I was traveling back from Thanksgiving break – a day of airports, flights, and down time – and was finally able to begin the bestselling novel Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. It was, as described, “compulsively readable”, and I tore through it. The plot was intriguing on so many levels, between the romance, familial conflict, murder, introspection, poverty, success, and many other twists and turns packed into it. For the focus of this blog though, I wanted to turn your attention specifically to the theme of vocation.
In Where the Crawdads Sing, the main character Kya is abandoned at a young age and educates herself outside of a classroom. She loves the marsh and the ocean and spends hours every day exploring it and learning from it. I won’t give too much away, but Kya is able to have success (by society’s standards) through her intense knowledge of the flora and fauna, something that was just a hobby and daily activity for her. By dedicating time to something she found interesting, she was able to build a life and find a vocation that truly made her happy, and at some level helped others as well. This story (though a hyperbole) really did stick with me and made me wonder where my Kya-level passions lie.
This is something I’ve written about and discussed many times, hoping to come up with an answer to the question “what am I supposed to do”. We all ask ourselves that at one point or another, hoping to find the perfect career/hobby that combines all of our interests with the deepest needs of the world. Something that is both charitable and profitable, something that brings you great happiness and that others smile upon as well – something not necessarily realistic. The Bible tells us to cultivate our talents and glorify God through our work, and there are many ways to do that. Simply acknowledging your God-given abilities and utilizing them is a step in the right direction. Those could be business skills, teaching, caretaking, leading, creating, etc. and don’t need to be as obvious as mission trips or directly saving lives. Glorify Him through your hard work, dedication, and passion, and by maintaining your faith.
Perhaps that’s not a good enough answer for you, and while you understand working hard at your job and developing those gifts is glorifying God, you’re not sure you’ve found your passion. To figure that out, ask yourself, when I have free time to do something that makes me happy, what do I choose to do? The author, Annie Dillard said “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Are you volunteering? Are you watching football? Are you spending time with family? Are you deepening your knowledge of your work? Are you baking? Whatever it is, that’s probably where your interests lie, and maybe it’s something you’ve already incorporated into your work. If not, try to make more time for it. It might seem silly, but if you absolutely love football, then perhaps you can coach part-time in a school league, invite friends or family you haven’t spent recent quality time with to enjoy a game with you, donate money to CTE research…. you see where I’m going with this? There’s no right answer, but as we see with Kya’s genuine fascination and dedication to the marsh, if you put enough time into something you care about, you’ll come much closer to finding your unique and beautiful vocation.