Monday, April 16, 2007

What will I Be When I Grow Up?

It seems that I come around to this question again and again: What is my true work? What is God’s Will for me in my work life? Does God care about how I earn a living? Can a regular person—like me—have a “ministry”? I’m a writer and a teacher and a speaker. I have skills with language and persuasion. So is it ego to want to be these things publicly? To want to be recognized? In writer-land that means published. In speaking land that means invited and hired and, yes, paid.

I know I’m not alone in asking these questions in recovery. So what work should we do? And how do we know if it is God’s will?

Today sorting through files I found these three people wiser than me on this topic:

In 2005 I attended the International AA Convention in Toronto. One night, at one of the big stadium meetings. I heard one of the really old timers speak about his recovery and his work. He was a retired commissioner for corrections in a Southern state. He was sober 47 years. He described how he went from being a double-felony-manslaughter inmate to the state commissioner for corrections. He killed two people, went to jail, got sober in prison. Step by step he listened for God’s will and took each step toward doing recovery work in prisons. He had many hurdles to overcome. AS he described each hurdle, some seemed impossible at the time, He said: “If God has work for you to do the walls will come down.”

In 2006 I went to see a film on Choreographer, Bob Fosse. (If you have seen Chorus Line or Chicago or the movie Chicago you have seen his work)
When he was interviewed about his work and his distinctive style and choreography he said he had always had bad posture and so he created his dances with his now signature curved shoulders. He also said that he had "bad legs" (for a dancer)--and so rather than use turn-out like in ballet he turned his dancers legs in.
And that he started to go bald at 25 and so always wore hats to dance hence his incredible use of hats as props in all of his major works...
He said:” All of my gifts have come from my defects."

Theologian Frederick Beuchner wrote that vocation is from Latin Vocare to be called. Our vocation is the work God calls us to do. But how do we know?
Buechner gives this formula: The kind of work God usually calls you to do is the kind of work that A. You need most to do AND B. the world most needs to have done.
If you get a kick out of your work, you’ve met requirement A, but if that work is writing cigarette ads, chances are you have missed requirement B. On the other hand if you are a doctor in a leper colony you have probably met B, but if you are miserable and depressed you probably bypassed part A.
He said: “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep hunger.”

It’s a way to sort this, “What am I gonna be when I grow up”? question.

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