At Living Compass we support people as they work on “whole-person” wellness, which means that we help them address wellness in all dimensions of their lives. This includes vocational wellness--something you may not have heard of before. The word vocation comes from the same word as vocal, or voice. A vocation then can be thought of in two ways that are related to this root meaning of voice. The first meaning is that discovering our vocation is the process of discovering our voice in the world. Whenever we take on a new role in life, it is natural for us to imitate others who have fulfilled that role before us. As we get more comfortable with the role though, we begin to find and develop our own voice. Developing our own unique voice in the world is one aspect of vocational wellness.
The second meaning of vocation as it relates to its root meaning of voice is that our true vocation in life is found by listening to what it is we are called to be or do in life. What is the voice of the One who has created us calling us to be or to become? This requires that we spend time listening and discerning that voice and then being willing to act on what we hear. We are most aligned with this voice when are are living from the place of our deepest passions and concerns.
All of this is brought together in a quote by Richard Bolles, the author of What Color is Your Parachute? He writes that our vocation, our purpose in life, “can be found where our deepest passions and gifts intersect with the worlds needs.” While this is an ideal that for most of us is perhaps never full attain, it is a wonderful way to describe what we are striving for when it comes to vocational wellness.
Your vocation may or may not overlap with your job. Your vocation may be more fully expressed through volunteer service, or through your relationships with your family, friends, neighbors and/or faith community. Once we have a clear sense of our vocation, we will find ways to express it in many creative ways, not so much because we are trying to do so, but because we cannot help but do so.
Martin Luther King Day will be celebrated this Monday. This day celebrates a man who clearly discovered and lived fully into his vocation. He responded to a greater call and found the place where his deepest passions and gifts intersected with what the world needed at the time that he lived.
Of course, none of us are called to be Martin Luther King. We are instead called to live fully into the unique person that God has called and gifted each of us to be. May the life of the Rev. Dr. King inspire each of us to find that place where our deepest passions and gifts intersect with the needs of our small corner of the world.