Two Videos to Consider Your Calling
At Biola University, I took a course called Faith and Calling. We read Luther and a number of other Christian thinkers on the intersection of vocation, work, and faith.
Since I passed the course, I never had to think about my calling again. I checked it off my list a while ago. Now on to more important things.
Like some college students, I changed my major 37 times. Ok, only three times; but it felt like that! I went from Bible to business to theater (or communications).
Today, I still think about the question of my calling or vocation. What am I here on earth to do? This doesn't mean I want to quit my job or leave my town; it means that I'm fascinated by the question and the dialogue that can follow.
A side note, the word "vocation" comes from the Latin word vocatio, which speaks of a calling. Vocatio was first used in the 15th century and spoke of a spiritual calling. Now, of course, today the word "vocation" is not restricted to a spiritual context. You may hear on LinkedIn that someone's calling was to move to Portland and work at a tech sales company.
But since I'm a Christian, and this is a Christian ministry, I'm going to keep these terms within a spiritual context. Also, since the word "vocation" and "calling" are so closely connected in their origins and meaning, I'm going to use them interchangeably.
Now, some of you may also be thinking, Why are we having this discussion? God has already given us our calling.
Great point. You're probably speaking of our high calling to enjoy and glorify God, love and serve our neighbor. And, yes, I agree! I'd also add that any conclusion about our calling that contradicts the former is actually not our calling.
But right now, I want to speak of something more specific.
It's not an accident God has given us specific gifts -- natural and spiritual ones. It's not an accident God has placed us in the town we occupy, the church we attend, and the work we do. The application of these things is what I'm interested in right now.
Often when we consider our calling, the implication is that it's something future-oriented. I'm called to do X, which requires me to leave whatever I'm doing now. And sometimes that's the case.
But, a balanced look at calling must including both a steady glance into the future and at the present. We can argue that it even requires us to reflect on the past -- how we got here.
A less exciting answer (for some) to our calling may be something that requires us to stay exactly where we're at. . . but work from a different mindset aiming at a different audience.
I don't have the answers to finding your calling. Oops! I'm sorry if that's why you clicked on this article in the first place.
But, I would like to point you to two videos that may help you in your journey. They've helped and encouraged me!
The first is by singer, song-writer, and novelist Andrew Peterson. He helped establish a creative community in Nashville called The Rabbit Room (it also has a online presence) which hosts a yearly conference called The Hutchmoot. I attended once in 2012 and it was a profound and moving weekend. The length of the video is a brief 3:57.
A friend and mentor showed me the second video, which is by an author and college president, Gordon T. Smith. I had never heard of Dr. Smith, but I found him clear and intriguing in the video. He lists six questions for someone to ask himself/herself while thinking through his/her calling. The questions are both challenging and insightful. Dr. Smith has written a book based upon these ideas, "Discern Your Calling: Six Questions for Discerning Your Vocation." I haven't read the book, but it's on my wish list. This video is 2:15.
Anything stand out to you in these videos? What resources have you read or listened to that have been helpful?
P.S. I haven't forgotten about the many biblical passages that speak to calling. Maybe we'll tackle those in a future post! For now, watch the videos.
I'd love to hear from you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dane Bundy is president of Stage & Story and principal of the secondary school at Providence Academy, a classical Christian school in Johnson City, TN.