Archive for the ‘Roots of Vocational Calling’ Category

Can Work and Wonder Coexist… for You?

Mt Hood photo courtesy

I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below. Acts 2:19

Can wonder be a part of our work lives?

You know wonder… Awe. Surprising delight. A moment you just didn’t expect and can’t repeat but which stays with you for a long time.

But for real, what is wonder to you? Some of us may have to go way back to remember, but try. Is it…

  • A two year old bursting into laughter for no apparent reason.
  • Or a puppy frolicking in a yard with grass so high she nearly disappears until she jumps. (We just got a puppy so I can’t help but mention that one.)
  • How about a mountaintop view that goes on for hazy miles in every direction.

Just as importantly, when do you experience wonder? On the weekend when you take a hike? At home playing with your kids? Never?

What about during the 40, 50, 60 hours a week you are at work?

Do you ever experience wonder then?

Is that a dumb question? Or just a naive, idealistic one?

Isn’t our work time for shuffling papers? For grinning through our gritted teeth as we say “yes” to our rotten boss? Or for paying the bills, and hanging on till the weekend?

I don’t claim all the answers here. I know there are some work situations where surviving another day is a pretty good day. I’m not trying to make light of your struggles at work.

I’m just here to get you thinking. To get you uncomfortable with less than God’s best for your work and life.

Here is what I do know. Wonder is not only important to a happy life but also an integral part of the fabric of eternity. Work too, is a big part of our lives (and i could argue a part of eternity also) . Therefore, shouldn’t the two, work and wonder, overlap occasionally… even often?

But how might wonder at work show up? Certainly it depends on who you are, what kind of things bring you wonder. But if what brings you wonder, could combine with what you do for work 50 hrs a week then, Wow!
It might look like:

  • Keeping the office environment so neat and orderly that the entire staff feels at home, at work.
  • Feeling the satisfaction of taking an old, beat-up piece of furniture (maybe leather 😉 ) and restoring it to beautiful, like new condition.
  • Seeing women marred by poverty and prostitution set free to live healthy productive lives
  • Treating each customer so great that everybody asks for you when they come in to the restaurant
  • Saving lives by discovering life-saving brain surgery techniques
  • Bringing hope and life to disabled people all around the world, as a quadriplegic yourself!

Can you imagine work where you’d experience wonder often? Work where you are so good that your customers experience it through your work? Do you know anyone who seems to have wonder in their work? What would it look like to you? More importantly, what can you do to make it happen. I should say to make the opportunity for wonder, happen?

The appearance of wonder itself, we can’t manufacture that. For wonder creation is God’s department. We can only position ourselves to be ready for it. But don’t worry, our God “will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below”.

How to do the one thing you must do to LIVE YOUR CALLING.

Last weekend I spent Friday through Sunday alone in a beach house at Ocean City, Md. It was an incredible time of  quiet reflection, prayer and preparation to launch my coaching business.  I believe getting away from normal life to reflect on our calling is one of the essential things we must all do to live our calling.

Here are 7 keys that I found made it possible for me to make a personal calling retreat a reality:

  1. Plan ahead– I’m no natural planner.  But I wanted this and knew the best way to make it a reality was to plan in advance.
  2. Make the retreat a reward- When I thought of the retreat, I was in the middle of developing my coaching business plan at the Free Agent Academy.  I looked ahead and decided that if I could finish the program by the first weekend in April, I would take my personal retreat.  It was a great motivator.
  3. Tell your friendsTelling others I was going to take a weekend away gave me great motivation to follow through.  When I put it out there to others I received overwhelming support and encouragement from family, local friends and online friends.  I want them all to know how grateful I am for all the prayers and encouragement.
  4. Make sure your wife can get away soon too – With 3 kids and a busy life, my wife took on lots of extra work to let me go away.  Her blessing on my trip was key.  So my next job is to be sure that my wife gets some time away herself also.
  5. Don’t let $ hold you back- My trip cost me $10 plus a tank of gas.  We didn’t have the extra $ for me to take a trip but I couldn’t let it keep me from going.  We had generous friends who let me stay at their empty beach house for free. I ate Raman noodles, granola bars and oatmeal.  I did free stuff like walk on the beach and hang out in the room.
  6. Plan a few key activities and a bunch of free time- I wanted the time away to be productive but I knew a successful retreat means some unstructured, reflective time too.  So while I had a few key business activities planned, I left lots of time to unwind and listen to God.
  7. I had to do it… You need to do it… just do it.- Your calling matters!  As you find and do it, your life will be better and you will make a difference for others.  So determine to find a way!  Plan for a personal calling retreat.  Tell people your plans.  Prepare for a productive yet relaxing trip.  But most of all do it.

I,  for one, was incredibly blessed by the time.  As I said,  I believe it is one of the essential things we must do to live our calling.

Leave your thoughts or experiences below.  Have you taken a personal calling retreat?  How did you make it a priority? Or what will you now do to make one happen? Your experiences and news of your progress will  benefit us all.

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