Remember January? When I promised to post each week? It’s May, it’s not happening, and I need to come clean on some things.
Over the last almost-two-years, I’ve been Director of Family Service at my wife’s family funeral firm. It’s been incredibly rewarding work; being on call all hours of the night and occasionally finding myself in really unpleasant situations could not rob me of the fulfillment that came with guiding families through a healthy grieving process.
Over that time, I’ve also enjoyed serving in a leadership capacity. I’ve trained new staff, diversified our memorial product offerings, written an operations manual, and sought to serve my coworkers. This time has given me the opportunity to learn and grow.
None of that has meant that I feel called to be there.
I don’t regret it a minute, but it’s time to move on. My calling is to create better communities and greater opportunities for young people. To that end, I volunteer with several youth organizations and work in the community to connect young people with service opportunities. Starting two weeks ago, I’m uniting my calling with my what-I’m-actually-doing.
It’s been really difficult because:
- Success is Seductive. With each success we celebrate, we feel more and more “called” to do what we do. People even say so! If we’re so good at something, it must be what we’re called to do.
- Expectations are Dangerous. When the pressure is on, we surely don’t want to disappoint those who we think are counting on us. In fact, it’s easy to want to fit into their expectations of who we should be and what we should be doing. Especially when they’re paying us and/or we’re related.
- Fear is Powerful. All of these self-help gurus that want you to believe that fear is powerless are living in dreamland. Fear can grip you– and even be legitimate! Let’s say you’ve got two kids, a mortgage, and other responsibilities. Will stepping out be worth it? What is the value of becoming who you want to be versus being what you need to be?
- We Can Only Control So Much. My biggest fear, honestly, is being realized in my old workplace. I’m afraid that my legacy there is being torn down, old practices are creeping back in. Mostly, I’m afraid I’ve become the cause of every problem or the butt of every joke. It’s probably happening, but I’m not in control of it. The flip-side of this hold-me-up is what I can control– what I will do and who I will be.
A measure of hope can be found in what I can control, what I expect and believe of myself, the peace I gain through prayer and faith in my next step, and the promise of a future about which I can be passionate. I’m moving in one direction, aligning my passions and my calling into an actionable and intentional existence.
Would you pray for me? This week I’m studying for and taking the GRE. Hopefully, this Fall will see me start a Master of Arts program in College Student Affairs. I belong on a campus somewhere, connecting young people with their passions and with a promising future. Now that I know it (and believe it), the easy part is getting there.