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Sometimes pursuing dreams can be selfish.
We may be so focused on achieving what we want to accomplish so that we can make more money, be recognized, feel valued, etc., that we risk damaging relationships and destroying our faith.
So, how do we know when our dreams are good or when they are detrimental to us or others? I think the answer comes when we take a look at what it means to have a vocation.
The past few days especially, I have been thinking about this quite a bit. It’s been a consistent topic of conversation between my husband and me as we navigate what God is calling us to do. And guess what? I received a newsletter from DynamicCatholic.com this past Saturday with a special message from Matthew Kelly regarding this exact thing. Here is what he wrote:
The Peace and Joy of Unique Ability
A few nights ago my little girl, Isabel, came into my office at home after her bath. With a huge smile, she walked over, grabbed my phone, held it to her ear, and said, “Call me, daddy!” I played along for a few minutes and then she came over, got up into my lap, buried her head in my chest and gave me a big hug. It was one of those times when I was able to be completely in the moment… and I was happy.
If I think back a few years, I was not so happy. I wasn’t unhappy. I loved my work, but something was missing. I didn’t have the deep peace and joy I have today. What was missing? Vocation. We talk a lot about it, but too often our talk is sterile and dispassionate. But vocation really is a thing of beauty. It is that thing that helps us make sense of everything. It is the feeling of finally being at home in our own lives. It is that place where your unique ability explodes usefully. It is the thing of great worth.
It also requires tremendous work.
How are you doing with your vocation? This Lent, I would like to encourage you to either search more rigorously for your vocation or give your vocation another look and recommit to it. Take it to the next level.
The world and the Church need more people who love life and live it with passion and purpose. Vocation animates us – brings us to life. Vocation fills us with a peace and joy that is immeasurable if we embrace and dedicate ourselves to our call.
Pretty powerful stuff! Being an involved parent and spouse requires a lot of sacrifice, but it is also extremely fulfilling! This is exactly why my husband Adam tells people that he is the happiest that he’s ever been! I’m sure the same can be said for anyone who has responded to God’s call for their life. This is where we find our purpose, passion, and as Matthew Kelly stated, “peace and joy.”
Maybe, though, you are still saying “What is a vocation or how do I know what my vocation is?” I did a quick little Google search to find a definition and stumbled upon the website Vocation.com. While it is geared to those contemplating religious life, I found a great little article worth sharing titled, Is it a vocation or a job or a profession? Below are a few paragraphs…
[…] when we use the word vocation we introduce a vertical dimension into our life, especially into our thinking process and decisions, since the point of reference when we talk about vocation is God’s will – what we believe he is calling us to do with our life, the purpose for which he created us as it relates to the salvation of our own soul and the salvation of others. So a vocation is not something you switch out of on a whim, since it is not something you go into lightly. In following a vocation the main question is: What does God want? and not: What do I prefer? So it would be a major mistake to approach a vocation to the priestly or consecrated life, or to marriage, thinking only of ourselves and not being willing to commit ourselves to it, “for better or for worse” because we know God wants us to see it through.
And so, if there is ever a conflict between our profession and our vocation, it is always the vocation that has to win. A married person who knows that a career opportunity that opens up to him will most probably destroy his marriage must opt for his marriage vocation even if the price is his career. A baptized doctor who risks losing his license if he refuses to do certain immoral procedures will follow his Christian vocation and even at the cost of his medical career. A priest who is a great success in a particular field of ministry and is asked by his bishop to serve in a different area must follow his priestly vocation which includes obedience to his bishop, rather than his “success” in a particular field.
I think the key when evaluating our dreams, is to always be sure that our aspirations are under the umbrella of our vocation. Just as the article above mentions, if our goals are at the expense of living out our vocation, then they must be abandoned or reconstructed.
For us personally, the re-working of goals is why many of you may have been wondering why Adam’s website isn’t up yet or why we haven’t been promoting any new songs. In addition to a lack of ample time, we have been going through a process of identifying priorities, finding nuggets of truth and wisdom, and assessing how everything fits in with our vocation of helping each other get to heaven and raising holy children. I firmly believe that God wants to use Adam’s musical talents to reach people, but just how that all is going to happen is still in the works! I have already seen how much grace and peace he has given us especially in the past year, so even though the road ahead is a mystery, I have no doubt that we are on the right path.
When we stop trying to do things our own way and embrace God’s plan for our life, we will find true joy that is unattainable anywhere else!