Updated: Jun 20
Day no 10, and I am still in my solitary confinement due to my covid infection, and you will be wondering what am I still doing here? Well, this is probably going to be my last night (I hope) before I leave this humble abode that has been my world for the last 10 days. In this last few days, I discover many things, one being the joy of writing and I have the privilege to write 3 blogs ( including this one) and that was by far my greatest achievements in writing and I began to love it.
In a solitary confinement, when social interactions are limited, besides attending calls, doing online teaching, attending to email/whatApps, working on my long overdue thesis, I had plenty of time to reflect and pray. It is indeed the silver lining of my life which I discovered in the midst of my quarantine (which is not as bad as I think). I get to be served, room service at its best (not bad after all) and I have time to catch up on my readings, and scribbling thoughts and ideas that get flashes across my mind. One of those thoughts that has come, is about my called life. What do I made of it, after 12 years, and how has this identity and purpose, led me to find deeper meaning in my life. The word calling is pretty simple, there is a caller and I know the one who has called me, and why he has called me, so there is not in any single moment, I have ever doubted my called life! However, the notion of that calling and its magnitude, is still pretty much intriguing in many ways.
Well God has a sense of purpose when he brought out this thought to me. Yesterday, I picked up another book lying on my dusty shelves, this time, a psychology, self help book, probably belonging to my wife. The title of the book is GRIT, by Angela Duckworth. This is actually a very interesting book, because it tells me what does GRIT means and how it function? in a nutshell, this is what it says, in order to lived a fulfilled life, we need more than just knowledge, talents and and skills, we need passion and perseverence and this is what GRIT is all about.
Probably, this is how, I have lasted for 12 years in my ministry and how it has shaped my thinking process towards my own work and faith journey. It got me thinking really hard, this must be beyond skills and talents. It must be about passion and perseverence (hard work), and definetely with the help of God guiding me so that I can thrived in the world that I have never stepped into before (a whole new world to me). Entering this world at the age of 42, with no prior experiences still gives me a chill, as I recalled the day, I stepped into that sacred calling, my work space (I hope you can feel my emotions).
What I saw 12 years ago and what I wrote today is about identity, and purpose, and what Angela called-Grit (passion and resilience), the science of living out a fulfilled life. What makes the differences in life is the 'gritiness of the person', our identity, passion and long suffering which is a gift of God as we walk the worthy walk in Christ, like that of Ephesians 4 verse 2.
Angela says that when we walked with passion and perseverence, the focus has always been towards self enhancement with prosocial motives, she says -“ I am passionate in my work and my intention is to contribute to the well-being of others”- which I totally agree. However many of us do not thread on this path. For we know passion and perseverence (grit) will helped us walked the path of a fulfilled life, where life is purposeful and meaningful, and failing to do so will either lead us to an unfufilled, mundane life, and Angela called it arrested development and eventually ending up in the way of a total dropout.
She pushes the idea, that purposeful life is very much link to pleassure, for when we do something that benefit society and self, when what we do is larger than self,and if this is the purpose and identity, work will bring pleasures and that is how "grittiness" developed as we strived towards fruitfulness in life.
Therefore to be grittier, you need to know your call in relation to your identity and purpose - she told this parable in her boo-
Consider the parable of the bricklayers:
Three bricklayers are asked: “What are you doing?”
The first says, “I am laying bricks.”
The second says, “I am building a church.”
And the third says, “I am building the house of God.”
The first bricklayer has a job.
The second has a career.
The third has a calling.
Many of us would like to be the third bricklayer, but instead identify with the first or second more often than we think?
Let me defined the 3 categories for you-
-a job (“I view my job as just a necessity of life, much like breathing or sleeping”),
-a career (“I view my job primarily as a stepping-stone to other jobs”), or
-a calling (“My work is one of the most important things in my life”).
How do you see your work, take some time to reflect and think?
Do you see your work as one that has made the world a better place?
If you describe your work as 'a calling' then you are grittier than others who see it as a job. something i must do, or a career. this marked you out differetly, for you are passionate about your work and you persevere in adversities, and strive for the excellence of work.
Angela quote: " In reality not many identified their work as 'calling', it is not lack of wanting but because circumstances has proper many for taking work as an end for daily meaning as well as daily bread . . . like running the rat race rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dying as nobody pays you for being you", while others who see work as calling will say "my work is meaningful to the society and it is a means to this end".
How do you see your work? Which category you are in?
The bricklayers has the same occupation (work) but their subjective experience—how they themselves viewed their work—couldn’t be more different. It is not about their job description given to them, and it’s not that some kinds of occupations that are necessarily jobs and others are careers and still others are callings.
I think, instead, what matters is, whether the person doing the work believes that laying down the next brick is just something that has to be done, or instead something that will lead to personal success, or, finally, work that connects the individual to something far greater than the self. You have got to experience and decide on this for yourself!
I think finding deeper meaning to your work is more important than your job title and this means that you can go from a job to a career to a calling—all without changing your occupation/ work your are doing. What a relieved!
But, a lot of people assumed that what they need to do is find their calling and there is a lot of anxiety that comes from the assumptions that calling is like a magical entity that exists in the world, waiting to be discovered! You do not need to hunt for it high and low, and what a relieved,to know this!
“A calling is not some fully formed thing that you find, it’s much more dynamic in whatever you do—whether you’re a janitor or the CEO—you can continually look at what you do and ask how it connects to other people, how it connects to the bigger picture, how it can be an expression of your deepest values.” . I pray this is how you will see your work so that you can find deeper meaning to the purpose of your work life.
In other words, a bricklayer who one day says, “I am laying bricks” might at some point become the bricklayer who recognizes “I am building the house of God.”. So there is hope for all of us....