“Dad, what would you say is your calling in life?”
The question seemed to come out of the blue from my college-age daughter. As we stood in the kitchen, inwardly I was a bit taken aback. It was totally legitimate to ask, but it got so quickly to the core of things that I felt momentarily stunned. Did I have a calling? Had I thought about it much? What was I good at and motivated to do? What was my purpose for being on this planet?
My daughter’s question went about as deeply as you can go and is worth reflection by every leader, every person. That’s true especially if we believe that we haven’t been put here by accident, that we are not a mere random collection of genetic material. Are we going through the motions of life? Do we feel stuck in a life situation that we somehow feel incapable of extracting ourselves from?
A similar question came at the church I was visiting yesterday. The leader up front said, “In the bulletin you’ll find a yellow slip of paper. It is blank on both sides. What we’d like you to do is write your name on the paper and tell us what you are passionate about.” What a great request! What are you passionate about? Instead of asking, “What are your gifts?” or “How would you like to serve the church?” which could create feelings of guilt or the burden of one more task to be done, they wanted to know what motivated us, what gave us energy and excitement in life.
And as we think about answering that, the logical follow-ups are: How much are you able to exercise your passion or calling? If not enough, what are ways you can make it more a part of your life?
Take a few minutes (or months) to ponder those questions for yourself. I’d be glad to hear back from anyone what you think your passion or calling is and how how have built or could build that into your life.
How did I answer my daughter’s question? After a moment’s hesitation I said, “I think I am called to use words, whether written or spoken, for the glory of God.”
“Oh,” she said, “that’s what I thought.” (Whew! Passed the test!) “I think I am called to help children somewhere in the world in an urban setting.” I thought that was a great calling. And over the past several years she has been pursuing that, first in the slums of Peru and now in a law career that will allow her to help families and children who don’t normally have access to legal assistance.
For me, that’s one reason I started this blog. I needed to find another way to exercise my passion. What about you?