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The Commitment to Fulfillment

“But your fulfillment in life will not come from how well you explore your freedom and keep your options open… Your fulfillment in life will come from how well you end your freedom.”

– David Brooks, NYT

It has been quite the roller coaster ride, these last 15 months. An obscene amount of travel, reunions with friends old and new, and all the soul searching one could wish for (and yet not want at the same time). I’ve journeyed through valleys and stared up at a sky blanketed with a self-made fog of hopelessness. Elation has rushed through me as I realize near strangers are willing to take a chance on me out of the goodness of their hearts and the immediate connection we forged. And still – as of this publication – I am unemployed.

One could say I gave up the world of fame and recognition to be in this place of uncertainty. ‘You stepped down from being an anchor in air-conditioning… to being a reporter in the elements?!’ ‘You walked away from a glamorous career where free haircuts and holidays at work are the norm?!’

It’s not the one-way ticket most people envision booking.

 

Yet David Brooks’ recent commencement address at Dartmouth reminded me of words my own father shared with me in one of his epic birthday card messages.

Freedom is not always being free from something, but being free to do something. And as Brooks so wisely detailed, true fulfillment comes from understanding that limitations such as commitment can provide you with what you really want.

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And so:

I am committed to seeking my next path in the Bay Area.

I am committed to being invested in my community (though which specific one is still to be determined).

I am committed to loving my family, friends, and those who I shouldn’t have any reason to love.

I am committed to giving God glory because “by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain.” [1 Corinthians 15:10]

 

Once again, the estimable David Brooks.

“You have to give to receive. You have to surrender something outside yourself to gain something within yourself. You have to conquer your desire to get what you crave.”

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My chains are (not) gone. I’ve been set free.

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Calling: Let Your Life Speak

Here’s the promised post. However, I won’t do the book justice so please just read it..

 

As I’ve been traveling, I’ve been hoping that suddenly, epiphany will hit. A voice will pierce through the separating clouds. An owl will carry a message from who-knows-where (yes, I love Harry Potter). That’s the hope. Is it reality? Not… yet. Perhaps, not at all.

 

Vocation does not come from a voice “out there” calling me to become something I am not. It comes from a voice “in here” calling me to be the person I was born to be, to fulfill the original selfhood given me at birth by God. 

 

These are the words of Parker J. Palmer, the author of “Let Your Life Speak.”  It’s quite the contrary view of what a ‘calling’ truly is. Instead of waiting for the outside to resonate within, why am I not being called by my own heart? My own gifts? My own talents?

 

Interestingly enough, the primary reason I began to work in broadcast journalism in 2006 was that I felt that this profession suited me. My talents and abilities fit into the job search puzzle. I was never a news junkie, never dreamed of seeing myself behind the anchor desk as a young girl. Since I began this career though, I’ve developed an earnest desire to understand the business and give it my all. Does that signify passion? Or calling?

 

What a tricky concept.

 

Palmer urges the reader to listen. Not to others, not to self-help books, not even for a celestial voice to boom down from the heavens. Instead he asks you to see where your dreams head. To linger among what your heart longs for. To note the itchiness in your fingers when you’re given a task that captivates you.

 

So a few things that have come to my heart in the past few weeks — and these may not be the final landing place:

– I have a heart. An organ that hurts, empathizes, and has compassion for those who are in need. Who exactly might I serve? That’s yet to come.

– I love to listen. I love to share, but more importantly, I desire to draw someone out of their shell, discover the person beyond the name tag.

– There’s a standard I want for myself. That’s about all I’ve got there; within that lies an element of pride. I’ll be the first to admit that despite the confidence I show, there’s a very insecure woman underneath, daunted by the challenges that lie ahead. Yet I can’t deny there’s an innate reason as to why I am resistant to taking just any job.

 

There’s more peeling to do.

 

 

Before you tell your life what you intend to do with it, listen for what it intends to do with you. Before you tell your life what truths and values you have decided to live up to, let your life tell you what truths you embody, what values you represent.