How to find your calling is for anyone that is feeling lost or unsatisfied with their current life.
I am a wife and a mom. For the last six years I have spent most of my time caring for my husband, being pregnant and nurturing children. It has been some of the most joyous and trying times of my life. It has only been in the last year or so that I felt myself pulled to see myself holistically vs seeing myself through my roles. We are all more than the titles we carry around.
Unfortunately, I did not listen to my instincts to make changes, at first. I felt like I was betraying my family and even my beliefs when I started to feel like I wanted to start focusing more on my personal development again. For me, though, as I tried to live the same as I had in the past, when my heart was aching for another way of life, I became sick mentally, physically, and spiritually. I was far more of a burden to my family when I ignored the callings I felt in my heart.
I went from enjoying motherhood and looking forward to growing my family to wanting to run away, literally, daily. This may alarm some mothers who can’t imagine not wanting to take care of their family, but I share this for anyone that may feel this way, and certainly for anyone that loves their family deeply, but knows that something has to change in order for them to be able to be their best self for those they love most.
My yearning to make changes turned into sadness and anger and my sadness and anger turned into anxiety and depression. I wanted to please others and meet their expectations. I wanted to fit into a mold that I had created, but in my efforts to please others and my own unrealistic expectations, it drowned me and my potential.
At the peak of my struggles, I finally decided that no one was going to tap me on the shoulder and say, “It doesn’t look like you are happy, or doing the things that engage your talents. It’s time to do XYZ.”
My lovely mother can attest that I considered changes over and over without having the courage to do it. She would give me the same suggestions, and she likely prayed after our conversations that I would just follow through.
Eventually my need to feel aligned with my calling or mission consumed me and overshadowed my need to be accepted by others. I chose to seek counseling, invest in my blogging, interior design and photography interests, start working twice a week for a few hours, and find someone to care for my children while I pursued my interests.
I still have moments where I doubt my decision to work part-time or leave my children a few times a week, but then I remember what it was like when I didn’t do these things, and I know that I am doing the right thing. God is aware of me and my family and he wants all of our happiness.
If someone disagrees with your decisions for you and your family, just keep in mind that what they think is none of your business and their narrow opinions certainly cannot impact you and your family the way that listening to personal revelation will. Peace is a gift only God can give and once you feel it, the rest does not matter.
Also, I want to note that my family never stopped bringing me joy; I lost sight of who I am and what I can offer to them. Mothers who want to feel more energized or validated simply need to get in touch with themselves again and focus on all the wonderful things they can offer their family and others too. No one is betraying their family who simply loves and appreciates themselves.
If you need a Biblical reference to motivate self-love, remember the commandment, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” If you are convinced that your neighbors deserve your love and service, then you should be convinced that you need the same kindness.
Here are a few truths that I have learned through this journey and some guidance as you seek your personal calling.
Listen to Your Thoughts and Feelings
For most people it is not until we are completely unhappy and confused that we begin to recognize that we are off course. Pay attention to this instead of ignoring it.
Ask yourself some hard questions:
- How do I feel when I do my work everyday?
- Do I dread my life?
- Am I simply enduring each day?
- Does the prospect of my daily routine get me out of bed or does it revolt me?
- What do I get excited about?
- What am I doing when I am the most happy?
- How am I treating the people I love the most?
- Do I treasure my relationships or resent them?
- Is my overall health a reflection of my inner struggles?
If you are not happy with your life right now, the first thing to do is to take 100% responsibility. Do not blame anyone or anything for your pain. Once you can be completely accountable, that is when the magic happens.
Explore Like a Kid Again
Now it is time to start exploring your interests and gifts without any guilt. Remember that you are doing everyone a favor by being true to yourself and using the talents you have been given.
What did you love to do when you were a kid?
Do you still wish that you could try those things?
What are you studying or practicing when you loose track of time?
Spend time in the library or seek out a mentor you were too afraid to approach in the past. Do something that scares you and enlivens you. Simply take “no” out of your vocabulary and start saying yes to the things that bring you joy.
Check out this blog post from the past that was the beginning of me thinking about this concept.
If you can control your thoughts and act without fear, you can control your destiny.
As soon as you begin to master your thoughts, you will be able to begin tuning into the voices that actually matter in your life. Be grateful for the people and things that encourage your progress towards your calling/mission. Be patient about the timing of your life. Always try to be doing all that you can to be authentic, but do not assume that if your life does not look exactly the way you pictured right now that it can’t at a future time. What you want already exists and you simply need to believe in it and act towards it everyday. I got that lovely idea from Jen Sincero in You are a Badass.
Question your doubts and cling to your faith. Ask yourself if your thoughts are really true or not. If a thought is not true and does not serve you well, throw it out. You no longer have tolerance for lies and you replace them with happy, positive thoughts.
Once you feel good about a decision, do not hesitate to act and ask for guidance and help along the way. You can be your own worst enemy if you always second guess yourself. Don’t be bullied, even by yourself!
Once you are on track again you will naturally turn outward.
When you begin to feel good again, once your life is aligned, you will want to start helping others feel good and be good. It is a natural consequence of being kind to yourself.
The Only True Failure is Quitting
Your dreams and callings matter. Keep working and achieving no matter what. God is on your side and so is everyone else that has felt the kindness and satisfaction of living a life full or purpose.
May you find your calling and bless others as you love you and invest in your future.
Here is a book recommendation on finding your calling. Her description of the essential self vs the social self is enlightening!
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