Thursday, March 12, 2009

Finding Vocation

"The vocation for you is one in which your deep gladness and the world's need meet--something that not only makes you happy but that the world needs to have done."
Frederick Buechner, from Bill Brent's Web site.

I seem to be blogging more frequently these days about job and vocation, perhaps because of the current collapse of the newspaper industry, where for some years I'd found a career, an outlet for my energies, a home, a way to earn a living and an opportunity to serve. Being at a crossroads now, with only a very slim amount of freelance writing, I am curious about how other people (re) find vocation. Have others been in the situation of finding a career they loved collapsing around them for reasons outside of their control? How do we find a new vessel for doing what we are called to? What do you think of Buechner's quote? How do we find that happy marriage of service and joy when our way of doing it no longer supports us economically?


Liz Opp said...

Hi there--

It's a mystery to me why it's taken so long for me to come across your blog, but at least I have now.

Your post reminds me of some of what Robin M is struggling with. She recently wrote about what she called the "vocational dilemma," the intersection between having a ministry to provide and needing paid work.

The other thing your post brings up for me is that when something goes amiss--a trip gets canceled; the job I applied for was filled by someone else--I do well to remind myself to view it as an opportunity rather than a misfortune.

I could see it as a hole to fall into (i.e. depression, whining) or as an opening for something new to be discovered or pursued.

Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up

Diane said...

Hi Liz.

Yes, I think seeing these transitional periods as opportunity is a great idea. I have been surprised by how much I have enjoyed doing other things besides writing to earn money, such as teaching a college writing class. It can be good to get out of a rut, even a lovely rut.


RichardM said...

I think that to get the truth out of the quote you have to put the emphasis on the service not the joy. If we look for the joy and seek to find service that gives us joy we miss the mark. If we look for the opportunities for service and forget about the joy, it comes as a natural corollary. The service that gives us joy is frequently the service we do not expect to give us joy. Often it is service we do not believe we can do or do well.

On my blog I wrote about my volunteer work with teenagers which I agreed to do because someone asked me to fill in for him. It has turned out to be very different from what I expected. I have discovered abilities in myself I would have honestly said I did not possess and I have experienced great joy in serving in this unexpected way. Don't let self-image limit your sense of how you can serve.

Ted M. Gossard said...

I think we need to do what comes naturally to us, to learn to do it in the best way possible. Of course as we're going on, and growing in Jesus, we will want to do what God is calling us to do. To fit ourselves into that. Certainly dynamic, ongoing, fluid. Not static, cut and dried.

You are a good writer. I hope this is temporary for you. Or that that it leads to something different and fulfilling in your calling as a Christian and a human being.