Tuesday, September 15, 2015

what in the world am i supposed to do?

Today's readings: Isaiah 19:1-21:17, Galatians 2:1-16, Psalm 59:1-17, Prov 23:13-14

In both the OT and NT readings today, we see examples of people being called. In Isaiah, we witness the rather unfortunate calling of Isaiah to run around naked (we don't know how Isaiah felt about that). In the NT, we see Paul and his helper Titus being called to help a certain church, and interestingly, we do NOT see Titus being called to circumcision (I'm pretty sure I know how Titus felt about that.)

Which raises the obvious question... what are you called to do? Vocation, which we use today to just mean "job" or "career", actually comes from a root word that means "calling". Anyone can have a job. You can swerve your way into a career. But finding your calling in life is something different. It means finding what you want to do, and more importantly (and reflected in the pic above), finding who you want to be.

I'm sure that among the people reading this, there are people who have a good handle on who they are called to be, and what they are called to do. The question still remains, though... what are you called to do TODAY? Because just as His mercies are new every morning, His calling for our lives are slightly different each day, as well. Just as you wouldn't serve stale, day old bread to a guest who visits your home, so you don't want to serve up yesterday's calling in your own life or in the lives of those who need your help and wisdom today.

But some of you might even be just getting started in figuring out what you're called to do. And that, of course, is one of the biggest questions we will struggle with in our lives. It determines literally every major decision we make. Where we go to school. Who we marry or don't marry. What we do with our money. Where we live. What will our job be? All of these are smaller questions that are part of the bigger question: what are we called to do, and who are we called to be?

If you've read any of my blogs, you will probably guess what I am going to suggest as the first and most important step in this process. You want to pray about it. Ask God to show you what He wants you to do, who He wants you to be.

But then, start looking at your interests. When Psalm 37:4 says that God will give you the desires of your heart, it means both things. He'll give you the object of your desire... but He'll give you (and HAS given you) the desire ITSELF, as well. So look at the things that bring you joy. If you hate math with all your being, you're probably not called to be a math teacher. If you love animals and derive intense pleasure taking care of them, maybe you're called to be a vet. Whatever you love the most, explore that... and see where He is leading you.

Another way to explore this is to listen to what others say to you. If everyone tells you that you would make a great mom, then maybe He's calling you to marriage and motherhood. If people are always asking for your advice and counsel, maybe He wants you to get a degree in counseling and help people professionally.

One thing I strongly suggest is the prayer that I learned when I was trying to find my calling during the last few years. I wanted to do what He wanted. And I felt like I wanted to either get married or become a Jesuit. I wasn't sure which one, because I kind of wanted both. So I prayed that He would increase my desire for the thing I should do, and decrease my desire for the thing I shouldn't do. When I started praying that, my desire to become a Jesuit all but disappeared (it IS a pretty cool life, after all). And my desire to get married and have children grew very strong. So I felt like I had my answer. My spiritual director confirmed this.

So there are some thoughts. But the most important thing is, start looking for what He's calling you to. Because therein lies your deepest joy and meaning.

God, thank You for Your calling in our lives.