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Finding Your Calling
By Monte E. Wilson

In my work as an executive coach and corporate trainer, one of the most frequent angst that I encounter in others has to do with “calling.”

“Am I doing what I am meant to be doing? It sure doesn’t feel like it.”

“I am good at this job, but it is not fulfilling. There is no sense of fulfilling my destiny.” (Note: I hear this from both spiritual and non-spiritual people.)

“I am a slave to my salary, benefits, and health insurance.”

“I am 50 years old and I still wonder what I am going to do when I grow up.”

Your Calling

The word “vocation” comes from the Latin word “vox”: Voice. This is where we derive the idea of a Calling.

Most of us want to be engaged in a Calling, not a job. We want meaningful labor, not drone-like activity. Gratefully, living in a relatively free country, we are at liberty to seek out such work.

For some reason, however, Callings are elusive. Part of the problem for some people is that they are waiting for a Clear Voice or Sign, such as St Paul experienced on the road to Damascus. However, this is NOT the norm. For most people such clarity comes gradually, over a long period of time.

Sometimes, you start out as a General Practitioner: you do this, that, and the other. You gradually discover that you are good at this, hate that, but only find meaningfulness in the other. A dawning then occurs. The whisper of a voice is heard … a voice that seems to be calling us in a certain direction.

At other times, we may wake up at 65 years old, look back at four different careers, and, Shazam, we hear it! What we experienced as four different paths is now seen as having had a single thread running through them all. “So THAT is my Calling!”

For some people, their job is what pays the bills, but their charity work or community service is their Calling. While some discover how to wed the two, others do not.

There is nothing essentially wrong with working at a job for money. St Paul did this when he became a tentmaker, didn’t he? The money he made from his business was used to support his Calling.

The challenge with a job is that they are rarely all that fulfilling. I understand that, given today’s economy, many people would be glad to have even a frustrating job! My point is that when comparing a job to a Calling there is a world of difference.

Of course, a career is better than a job: at least when it comes to a sense of satisfaction with your labor. With a career, there is a field you have chosen to specialize in and a path moving ever upward that you are following. However, if the path ceases moving upward with more and more challenges and rewards, it can become almost as unfulfilling as a job.

Answering the Question

As I see it, the concept of Calling, is an answer to the question, “Why am I here? What is the purpose of my existence?” For the majority of us, I don’t think the answer to such a critical question can be answered a minute or two after asking it!

What are my highest and most sacred values?

What are my gifts and talents? (What has always come easy to me?)

Who are my heroes? What do most of them have in common?

What makes you angry: not ticks you off or aggravates you, but makes you angry? Poverty? Injustice? Ignorance? Self-destruction? People who are suffering from curable diseases?

This last question may be new and possibly even troubling for some of you. However, when you think about it, if, for example, one of your highest values is Justice, then injustice is going to make you angry, eh? Now, if many of your heroes are lawyers and judges and crusaders against injustice … hey, isn't this telling you something about yourself that may help you discover your Calling?

Consider this quote by Abraham Kuyper:

When principles that run against your deepest conviction begin to win the day, then battle is your calling, and peace has become a sin; you must, at the price of dearest peace, lay your conviction bare before friend and enemy, with all the fire of your faith.

Something is terribly wrong: you see it, you hear it, you sense it. When you begin answering the question, “What am I going to do about it?” you just may be hearing a Voice … or at least a whisper of a Voice.