Every day since 1976, I have tried to follow God’s help for my life. I believe that God will help anyone who opens his/her life/heart to Him.But following His will is sometimes difficult. The difficulty is in not letting your ego interfere with your soul.
I keep several books in my “textbooks for my life” group. I keep these separate and available and use them as textbooks. One of them is Callings: Finding and Following and Authentic Life by Gregg Levoy. Listening to callings for a life direction takes much patience and faith.
In Callings, Levoy relates: “Just as in monastic life, where there are periods of being a candidate and a novitiate before taking vows, so in life our calls are also tested. We are tempted away and distracted; we hear the siren song of old habits and addictions; we feel pure laziness and amnesia; we discover the cold necessities of life.”
“Joseph Campbell called this part of the heroic journey “the road of trials” which is between The Epiphany and The Grind, between the heart flushed with heroic song and the heart with its human frailties. On this road, we answer the elemental question of whether our commitments are real or imagined.
The ordeals on this endless road, the dragons that have to be slain over and over again, serve to test us, like the Sphinx who confronted Oedipus before he could continue his journey. They teach us humility and a sense of proper perspective, and they help reveal our hidden powers.”
One of my issues after years of practice in listening to the God of my understanding has been accepting larger gifts than I “deserve”. Who decides what I “deserve”? What if I may receive the desires of my heart?
According to Brian Mahan in his book, Forgetting Ourselves on Purpose: Vocation and the Ethics of Ambition, “vocation speaks of a gracious discovery of a kind of interior consonance between our deepest desires and hopes and our unique gifts, as they summoned forth by the needs of others and realized in response to that summons.”
“That’s what’s so enticing about the idea of vocation: in embracing one’s vocation, the draining internal opposition between compassion and personal ambition is, at least in principle, overcome.
As Frederick Buechner says, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
In continuing about callings, I am using another book from my “textbooks for my life” group of books, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, by Brain Luke Seaward. He writes: “At some point in life, each individual is beckoned by the call of his or her soul to fully awaken spiritually. It may be curiosity, an intuitive inclination or a full-blown crisis. My friend Jane is one of many people who, as Kubler-Ross would say, has entered into her spiritual quarter—someone who has begun to question the meaning of life and her relationship to the universe.”
“Some people walk gracefully into this stage, some stumble, still others immerse themselves. Since the territory is unfamiliar, however, the majority of people refuse to budge, thus denying any pursuit of the spiritual aspect of their lives.”
Having been born in 1940, when I had my Moment of Truth, I couldn’t keep quiet about what had happened to me. Even in twelve-step programs, talking about radical conversions was very suspect. The skepticism was many things. One of these fears was to be expected—in that every struggling addict would like to be “saved” and the ordeal of recovery could be done.
In the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, I always loved the passage about some of us looking for the easier, softer way. Before recovery, every change I came to, I sought the easier, softer way. But none of those choices ever ended up to be the best choices. The best choices were the ones I came to after I had exhausted all other routes. They could easily be labeled, “Letting go and letting God.”