Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am. -Parker Palmer
11 years ago I moved away from my hometown where I had always lived. I remember the night before we left, I burst into my dad’s house threw myself on his bed (he’d just turned in for the night), and cried that I didn’t want to go.
I’m quite sure that he didn’t want me to go either, but as any good father would he told me it would be fine and we would visit each other and talk on the phone. He sent me off 8 hours away (then asked me when I was moving back approximately every other conversation or so).
This move was a catalyst for me to grow and begin to search out how I wanted to live.
Jeff Goins advises in his book, The Art of Work ,to find our calling by listening to our life.
“I used to think a calling was something you just knew you had, and if you didn’t know then you weren’t called. But I’ve come to understand that’s not the case at all. A calling is what you have when you look back at your life and make sense of what it’s been trying to teach you all along.” (Jeff Goins)
When I think of listening to my life, the 8 years I lived far away from my giant family, is the part I pay the closest attention to.
It was during those years that I learned about friendships. I didn’t have my family to be my tribe so I had to build a new one. I had to invest in those relationships and learn about loyalty. I had to trust.
I belonged to a church where I was encouraged to jump in and help from the word go. I heard words of encouragement spoken over me. “Sarah Scott when you speak people listen.” One precious man told me while holding my hand. Perhaps to him a compliment in passing, but for me a mandate to speak out, but watch my words.
I saw people around me going out and picking up the hurting and the hungry to bring them to potluck lunch after church. Others were offering rides to who ever needed them. Being a free taxi.
I felt Holy Spirit nudgings to do some of the same.
There were plenty of lessons for me along the way. I had to learn to drop a lot of my self righteousness and judgments. I had to decide that my kindness was not dependent on whether or not others made choices I deemed worthy.
It wasn’t always pretty, but that’s life isn’t it?[bctt tweet=”It wasn’t always pretty, but that’s life isn’t it? “]
My bent toward compassion was something I stifled for a long time, but it’s always been there. Little by little it escaped my hardass exterior and began guiding my footsteps.
I just kept doing the next thing in front of me. Stumbling and failing and rising and succeeding, stumbling and failing again. Throwing myself into this chaotic pattern, because this is where the treasure is found. Nuggets of wisdom and life changing experiences.
My passion for learning to love the world better and my long time love for writing come together here on the blog. This is a part of my calling.
Caring for my children and pouring into my marriage is another part of my calling.
Deepening relationships and building community is yet a third part of my calling.
Callings are dynamic. They are pieces of life that come together to create a portfolio of a full and passionate life. Callings are a mixture of where your past had lead you, what you’re learning right now and what thrills you about the future.
Listen to your life. Do the next thing in front of you. And trust that the life you are pursuing right is a meaningful piece to add to the compilation of your future legacy.
Are you searching for your calling? What have you discovered so far?