I attended a hospital chaplaincy board meeting a few weeks ago, the first I could make, meeting a lot of new folks. At lunch I sat next to a man in his late thirties or early forties who works in professional development at the hospital. He talked about his work, about how he coaches groups and individuals on the hospital staff in how to set and achieve professional goals. He mentioned that it was part of his call. He went on to say that even as a young person he coached younger children in sports and other things. I asked him about the call he mentioned. He explained that he was the son of a preacher and that he was on the ministry team at his church doing much the same thing. The meeting began and, as I listened to all they were talking about, I thought about his call and his work. It popped into my mind that his call is hard-wired in him, as it is in every one of us.
I have written before that I believe that we are each created by God to do a certain type of giving back to life and that God needs us to do that just that on the world stage. Our gifts are not just random, but greatly needed by God as a part of bringing in the kingdom in the world. In our creation lie our gifts which, if we are faithful to our Creator and our deep-soul selves, we will express as best we can throughout our lives.
We can be sidetracked as many are by the pressure—internal and external– to earn a living, by the culture–that we can’t afford to just give into our passions, that we have to be responsible, that we have to live as the culture dictates. So many of us get sidetracked and lead lives that do not fulfill us, that are a habit, a safety net, a compromise. We long ago stopped listening to the call of our souls, the deep soul-self, which holds the agenda for our lives. It keeps calling, but the answer is indifference, or “not now,” or “I can’t.” If we say no too often to this inner call, the call gets quieter and quieter, buried in the deep soul-self languishing for a lifetime where it is never heard.
To live fully is to say “yes!” to our call, knowing that we are fully equipped by God’s grace to be able to carry it out. We have to leave behind the cultural paradigm of money first, then living. Within our call is also the means of making a living. God always provides at least the raw materials that we need; it’s up to us to carry out the call. Be assured that everything you need will be provided, that you will be able to manage your personal and your family needs. That God will support you every step of the way. You just need to say “yes!” to yourself, to God and to the universe.
The soul’s calls are not some random thing, they come from the deepest knowledge of who we are and what we are capable of. We are not called to be a musician if we have no musical talent, or to be a coach without great people skills, or to be a writer if we’re not hard-wired to communicate well. We are called because we have these gifts. It’s in our DNA, in every cell. The soul is calling us to what every cell in our body already knows about us. That’s why when we are living out our call, we feel so deeply fulfilled.
“Why do I do anything that has nothing to do with music?” My husband complained sometimes about how distractions took over his life. He was not a musician—pianist, arranger and writer of music—by vocation, but it certainly was his avocation, his great love. His plan, upon retirement, was to write and arrange choral and instrumental music. He never got to do it. He died just short of age 61. At least music was a big part of his life from age five on. He sang in a capella groups and choirs, he was a founder and pitch pipe of a college singing group, he arranged music for piano and voice, he played piano wonderfully mastering Dave Brubeck in his 40’s, and he took voice lessons in his 50’s. Music was most of his life outside the work he did. He was hard-wired to be a musician.
What are you hard-wired to do? What is your soul calling you to? Are you listening? Are you working at incorporating your soul’s agenda into your life? It may not take a job change, but a change in how you execute at your job. It may take some more education or training. Are you praying about how following your deep-soul self would work? Asking what is the next step for you? Do you take your soul’s needs seriously? What are you doing about them?
The deep-soul self holds the key for a purposeful, meaningful life for us. In the cacophony of our inner selves, its voice may not always be heard, but it is always there, if we are willing to make the effort to hear and to heed.