Years ago I was personally challenged. Challenged by many people. But not in a negative way. They meant it for my good and I believed them. Friends, workmates, brothers-in-law, it ran the gamut of different kinds of people I knew. It was good. But they kept using this awkward word, a strange word to me, although it's all too common. They kept asking me if I felt a "Calling". The funny thing was, they couldn't explain what they meant!
I believed I was, at least to the extent of what I knew "Calling" meant. Yup, I'd done research and reading that supported what I wanted to do and I had the right answers. I did a lot of studying to get to the point I was at the time. But still, I wasn't completely sure what, "Calling" meant.
I started out college in a very small institution near the tip of Long Island. I was a science major, marine science to be precise. And although I really enjoyed the atmosphere and the idea behind marine biology, I didn't enjoy being in the water! My fascination with sharks when I was younger and the trauma of watching Jaws from the third row of the movie theater kind of did me in. A Jacque Cousteau I would never become.
So, I transferred schools. Not completely certain with what I wanted to do, I shipped myself towards the tip of Florida (I like living on the edge, but not too close to the edge). It was there that I became enamored with photography. I took a few art photo courses but I couldn't see working so terribly hard just to hang it on a wall (that's they way I described it then). Fortunately, there was a section of the university that specialized in journalism, so I shifted towards Communications/Photojournalism. It was perfect.
Yet, I was missing something that I saw in the other students, something that I didn't have. Now, I was good at what I did. I had more paid work than other students and when I graduated I was one of the few, if not the only student, who had a full-time, paid, bonafide newspaper photography job two weeks after graduating while others were still searching. Shazam! But I didn't feel how the other shooters felt about photography. Somewhere, deep inside, there was a sense that this was not it, it was not my "Calling". But I didn't know what that meant.
Now I do! But it was a journey that took me on some very crazy rides and it ended with a definition of "Calling" that I'm pretty sure is what they all meant, but weren't able to put into words.
In the faith world, "Calling" often directly refers to a job position, a life-style or some other ministry-focused career (let's be honest, ministry people have careers, not just investment bankers and politicians). But I believe "Calling" can be a lot of things other than involving ministry.
I arrived where I am today because I don't mind taking some rough roads. Often I pick a strange one just to see where it takes me. At other times I just want what's familiar, but familiar doesn't have a sense of revelation. You know that feeling too, don't you?
So, if you're going to figure out not only what "Calling" is, but what it personally means for you to be "called" to something or someone, you're going to have to do some wandering. Let me give you a few hints.
• Calling isn't always a pleasure, sometimes it's a task and a ONEROUS one at that. Very little in life, that's worth doing, is easily done.
• Calling isn't always personally profitable. Others MAY benefit from your sweat and strength when you do not. Are you prepared for that?
• Calling is irrevocable! You can't turn away from it no matter how hard, how sad, or how horrible the atmosphere around your calling gets. And if you do turn away, it will HAUNT you!
• Calling is rewarding IF you focus on the why rather than the what (I refer to the first two points)!
• Calling involves passion and you will often look insane to others as you fulfilling your Calling.
If nothing else, think of "Calling" as a light in the darkness. It should provide a way to see through the doubt and darkness and it should ultimately bring joy and relief!
If you'd like to discuss Calling with peter further, please email me and I'll thoroughly enjoy engaging you in discussion.