What on earth is a "Calling?"
If you Google “What is a calling?” you will get an interesting assortment of definitions and explanations, ranging from:
The loud cries or shouts of an animal or person
A strong urge toward a particular vocation or way of life
A profession or occupation
Something that God asks us to do
You’ll see the word “Bible” a lot, too.
While I have nothing against the Bible or anyone’s religious beliefs (or lack thereof), I do believe a Calling is not just reserved for Christianity or even those who believe in God or a higher power.
When I think of the word “Calling,” I think of Truth.
As in, your Truth.
The word “Calling” is often thought of as synonymous with purpose, profession, or path. I say it’s a blend of all three.
Our Calling is a way for us to live out our purpose, not only through our profession, but also on our own personal path.
Like the hero in any good ol’ heroes journey, we are called to an adventure in our lives that is asking us to be bolder than we’ve ever been before. A Calling asks us to grow…and in order to grow there will be significant ups, downs, and all arounds.
As Gregg Levoy says so eloquently in his book Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life,
“We must therefore be willing to get shaken up, to submit ourselves to the dark blossomings of chaos, in order to reap the blessings of growth.”
Following your Calling can feel a big chaotic, but also oddly peaceful. People often report that engaging in what calls to them brings a sense of relief and spaciousness. When we stop resisting it, it actually creates great freedom.
With that freedom also comes a great sense of responsibility. Not the heavy, burdensome, obligating kind of responsibility, but the ability to respond. Embracing our Calling means that we recognize ourselves as the Chooser, the Creator, and the Leader of our life.
Which can feel a tad intimidating.
That’s why so many people have big dreams…that just stay dreams. Thinking about them feels pretty comfy and great, but tackling the actions in a real world everyday kind of way is where the rubber really meets the road. No doubt about it, following your Calling is not for the faint of heart.
But although the risk is great, the reward is even greater.
As Maya Angelo says, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.”
The reward of following your Calling is getting to express that story inside of you.
The Real One.
The story that means something deeply to you. The one you are still in the midst of writing.
Your Calling will push you to your edge, but it will also pull you – the Real You - right out. Your Calling activates your purpose, and draws you further into the core of who you are.
Because a Calling’s purpose is to help you heal and grow.
So if a Calling is that important, how do we even find the ding-dang thing in the first place? Let alone follow it?
Here are a few questions to get you going:
What is the change you wish to see in the world? What is a need the world has that you wish to fill?
What do you see in the world that breaks your heart? What do you love to think about and do? What makes your heart beat?
What is the best thing you could create, enact, or activate that supports this? What would success look like?
Why is the purpose of this Calling? (The Why) What does it accomplish? (The What) What is the core process or how does it unfold? (The How)
What are the core actions you can take right now and in the near future to move towards this Calling? When you engage with your Calling, what feedback do you hear from others?
Although embarking on the journey of it can be full of trials, there is only love in your Calling. It may feel like you get thrown around a bit, but through it all you will find your way back home.
So when we look at it again, the definitions on Google really do line up with what a Calling is. It is the loud cries or shouts of an animal or person (aka your Soul). It is a strong urge. It is the profession of being yourself. And whether or not you believe in God, it is something that is asked of us by Life itself.
It's asking a lot. But your Calling is meant for you, and you alone. It will love you unconditionally. It will wait. But can you?
As long as we breathe, so will our Callings.