A Calling or a Purpose?
Updated: Sep 25, 2019
Waking up in the morning and knowing what to do with your life is one of the greatest feelings in the world - if not the greatest feeling. It can mean one of many things. It can mean you have a purpose and you live that purpose as a lifestyle that never bows to the ever changing fads of society.
It could also mean you’ve found a calling and steward it bigheartedly.
The third option is that you have a 9 to 5 job and you can’t be dilly dallying. You wake up, go to work, return, sleep and repeat it till the year ends. That sounds depressing doesn’t it? Maybe not. For some, that is exactly what they’d rather.
A purpose is a lifetime affair. It is an eternal marriage you cannot divorce once you are bonded. It feels like your soul and spirit have been branded and ordained into a covenant with the only reason why you were born to this earth. And till you do it, authentic peace is your enemy.
A purpose is like being in love and committed to loving that person till death and beyond. Love alone cannot see your through such a union or any relationship for that matter. I sincerely believe commitment is what holds relationships together when love runs out or is not enough.
When it comes to purpose, when you find it or it finds you, you cannot shake it. You cannot or change it or run from it like Jonah. A purpose, when found or tapped into is earthshaking.
However, you can miss your purpose and leave this earth unfinished. You can miss your purpose if you do not recognise it the many times it presents itself to you. You can bypass your purpose if you do not activate it when you feel that zing! You can delay your purpose if you replace it with something that benefits you alone.
One of the truths about purpose is that it is not fulfilled to please or benefit the individual. Although we could enjoy the spoils from it, the heart of a purpose is that it is for the greater good of those around us, the world. It is an act of service. And like service, it is not about us. Yet, it is up to us to get it done. Isn’t that something?
A calling in my understanding and definition is something you feel strongly about. A calling needs your attention for a set period - usually till that thing has matured to fruition or is ready to be handed over to the next person or step. The next step may not include or require you. It can very much need you to step away completely as your task is done and asks another person to carry the mantle – not you, you did your part.
A calling is a duty to a cause that needs your attention for a set time and asks you to spearhead a portion of the overall cause. Think of it as a complete pizza where you are called to steward one slice or a couple of slices of the pizza – which is the broader issue or cause. It is your duty to that calling to play your role well, to help release the manifestation at that level and prepare it for the next steward.
The caveat here is when you fail to recognize or refuse to accept that your calling has been fulfilled, you delay and distort your graduation to something or somewhere else. I use graduate “to” and not “from” because I believe we are always building on what we have and we never graduate from anything, we simply evolve to a better place, stage or person.
You can have many callings of various natures and weight. For example, you may have a calling to work with a group of women in villages in a particular country for a set time. Your purpose in this scenario can be that your purpose is to be in service to and advocate for marginalised people in certain parameters or regions who share a common threat, background or face a unique identity.
Your purpose is the bigger umbrella sheltering the callings which can introduce you verbatim to your purpose or guide you to it.
During my younger years, I was unable to accept that my calling to recognise the pain in others and my ability to empathise with them did not mean we will be best buddies or friends. When they were healed like a bird from a broken wing, I was to release them, and in so doing release myself to another calling. In trying to hold them close and refusing to accept and recognise that my calling had been fulfilled, I only pushed them away and became, to them, an overbearing person who had attachment issues.
I began to paint myself and them in a colour unbefitting of both of us. I felt neglected and they felt trapped and angry that I expected their relationship as a kind of payment for being there for them. I confused my callings with my purpose. It cost me time, relationships and opportunities.
Unlearning this took six years of being alone, rebranding my ideologies and undergoing raw conversations with myself and friends. I cut off friends who did not help me gain understanding and retained those who genuinely cared about my journey, attended to my emotional and ego battles, and listened to the repetitive narrations of my deepest thoughts.
I turned closer to God and began sorting into buckets what purpose and callings look like. I am still not great at it but I think I get the gist of it.
I am convinced that God has a purpose for us all. I am convinced that whether you believe in God or not, you know deep down you have a purpose and a calling(s). And I know agree with me on the fact that we must figure it out before we leave this planet.
Our spirits will not rest until we do so. I know I feel it when my spirit is upset with me when I am not doing what I ought to do or be where I ought to be. I think many of us feel that too.
Spend time with yourself and find out what your callings are and purpose is. You may be in one or both of them. You may be so close so do not stop. Or you may be at the complete opposite and that is also fine. I encourage you to keep at it. Keep chipping at it till you meet each other.