To begin with, I want to be clear, careers are great, we all need one. Something magical happens when we can marry our career with a calling.
I began to think along these lines as I wondered who my nurse would be at each shift change. There was a difference between them. All were good, some simply awesome.
The difference did not hit me until this morning. My roommate is in a rough spot. You can pray for Willie. His news is not good and it is rough being here alone hearing that your options are becoming fewer.
A nurse was working with him and asked if he wanted to wash himself up. He said he would. Honestly, it is something that is just a bit outside his ability level right now. One of the CNA’s jumped in and said, “Mr. Willie, let me help you with that.” She spent the next twenty minutes helping him get all cleaned up.
I recognize the difference between the roles of a nurse and a CNA, but there was something else going on within this interaction. Whereas the nurse provided the basin of water and said, “ring me when you are done and I will come back” the CNA saw the deeper need and jumped in.
Career vs Calling
I lay in bed thinking about that simple interaction and the difference between good and awesome started to become clear. All of my nurses were proficient, they were all skilled and knew what needed to be done. Some were moving from a sense of career, others a sense of calling.
Here is just some of what I mean by the distinction. You can find this distinction in any profession, including my own.
Job Mission, or Purpose
Source of Income Source of Personal Fulfillment
Something You Can Do Something You MUST Do
Satisfaction in Job Well Done Joy in Accomplishing Life Purpose
Balancing the Two
Something sacred happens when we are blessed to be able to blend our career and our calling. Not everyone is able to do that.
There was a season in my life when my career had nothing to do with my calling. I was working for Corning Inc. helping them make fiber optic cable. The career that God was using to help pay my bills at that time did not speak at all to my sense of calling. It was in that season that I worked closely with Ronny Russell as he started Live Again Ministries. My labors with Live Again fed my sense of call while Corning took care of paying the bills.
For many of us, most of life will look like this, a balancing of time invested in career and calling. A few will be blessed with the opportunity to have the two come together. A career that feeds that sense of calling.
What is Your Calling?When I talk with people about potential jobs or careers I always start from a place of calling. What is it that fulfills them? What gives their life meaning or purpose? Is there an activity that fills their spirit with absolute joy when they are involved in it? Finding a way to blend career and calling can lead to a very fulfilling life.
I remember meeting with one woman who had recently discovered her sense of call. It was far from mine, one I struggled to understand, but it was clear she had found hers. She was leaving a very secure job where she was comfortable and starting to work with an agency that cared for the elderly. There was fear in walking away from a “safe” job. The sense of purpose and joy she felt was strong enough to overcome any fear and she was excited to begin something new that spoke to a much deeper sense of purpose.
May you find that place that blends career and calling.
I came home from the hospital on Wednesday.
The surgery on Monday morning allowed the doctors to put a stent into my liver. This stent was designed to get my bilirubin flowing and thus return my liver enzymes to normal. A normal reading is within the .5 to 1.5 range. Monday morning mine was at 29.6. Tuesday I had dropped to 16, and on Wednesday down to 10. With numbers moving in the right direction my doctors were confident we had found the issue and had made corrective action.
Last night I really slept. I mean I slept the kind of sleep we all long for, deep, long and life-giving. Today I have felt much better. My nausea is almost gone. It has returned to within the normal levels of someone going through chemotherapy and I have been able to manage it well.
Today I was reflecting on the last two weeks. I spent three days in the hospital one week, and then another eight days the following week. It was a major disruption to life as I know it.
If I am honest this is the first time, since my diagnosis, that this disease has been much more than background noise. I have been blessed. Once over the initial diagnosis, I have learned to move as if treatments were part of everyday life. It all simply became the “new normal.”
Four years of a “new normal” with one major disruption is not too bad.
God is Good All the Time…All the Time God is Good
All of Life is GIFT…Even the Enemas