Don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t mastered “who you were meant to be”.
3. Sometimes, just when you think you’ve found exactly the path you’re meant to be on and you believe that you’re doing just what you’ve been placed on this earth to do, the path will begin to fade or lose its interest. It may be time to shift direction again, or stumble in the dark for awhile until a new path emerges. Open yourself up to new learning, even if it seems scary.
4. On the other hand, there will be some moments when, like Moses, you will see your “burning bush” and know undeniably that you are standing on holy ground. It may be a moment when you accomplish something so remarkable that you know it comes from a higher power than just your own (like Moses parting the Red Sea). It may be a moment when you feel a tingling sensation because you know that something you have been inspired to create is truly good.
5. If you find and follow the wrong path for awhile, your body and soul will begin to tell you it doesn’t feel right. Pay attention to the signs. Are you exhausted? Losing your creative edge? Irritable with your children? Stop and listen.
6. Sometimes waiting patiently is the most important thing you can do. When you’ve discovered you may be on the wrong path (or even if you’ve been on the right path but recognize it’s time to change), it’s important to cut yourself some slack and find time for rest, quiet meditation and prayer before you seek a new direction. Chances are the “wrong path” will end up being the “right path” for that period of time because of the things it was able to teach you.
7. Good people will show up along the path to support you. Trust them and be open to them. When you feel that you lack the capacity and strength to fully accomplish your task, perhaps it means that you’re meant to invite someone else onto the path with you – someone who will bring their own giftedness to make the completed task even more beautiful.
8. Sometimes though, the people who show up won’t believe you’re meant to be on that particular path. They may have your best interests at heart and just don’t want to see you (or those around you) get hurt, or they may feel anger or jealousy toward you because you’ve found something they haven’t. Listen to them, if they have something valuable to say, but don’t let yourself be too swayed by their opinions. Remember that they’re just human – these people do not have greater access to truth than you do.
9. You may need to be willing to give up and let go for the path to become clear again. Sometimes rock bottom is the best place to start a new journey. It will be really hard to reach that place and to truly let go of all of your ambitions and dreams, but when you are willing to open your hand and heart and release whatever you’re hanging onto, a brand new beautiful gift may be placed into your open and empty hand.
10. There may be long stretches of time when life feels more like drudgery and just "getting things done" than following some kind of higher calling. That's okay. Just be. Don't stretch too much or try too hard. Maybe it's just your time to live, to support other people in their calling, to hibernate, or to germinate new seeds that will see growth come Springtime.