#ArtOfWorkBook: Listening to Your Life

[This is Part 1 of a series of posts based on Jeff Goins’ The Art of Work. Until March 24th, the book can be preordered for only $6.99, the cost of shipping. Check it out at www.artofworkbook.com]

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How do you figure out what you’re meant to do with your life? One clue might be to look at what you have already done, or what you used to love doing.

In Chapter 1 of The Art of Work, Jeff Goins talks about Jody Noland, a woman who, in the midst of a painful circumstance, discovered a way she could help families cope with the pain of terminal illness. Jody said, “One way of knowing our gifting is when something that seems easy to us doesn’t seem easy to others.” Jody was able to start an organization that has helped many families, and she did it by looking at what she was passionate about in her own life.

Goins then asks the question: what if you don’t know what you want to do in your life? This is how he answers it:

We often think of a calling as something that comes to us, an epiphany that arrives when we least expect it. But the truth is, in some ways, it’s already come. You already have some sense of what you’re supposed to do with your life, even if you aren’t sure what it is. The trick is to find your vocation hidden in your life.

If we’re paying attention, we can start to see threads of a calling that are present throughout our lives, going as far back as childhood. For me, it was storytelling. I was a lover of books from the time I could decipher words. I used to get in trouble for staying up too late reading, and would sometimes hide under the blanket with a book and a flashlight. In middle school and high school, when assignments in English class called for ten sentences using our new vocabulary words in context, I wrote a serialized adventure story about spies and treasure-hunters, turning in a new chapter each week, and my teachers encouraged me all along the way. I often wrote for fun in college, filling notebooks and floppy disks (remember those, kids?) with short stories or story fragments. In my adult years, I never lost the love of words, and have been blogging on one platform or another for well over ten years.

What’s amazing is that I can also see how God has used and is using my love of story to minister to the lives of others. My prayer is that I will continue to grow in this area, so that I can write blogs and books that point to the Greater Story, and honor the God who has woven all of history around the scarlet thread of His redemptive work in Christ Jesus.

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Your Turn: If you “listen to your life,” what can you learn about your gifts, talents, passions, and calling? Is there something buried in your past and in your heart that might be worth taking a risk and exploring? Comment below!

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