Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Occupation v. Vocation - Striking the Balance

Well, I finally got a job.  Thank the LORD.  One that actually will pay and is part of a legitimate company, even if it is a part-time gig.  But still, the stress leading up to this point was unbearable. It's nice not to worry so much about things.

The job hunt gave me some perspective on things that I really hadn't had time to examine before.  For example, as a writer, I need to have time in order to write.  I have to have energy each day in order to allow for me to write a blog post, work on a novel, or pump out a short story.  I can't work a 9-5 job and write.  I've tried.  It doesn't work well for me.  When I do that, it diverts my attention too many directions leaving me no way to really focus on my calling.  The result is, most work is soul-sucking for me.  Of course there are some things which really equate to the bowels of Hell and other things that are just slightly purgatorial, but the end is the same.  I feel like I am missing something.  I cannot be happy.  It is impossible.  I know my vocation, and if I were to avoid doing it, whatever the reason, I would be miserable for the rest of my life.

I've felt the effects of this before, even before I was absolutely certain what I am meant to do in this world.  In some ways, Phoenix was my cleansing fire.  I had to go through that period in order to figure out what I needed, what I couldn't deal with, and what I was willing to give up.  Without that purifying fire, I never would have come to my present place, where I am so much happier, where I feel right.

It is true that for the past few months Christian and I have lost a LOT of sleep.  We were both stressed out.  At the same time, I felt fine.  Don't get me wrong, I was wallowing my fair share and sobbing appropriately, and frantically brainstorming with the best of them.  I was.  Christian and my mother can both attest to this.  At the same time, I found a peace and a purpose that I haven't known.  I felt like I have finally come into myself.

It's something we all have to take time to do.  It is necessary.  If you don't make time to figure these things out, your soul and God will do it for you.  The universe will do it for you.  It will require that you stop and begin a great purging of spirit.  This is the only way you can figure out who you are meant to be, what you are meant to do, and it is the only way you can truly be happy.  We are all meant to go through this world as our best selves, to have purpose, and to live it to its fullest.

Beyond the need for something to pay bills, I needed something to inspire me.  It's a delicate balance between vocation and occupation.  You see, in order to write I need to be inspired.  In order to be inspired, I need to go out and do things.  In order to write I need to eat, in order to eat, I need money.  To get money, I need to work.  So working is a logical thing to do for any writer.  The catch is, you can't work too much or too little, it needs to be the Baby Bear amount - just right.

The moral of the story is, a little work (occupation that is) is good and necessary on many levels. Vocation is necessary for spiritual, mental, and emotional health and needs to balance with occupation.  When you have vocation, the world can fall apart, but your soul will be intact.  I recommend it as insurance, every time.

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