We often use our occupation as our self-descriptors.
“I am an engineer.”
“I am a student.”
“I am a mom.”
But rarely does that actually answer the question, who are you? In the pursuit of fulfilling our career dreams, we lose sight of who we really are. The word vocation, often used as a synonym for occupation, is derived from the Latin word vocare. (Writers on Writing, pp. 24) Unlike occupation which simply describes that which typically occupies ones time, vocare translates to calling. It isn’t simply what takes up your time, such as homework for the student or testing for an engineer. Vocation refers to the calling that you have on your life. But that is the real question, isn’t it? What is that thing that drives me in such a way that I have to do it. It is not limited those jobs that make the money and provide means necessary. If you are diligent, you can find a way to cause them to overlap, such as artists who have to paint and serve as an art teacher for their occupation.
There is a quote that states, some people speak because they have something to say, others speak because they have to say something. Find that task, that vocation, which causes you to be the latter. Figure out what it is that you have to do. I am striving toward mine, as a writer. It is difficult and challenging, especially as I find myself writing with my 5 month old daughter sitting on my lap somewhat impatiently. But it is the thing that stirs me inside. It is the place where I most often hear God speak. It is the tool that I hope to use to change the world. What is yours?