It’s been about 3 years since I worked directly with teenagers full time and there are days when I really miss it. Mainly because I worked with some of the most amazing young people, but also because working with teens brings a mix of excitement and challenge you can’t find other places.
I miss how they could turn the switch from sarcastic to sweet in an instant and then back again. I miss the passion they brought to everything, whether it was lamenting the grand injustices of the world or explaining the newest iPhone app that was the BEST. THING. EVER. I miss the way they made me feel included and old at the same time trying to keep up with their fashion and technology and language.
One of the best things about working with young people, though, is their openness in discussing the big questions of life. I remember so many discussions (usually deep int0 the night on some youth trip) where we talked about deep questions.
What is God’s plan for my life?
What is my purpose?
How do I figure out what to do with my life?
What am I doing here?
These questions are front and center for young people, but are questions we all deal with from time to time. When we talk about vocation, these are the types of questions that come up.
Trevor did a great job this week clarifying what is behind these questions and vocation — what it looks like to glorify God and live a full life. One thing he talked about was finding your vocation in the places you already are. How God has given us the ability to choose and pursue our vocation.
So what does it look like to choose? Where do we begin?
Rob Bell likes to say that it begins by asking, “What gets you up in the morning?” What is the thing that brings you energy and vitality instead of draining you? What is the thing that you want to say “yes” to even if it means saying “no” to some other things?
I realize that’s not the easiest question to answer when you’re put on the spot, so here are a couple of simple things that may help point you in the right direction. Vocation indicators, if you will.
What is the thing that lights you up inside?
One of the best ways to find your vocation is to look at what you really love. It’s that thing that you do that you lose yourself in. Something that makes the rest of the world fade into the background and makes you lose track of time.
Have you ever witnessed someone doing something and you could just tell that was their thing. Like that must be exactly what they were created to do. And it’s not because they were the most talented person in the world at that thing, but because it obviously brought them joy and fulfillment. Finding vocation isn’t always about talent, but about passion.
Which leads to the second thing..
What makes you angry?
Anger gets a bad rap sometimes. Probably because we usually get angry for the wrong reasons. But anger can be a really good indication of what we’re passionate about.
So what is that thing in the world that you look at and say, “Someone should do something about that.” That injustice or inequality or violation in the world that stirs you up? The thing that provokes you to righteous anger.
Sometimes it’s not the things we love, but the things that bother us that help us understand better what we could be doing in the world.
So whether it is love or anger that points you in the right direction, pay attention to your heart. Your passion is a great indicator of your vocation.