I think I’ve found a good test of vocation/calling; You know you’ve found your vocation when you genuinely feel sad for people who can’t/won’t do that thing.
So, take preaching, or even lecturing. I absolutely love doing it, and I do feel really sorry for people who say “oh I’d hate it.” I feel like they’re missing out on so much – the chance to help people learn or discover new things. To challenge and help people grow. Just awesome!
On the other hand, consider going to an academic conference – I intensely dislike almost eveything about them; the whole process of submitting a paper and the peer review thing. Then the event itself, when everyone seems to be only really interested in promoting their own work, chiefly through picking holes in everyone elses! Contrast this with my friend Clare, who loves going to conferences, and gets a sparkle in her eye when she’s talking about a recent one. Or again, a work mate of mine who listed ‘the opportunty to go to conferences’ as one of the highlights of the academic career. In fact this is one of the factors that made me realise an academic career is not my calling!
Of course it remains to be seen if it’s conferences per se that turn me off, or just computing conferences. For instance, I would imagine I might enjoy a conference on preaching, if such a thing exists. Incidentally, this conferphobia is nothing to do with an aversion to sitting and listening; after all, I’ve always enjoyed lectures, and it’s one aspect of theological college I’m really looking forward too. I’m sure there’s a proper -phobia word too!
I suppose it’s not a very discerning test, as I love driving, and feel people who can’t are probably missing out; yet there’s no way I think being a driver is my calling (although I quite like the idea of being a racing driver). Perhaps it’s a degree thing – I’m not passionate about driving, and don’t feel my life would be incomplete if I never did it again.
… and an irony has just struck me – I’m meant to be preparing a sermon right now, instead of which I’m blogging about it! 🙂