Every day since 1976, I have tried to follow God’s help for my life. I believe that God will help anyone who opens his/her life/heart to Him. But following His will is sometimes difficult. The difficulty is in not letting my ego interfere with my soul.
I keep several books in my “textbooks for my life” group. I keep these separate and available and use them as textbooks. One of them is Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life by Gregg Levoy. Listening to callings for a life direction takes much patience and faith. In Callings, Levoy relates: “Just as in monastic life, where there are periods of being a candidate and a novitiate before taking vows, so in life our calls are also tested. We are tempted away and distracted; we hear the siren song of old habits and addictions; we feel pure laziness and amnesia; we discover the cold necessities of life.”
“Joseph Campbell called this part of the heroic journey “the road of trials” which is between The Epiphany and The Grind, between the heart flushed with heroic song and the heart with its human frailties. On this road, we answer the elemental question of whether our commitments are real or imagined. The ordeals on this endless road, the dragons that have to be slain over and over again, serve to test us, like the Sphinx who confronted Oedipus before he could continue his journey. They teach us humility and a sense of proper perspective, and they help reveal our hidden powers.”
One of my issues after years of practice in listening to the God of my understanding has been accepting larger gifts than I “deserve”. Who decides what I “deserve”? What if I may receive the desires of my heart?
According to Brian Mahan in his book, Forgetting Ourselves on Purpose: Vocation and the Ethics of Ambition, “vocation speaks of a gracious discovery of a kind of interior consonance between our deepest desires and hopes and our unique gifts, as they are summoned forth by the needs of others and realized in response to that summons. That’s what’s so enticing about the idea of vocation: in embracing one’s vocation, the draining internal opposition between compassion and personal ambition is, at least in principle, overcome.
As Frederick Buechner says, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”