Out on a Limb

Friday, January 24, 2014

The other day I wrote about "passion" - that overused term that we all sort of cringe at because we think our true calling might still be beyond our grasp.  As a grad student, I read a lot.  It's not just the amount of reading that I have to do that sometimes makes my eyes itch and my brain swell...but, it's the content too.  While I (freakishly) love just about everything I'm required to read, it's not breezy stuff.  We're talking hardcore, mind-numbing literature that (for a chronically slow-reader like myself) makes me stop and glare at the letters on the page and wonder how I ever found my nose stuck in the middle of a giant textbook labeled Advanced Psychopathology.  Yikes!

But, one of the great things about my diving into all these scary texts is that once in a while I stumble across something that just has to be shared to the masses...something that you would never in your life (most likely) happen upon in your own daily reading routine or local book club (that is, unless your book club has a hankering for self-help or maybe lost a bet and is now obligated to read about Family Therapy.)

All this to say, as I was reading the book Doing Family Therapy, Second Edition: Craft and Creativity in Clinical Practice by Robert Taibbi, LCSW (ah, now you see why you will never stumble upon these words by accident) I read this passage regarding finding one's calling, and I thought it was too beautiful not to share.

I hope you enjoy this refreshing and inspiring view of finding purpose in your work...

This is work that flows from the inside out, rather than from the outside in, work that soaks in all of who and what you are.  It is work that goes beyond the boundaries of a "good job" with its means to other ends, or the "career," that track that we follow to some ultimate level or publicly recognized as success.  This is work as a calling. 
While the notion of a calling conjures up the sound of celestial choirs and beams of radiant light falling down on you from above, it most often begins with only a whisper of some inner voice telling you that this is something you should do, the flicker of an image across your mind that gradually, over time, grows into a vision that pulls you forward.  A calling is realized when you step back form what you are already doing and sense that this work is something htat you are not only good at, but were meant to do.  You have found a medium for expressing who you most are.  Like the artist, you become caught up in the flow of the work, you can lose sense of time, you are absolutely engaged.  You do the work not because of what you might get for it at some time in the future, but because of what the doing does for you in the present... 
If you are able to live this way, to wait and listen, then go to work to make your inner and outer life mirror to each other, then your life is filled with gut-sure honesty, with true integrity.  It will be a differently life than the carefully built one that keeps discovery locked away, that sets its marker early on and moves steadily forward.  To bring faith and discovery and honesty into your life, into your work, is to walk out on a trail on a crisp morning following the sound of the hawk flying above rather than the painted sign on the tree.  You may suddenly find yourself sitting out on a limb or looking over the edge of a cliff and not know why or how you got there.  You may look down and feel afraid, but if you look inside you will find courage; if you look up, you will see visions.

Isn't that awe-inspiring?  I wish I wrote it myself - but, I'm so glad to have read it! Who knew therapy textbooks could be so eloquent, right?  I hope that shed some light on your own calling and I pray that God will continue to reveal to each of us how we can better use our skills for His ultimate purpose.

Have a great weekend everyone.  Find the courage and keep looking up.

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