So often in life we start down a road, with our dreams in the GPS of our minds. But we don’t seem to meet the destination as we expected.
And after a while we wonder if perhaps we’re on the right road to our calling. Did we miss something? Is this thing even working?
Jeff Goins says, “A calling is what you have when you look back at your life and make sense of what it’s been trying to teach you all along.”
Reading that line was liberating.
Sometimes you’ll read a good book, loaded with tools for navigating your journey. Helpful tools.
In another book by Jeff, The In Between, I learned the value in the waiting part of my life. That the in between part is to be enjoyed, not just tolerated.
In his new book, The Art of Work, Jeff gives me other tools. This one helps us look at the experiences of our lives in a new light. All those times we thought we were being delayed.
For the longest time I have felt I was called to speak and write. And while I’ve been thankful that my poetry has been in stores, I couldn’t see how one road would lead me to the one of speaking.
Was I wrong?
Nothing seemed to lead me to my desire. Had I been mistaken?
Then I began getting Bible studies I had written published, and published articles followed. Each one fulfilling, but not in the area of speaking.
I enrolled in writing courses and improved my craft. I had to write. For me it was like breathing.
In the meantime, I lived life. Then I wrote about it. I learned what helps others is vulnerability. I wrote my memoir, and then put it out there.
Still these experiences were not moving me in the direction I thought they would. They seemed disconnected. And a frustration grew within me.
In The Art of Work, Jeff Goins addresses the whole picture. Telling real-life stories, we learn what it looks like for someone to fulfill their calling. What surprised me was that it sometimes looked very different than the person expected.
There’s the story Jeff tells of Jody Mayberry, whose dream was to be a park ranger. Whatever obstacles Jody saw he overcame. Becoming a park ranger was his deep desire.
But by the time his story was told we learned being a park ranger was only part of what he was called to do. His calling would consist not only being a park ranger, but influencing park rangers everywhere. He had to remain open to the possibilities.
But what if he hadn’t been open to that?
I believe The Art of Work is a must-read for anyone who is trying to figure out his/her calling.
Story after story, we see people with passions. Some who aren’t sure of their callings, some who needed to just live life and then they saw them revealed.
I look at the extraneous experiences in my life right now. Like puzzle pieces, I have been unsure of where they fit, and it they fit at all. But this book has given me a different perspective. One that makes me grateful for each of these odd-shaped pieces.
A fresh look
Instead of looking at these pieces as hindrances, or at best delays, to what my heart longs for, I see them all as necessary to the bigger picture. Now I am welcoming them instead of resenting them.
Instead of seeing our experiences as setbacks, we can start seeing them as they really are.
You don’t know how much time I have wasted regretting what I thought was lost. Goins says, “Life is full of surprises, and it doesn’t help us to fixate on regrets or trying to recover what was lost.”
So if you want to better understand the whole concept of calling, if you want to recognize how each part of your life may work together for the whole, you need to read this book. And after you’re done, you might want to mark it up and read it again. That’s what I’m doing.
And for those of you who seem to be stopped by the difficulties, Jeff encourages us, “Maybe we all have the power to turn our lives into significant stories if we start to see our difficulties as opportunities.”
Thank you Jeff, for casting a light on an area I struggled with. I have renewed hope that I will fulfill my calling. And I’m not as concerned with the timetable, for I see each experience as a valuable step in the right direction.
To get your own copy of The Art of Work, Jeff is offering it free. All you pay for is shipping. This is an offer you won’t want to miss.
Finally, I can see value in a lot of extraneous experiences. And it further confirms something I truly believe. That God doesn’t waste anything.