I read that statement during my wife’s and my spiritual growth time this week. My first response was, “Uhuh. Tell me something new. This is pretty obvious.”
And then during my meditation, I found my mind wandering.
I’ve never heard anyone say it’s their Calling to be a janitor.
I’ve definitely known janitors who perform their work with passion and excellence. It inspires me. But as I’ve watched and listened to them talk about what they do, I’ve seen that their role isn’t their Calling. It’s why they do this role–what it is about what they do and how they do it–that helps to identify whether it’s a Calling or not.
I saw a wonderful story on a CBS Sunday Morning show that reminded me of how at times our calling and our job can collide and intersect in powerful ways. Watch this 2 minute clip about Charles Clark from Trinity High School in Euless, Texas, and let yourself be inspired!
Have you noticed how often your mind is paying attention to either your past or your future? You tend to focus on regrets from choices or circumstances in your past or worries about your future.
Truth is, most of us spend very little time in the present (which is, by the way, the only time we actually have for ourselves). Which means in practical terms that we are not fully present to enjoy that which matters most to us–our relationships, our work, our experiences, even our spirituality. And it means that what presence we do have is emanating a spirit of stress and worry that is invading from a point of time not even available to us–the past or the future.
Remember the story about the stonecutter centuries ago? He was chiseling a huge piece of stone, pieces of rock flying from his pounding hammer. All the while he was whistling and humming as he worked.
A passerby stopped and asked him why he could make music while doing such mundane and arduous work. He said, “I’m not just chiseling stone. I’m making a cathedral.”
It’s true. What can reorient our experience of work is capturing the right vision. Reframing our reality. Seeing what it is beyond what our eyes perceive to what our souls believe.
I used to think this was possible for some kinds of work but not others. I mean, how is this possible for someone stuck in a deadend job that doesn’t feel like it’s going anywhere; or for someone caught in work that is filled with not just mundane and repetitive tasks but dysfunctional environments? Is it really possible to see these kinds of jobs as ministry? What does this mean anyway?
This time of year, we’re all trying to find whatever methods we can to help us achieve our goals (those things that really matter to us) more successfully.
It’s possible that some of us have neglected a resource that research is reminding us has transformational capacities for helping us achieve our goals more effectively.
We all know that accountability is a powerful tool in this regard. But accountability with whom? And specifically how?
What are obstacles you’re facing right now? What might be standing in your way of fulfilling what matters most to you, tempting you with intimidation, striking fear and insecurity in your heart? What is challenging and eroding your sense of identity, impeding your calling, purpose, and mission in your life? Or what challenges are you facing in your pursuit of your Calling that may feel big and difficult?
Let me suggest some ways to reframe these obstacles that will give you direction on how to face them with more courage, wisdom, and effectiveness.