With grace and wisdom, Margaret explores passion, talent, abilities, and vocation in God’s Kingdom. This book is practical, readable, and chock-full of nuggets of wisdom.
When I first read it about a year ago, my favorite part of the book was learning I wasn’t the only one who didn’t have it all together. As anti-hipster as it sounds, I’m just going to say that sometimes it is darn good to know that I don’t have a monopoly on self-obsessed neuroses, that I’m not utterly, uniquely screwed up.
As I’ve been re-reading Margaret’s book over the last couple of weeks, I’ve resonated more with her constant call to submit our callings, vocations, and desires to God.
She reminds us,
“The fact that you have a passion for something doesn’t mean that desire is meant to rule you; your passions are always subject to the cross.”
I’ve been learning this the hard way this year, as I’ve felt God saying to me, “Your job at Plant With Purpose is not yours to hold on to. Your passion is not yours to hold on to.”
“He designed us to live openhanded lives so that the passions we possess don’t possess us.”
Inviting others to join in the transformational work of Plant With Purpose has been such a passion for me, a joy for me, but if He is calling me elsewhere, I want to be willing to open my hands and follow His lead.
I love Parker’s views on this topic because he frames our search for vocation as the search to recover our ‘true selves.’
“The figure calling to me all those years was, I believe, what Thomas Merton calls “true self.” This is not the ego self that wants to inflate us (or deflate us, another from of self-distortion), not the intellectual self that wants to hover above the mess of life in clear but ungrounded ideas, not the ethical self that wants to live by some abstract moral code. It is the self-planted in us by the God who made us in God’s own image– the self that wants nothing more, or less, than for us to be who we were created to be.
True self is true friend. One ignores or rejects such friendship only at one’s peril.”
Ever the intellecter and introspector, I appreciated Parker’s emphasis on self-examination and learning to receive God’s love.
“Our deepest calling is to grow into our own authentic self-hood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be. As we do so, we will not only find the joy that every human being seeks–we will also find our path of authentic service in the world.”
He also offers a candid, yet hopeful discussion on depression, burnout, and healing, which has been a reality in my life in the lives of many of my close friends. Parker also authored one of my favorite, paradigm-shifting quotes on weakness:
“We will become better teachers not by trying to fill the potholes in our souls but by knowing them so well that we can avoid falling into them.”
If you’ve been thinking about vocation, calling, and what the heck you’re going to do with your life, I highly recommend joining Margaret and Parker on their journeys to discover God’s call on their lives. They are both well worth the read.
Have you read either of these books? What books or resources on vocation and calling would you recommend?