To gain some clarity on this topic, let’s explore what a calling is, and answer some common questions around it.
What is a calling?
From a historical perspective a calling was and still is in some respects very closely associated to religion. People felt called by God into service, to follow a certain path in life, to perform actions driven by the word of God.
In more recent times, calling has been expanded to be more spiritual based, not just reliant on religion, or religious practices.
It has also found a place in our productive driven society as well and has been taken up by the ego as a way to express and explain the concept of “doing work you love”.
None of the above interpretations and evolutions of calling is wrong or right. It’s truly about what you believe for yourself it is.
My viewpoint of calling
How I describe a calling, is that inner knowing and drive, that thing that you know you just can’t not do.
To break that down a bit more, I believe that a calling is:
- A way to develop a part of yourself, to learn about yourself and grow
- The highest activity or situation that you are called to do at a point in time
To bring some more clarity, in my opinion a calling is not:
- An occupation, career or vocation
- Your soul’s purpose
I will be using my interpretation and viewpoint of calling to answer some common questions around your calling.
What if I don’t have a calling?
Whatever you do – don’t panic!!
We all have a calling or callings in our lifetime and depending on where you are in life, it just may not be clear to you right now and that is okay.
Read the post about Mythbusting Your Calling, to gain some further insights around some of the myths around callings.
The short answer is that to find your calling, you need to work at it. Live life, experience things, read, learn from others, work with someone like a pastor, spiritual teacher, mentor or a coach, become quiet and listen to your inner wisdom, your intuition.
It will not just arrive on a bolt of lightning.
A deeper level of work that must be done to help provide the clarity around your calling, is the inner work. Connecting with your true self, becoming the observer in your life and learning about who you are here to become and what you are here to do.
Some simple ways to start is to practice mindfulness, or meditation, or just being quiet to listen to your intuition. Reading about the topic and researching as much as you can. Finding a trusted coach, mentor, spiritual guide to assist you in this space.
How do I know it’s a true calling or something I made up?
It can get pretty noisy in life, many distractions, many opinions being thrown at us daily about who we are, and what we are here to do, pushing and pulling us. As a result, it can be hard at times to discern whether our calling is for real or not.
The number one thing to remember is that your calling will appear as a feeling, an inner knowing and drive to do or be something. It is not something you think.
Some questions to ask yourself to help to provide clarity:
- Do I feel it, or am I thinking it? (a calling is felt, not thought)
- Will doing it bring me suffering and pain? If yes, then it is very unlikely something you need to pursue at all.
- Would you do it, even if you weren’t being paid for it? If yes, you are onto something. If not, then it’s unlikely to be a calling.
Do I have to take up my calling?
You do not have to take up a calling. You won’t be doomed nor cursed to live a terrible life.
By not taking up a calling, you are subjecting your life to one of fate, as opposed to one of destiny. Fate and destiny are closely related with the only thing separating them being choice. Your choice.
Here are some questions to help you decide whether to take up your calling or not:
- Can you afford not to take up your calling?
- What will not taking up your calling cost you, in your life?
- What will taking up your calling give you?
- What opportunities could taking up your calling reveal to you in your life?
Wrapping it up
Hopefully you have gained some small insight around what a calling is, and that we all experience calling/s in our lifetime.
We also discussed that not taking up a calling won’t be detrimental to your life, you will just be subject to a life of fate, as opposed to choosing your own destiny.
If you are struggling to know or feel what your calling could be, then feel free to reach out and talk to me about it.