Riding The Wind Of Calling - Sage Hill Counseling

Calling is where the inside drive meets the outside need.

“Vocation does not come from a voice out there calling me to be something I am not. It comes from a voice in here calling me to be the person I was born to be.”
Thomas Merton

The aerodynamics of an airplane wing is fascinating.

A plane doesn’t rise on the wind: it’s lifted. The air pressure above the wing is lower than the pressure below the wing. The sail on the ship works in the same way. The wind doesn’t fill the sail and push the boat; the boat is pulled by the wind.

Perhaps this is a keyhole’s view into a bigger truth.
So much of our lives are made up of important and necessary drives—conscious and unconscious impulses and motivations that push us forward into life. These ambitions, cravings, needs, desires, and longings are often loud and demanding.

Some of our drives are primal—like the drive for sex and the drive to belong and matter. Some are cultural—the scripts and narratives we’ve internalized along the way, like the heroic “American dream” (or its shadow narrative “Victimization”). Some drives are deeply embedded predispositions (part genetic, part spiritual), like how we engage the world. Some drives are psychologically formed before we’re even conscious of our own selves. Some drives are forged in trauma as a reaction to being overwhelmed and overcome that create deep psychological commitments against our human vulnerability. Some drives are self- imposed as we ascribe ourselves to a way of being with self-propelling mantras, like “I will succeed,” “It’s all up to me,” “I should be good,” “I must be perfect.”

Obviously these drives are fundamental to who we are as individuals. And while they help us navigate life, they wax and wane depending upon many unpredictable variables like hormones, fatigue, interest, environment . . . even the weather affects us.
Drives are our mercurial friends with myopic vision. Our drives get us out of bed and move us toward security and out of harm, BUT they are not faithful to sustain us in a longer mission for meaning and quest for purpose. They can’t see beyond the immediate moment.

If you’ve ever decided to go on a diet or if you’ve ever started a new workout program only to run out of steam, you know how unreliable drives are. Self-determination as a starting point for our lives and self- actualization as the goal is a meaningless endeavor.

There is another motivation for living well. This one is more reliable and more sustainable. It’s outside of us, and it is often quieter than the noise of our drives. This is calling. Though sometimes it blows like a storm, it is often like the whisper of our name on the wind. It is each of our responsibility and privilege to learn how to be pulled by it into the deep, into the uncomfortable, and into the mysterious. If we can learn to hear it and lean into it, like the ship’s sail, it will pull us forward into a deeper story and a fuller, more meaningful life.

This is the place beyond where our drives and ambitions can take us. This is the realm of the GOD beyond God. This is the place where our true Self finds our unique purpose and meaning.

Going Deeper
  • Where is your self determination drowning out the still, small voice of calling?
  • Sit quietly for a few minutes and notice the clamor of agendas, impulses and drives in yourself. What are those things demanding from your attention?
  • Can you notice your True Self apart from these demands?
  • After sitting in silence and observing yourself for a good bit of time, can you make a list of the voices, narratives, demands that are robbing your attention and keeping you from attending to your true calling?

If you are struggling to make meaning in your life, contact Sage Hill Counseling to set up an appointment with one of our counselors. We’re here to help.

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