Posted by: Adam Roper | May 15, 2009

Further Reflections on Vocations & Discipleship

Journal Entry 1: May 14th, 2009, 10:58pm.

A couple days ago I decided to face the reality of my vocational existence. As such I decided that, though I appreciate these things, I will never pursue any sort of career in the following:

1) Publishing (including submissions to major periodicals)
2) The Coffee Industry
3) Photography
4) Music
5) Journalism
6) Videography / The Film Industry
7) Painting
8 ) Graphic Design
9) Body-Building
10) Public Speaking
11) Financial Planning

It may sound like I’m limiting myself completely here, but what I’m actually doing is allowing myself more room to stretch- as instead of trying to do ten different things half-assedly, I want to pursue my vocation (which, ideally, should flow naturally from a strong identification with my specific gifts and passions). When we are free from the illusions we have regarding better careers (some of which we hold onto our entire lives, always dreaming of “something better”) we can begin to face the actual reality of pursuing a vocation.

And with realizing which things I shouldn’t be wasting time on, I have much fewer romantic illusions regarding careers I really know nothing about. If I am honest with myself I can freely enjoy an art form instead of acting like I know everything about any job, making it frustrating for professionals committed to a trade.

So, basically, I’m trying to make a clear distinction between my Hobbies and my Vocation- so I can enjoy doing things like music and painting and photography, while actively pursuing a career in Youth Ministry (my chosen vocation).

Journal Entry 2: May 15th, 2009, 4:35pm.

Today I decided that, instead of pursuing a job aggressively, I will intentionally take the next two weeks to find some sense of perspective and healing. I think this is better in the long run. I’ve kind of been running away from the reality that I’ve been pretty broken for the past four months, and that I should probably do something about it instead of avoiding the difficult process of seeking help (while hoping all the difficult stuff will just go away, whether or not I care to admit it).

The wrong thing to do would be downplaying my personal issues, in favor of a “just get over it” approach. I think the only way I can really find healing is by admitting that I need healing. And sometimes such healing requires us to take a step back, trying to see things from a greater perspective.

I’ve also come to believe that healing is a long process. It’s a lot like the concept of discipleship. Instead Discipleship, much like vocation, requires us to form our entire life around actually seeking to do what Christ did (instead of having our faith be something we do on the side as part of the routine, like a “job”). Vocations, Healing, and Discipleship are 3 different concepts illustrating the same point.

I think this is why Vocation, and life in general, has it’s difficulties- if everything was easy we would never have any reason to take things seriously, and we would never have any reason to care about being human.

To conclude, I will admit that when things are difficult it’s easy to neglect our emotional/physical health, but we really need to stop and take care of ourselves every so often. Learning to love oneself  is the most unselfish thing we can do.

Hmm. Deep breath. Sigh. The journey continues…

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