Saturday, August 20, 2011

vocation as listening for voice

Vocation does not come from wilfulness. It comes from listening. I must listen to my life and try to understand what it is truly about – quite apart from what I would like to be about – or my life will never represent anything real in the world, no matter how earnest my intentions.

That insight is hidden in the word vocation itself, which is rooted in the Latin for “voice.” Vocation does not mean a goal that I pursue. It means a calling I hear. Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am. I must listen for the truths and values at the heart of my own identity, not the standards by which I must live – but the standards by which I cannot help but live if I am living my own life.

It has been good to be back in Auckland, a city which has so shaped my life and ministry. I trained for denominational ministry in this city, planted a church, had 2 children, experienced doors open and close. It has been good to be back at Laidlaw College, among a community of scholars that shaped my life and ministry, my thinking and my passion.

The place, the memories, the renewed relationships, the questions over coffee breaks and dinner, have all been a rich palate, a reminder of the decisions and implications in the move from New Zealand to Australia. I spent over two years before the shift with a spiritual director, pondering the shape of my life, seeking the discern “voice” – in me and in my life journey, in my family and faith community (Opawa Baptist Church).

There have been moments in the move to Australia when I have doubted how well I have heard that voice. Such realisations have been humbling and disturbing. I suspect they will continue.

As I have walked this city of memories, I have been reminded that listening never stops. That the voice I listened for 18 months ago needs to be listened too again. Constantly.

Life continually offers me an array of possibilities and tasks. Some are bad. Others are good. But what about my voice? The unique fingerprint that is Steve Taylor and the Taylor family? Who am I and who are we and what does it mean to live out of that?

Thanks Auckland, thanks Laidlaw, thanks Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation for reminding me of the importance, and the struggle, of listening for vocational voice.

God, give me the courage to hear that more clearly, more truly, this day and in the coming days.

Posted by steve at 04:10 PM

1 Comment

  1. Brilliant thanks for sharing. Discovering Parker Palmer (thanks Beatrice) was probably the high light of last semester for me.

    Comment by Dan Anear — August 20, 2011 @ 6:07 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.