Starting a journey can be self initiated, or it can start from a source outside ourselves. In a spiritual sense, Smith (1999) states that calling is something everyone has and it comes from God; it reflects our basic fundamental identity and life story. Even if people don’t start from a spiritual perspective, there can still be the recognition of a pull towards something larger than one’s self. Calling is significantly different than a particular job or occupation; it grounds us and gives meaning and purpose to all our life and career actions.
There are times when our calling may go beyond how we see ourselves. Many people are reluctant to take up calls that pull them out of their comfort zones. Moses didn’t see himself as the one to lead his people out of slavery, but ultimately he took up the call. The same could be said of many people who in response to some societal need take up a challenge and move forward (often with great trepidation). People like Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, and Mahatama Ghandi didn’t start out wearing a heroic cloak. They were ordinary people willing to listen to a greater call on their life and step into the challenge that presented itself.
Of course, taking up one’s calling does not always lend itself to a grand heroic adventure. Calling can be as simple as the love and care for others and for our world. It can have as its foundation virtues such as justice, honesty and truth. Whatever the calling, it starts with sensitivity and a willingness to listen to something or someone beyond ourselves.
Smith, G.T. (1999). Courage & Calling: Embracing your God-given potential. Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press.