"If you can let go of passion and follow your curiosity, your curiosity just might lead you to your passion." - Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic
I want to speak to those who find the word “calling“ to be fraught with angst.
You know, those of us who have been told by the spiritual pop culture (Oprah fans, you know who you are) that we have a purpose, and we are to be about figuring out what that purpose is and fulfill it. “Find your passion,” we are told. I do believe that we all have a purpose, but for some of us a vocation or profession doesn’t necessarily define that purpose.
I’ve always taken life as it comes. If I recorded every job I’ve had, my resume would be six pages long. No one has wanted to identify her calling more than I have. I have solicited the help of career counselors and life coaches. I’ve taken the Myers-Briggs indicator (I am an INFJ) and other quizes and assessments. I can’t say these endeavors brought me any closer to my calling, but I did learn some things. I have the heart of a teacher. I am good at organization - I have the ability to see the “big picture” and break it down into manageable parts. I’m interested in what makes people tick. I am what some call a “life learner.” I thrive on variety. And I am curious about most everything.
It was curiousity about my inner life that actually led me to my calling. After working with a spiritual director for awhile, he made an observation."Now you understand who you are."
“Really,” I said. “And who is that?”
“You are Love in the world,” he replied, matter-of-factly.
That got me thinking. Maybe it’s not so much about what we do, but who we are in the doing. I began to feel called to practice compassion, for myself and for others. Did you notice the word practice? Practicing self-compassion means learning more accepting and loving self-talk options than I was used to. The more I practice, the better I'm getting at it and the more I like it. I'm recognizing negative self-talk much more quickly and correct it. As I've becomee more compassionate with myself, I've discovered I have more compassion and tolerance for others. My current mantra is "positive or neutral" about my thoughts of others. I'm working to rewire my default judgment-mode to auto-compassion mode.
Since pride is the vice that insidiously creeps into my spirit, I find myself having to continually practice surrendering my ego to make space for God's Spirit to move in my being. Believe me, it's a full-time job.
Many people know from an early age what they are here to do and passionately go after learning how to do it. I have often wished that would have been my journey. But now, after many years of searching, I know that my journey—my calling—is to allow God to remind me of who I am so that others can experience Love through me—not by what I do, but by the spirit in which I do it—and learn who they are too. And I'm passionate about that!