On callings and the myth of suffering

I do not want to fall into a belief that I must suffer for my calling, that it must be hard or overwhelming. I do not believe that at all. In fact, I believe true callings are wells of joy and sources of purpose and meaning that nourish you. And they feel easy when you are in their flow. There are challenges that you must solve or untangle, but all the while you are doing that, you still feel in the flow. You come up against your own limiting beliefs, and must rid yourself of them, and it can feel like a struggle, but still there is a pervasive sense of being carried along.

A calling should bring you to life, make you feel more alive, make you feel deeply engaged and joy-filled from the certainty of how aligned you are to why you are on the earth. When I think about all my callings, they rise in me like lights, drawing me upward, outward, toward more Life, toward more meaning, toward more being… they involve breaking me open, taking me apart, and rebuilding me… but the underlying calling itself never feels like a burden or drain on me. It’s life-giving. It’s life-aligning.

There is a whole story of suffering, of suffering as holy, in the Christian faith. Suffering is seen as a way to honor Christ, which must be so fucked up to him, lol. When did he ever require that people feel guilty for his suffering and thus, throw themselves into suffering more? But suffering is a pervasive story, because it gives the soul something to do, to occupy itself with, to distract itself, it makes you think you are doing something worthy all the while it keeps you small. Rather than shine light with joy brightly into the darkness, you suffer and shrink and hide — all the while thinking your suffering is holy.

Pain is inevitable; suffering is not.

I refuse to live the Christian suffering myth. I am not a Christian and yet, how easy it is to get swept into that old pervasive belief that suffering is holy. That it means you’re doing serious God-work. That it means you are a good soldier for Christ. That it means you are a chosen one. Worthy.

Suffering is a choice. To focus on the aspects of your calling that cause pain, that break you, that make you have to surrender your ego to the unknown and to dwell on how hard it all is, how stressful it is, how impossible it all seems — rather than to do the work of sustaining your own belief, to surrender fully and give yourself over to all the uncertainty, all the unknowns, all the possibilities of greater joy, of greater beauty, to the reality that your soul has been deemed worthy, that you are actually magnificent, that you are holy powerful.

You would not have been chosen if it hadn’t already been determined that you are exactly the right person for the role. You can’t argue with the fact that you have already been determined to be qualified, capable, and to have the capacity to handle the calling. By the time the calling surfaces in your consciousness, when you are told about it, it’s long been decided. There were other candidates under consideration, but you were the one chosen. It is never a question of “can you do this?” But “will you do this?”

The only decision you have to make is yes or no.

You don’t have to decide if you’re the right person, or capable, or if you have what it takes. But what do we do? We fall right into arguing about whether or not we are capable, whether or not we have the resources, abilities, strengths….whether or not we are the right person.

Whether or not we are the right person has never been our decision to make.

We miss the whole aspect that all of that has already been decided because we WERE chosen, and if we had not been the right person, we would NOT HAVE BEEN CHOSEN to receive the calling.

In other words, our version of ourselves has to catch up to the version of ourselves that is known to the Ones issuing the calling. When the Authorities That Be decide that you are the person best suited to the role and the task, you can be sure that you’ve already been tested enough for them to know that and to have made their decision. Their confidence in you should be accepted as a fact, even if your mind has not grown into the same version of yourself as what they know. Remember, they see your potential, your malleability, your ability to grow into, to learn, to rise, to choose courage, they see what you are capable of becoming because of the calling, not just your current state and skillsets. You should assume that you are exactly the right person for the Calling issued to you.

And from that assumption, accept it and go forward.

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About Britta Reque-Dragicevic

Inspiring, nurturing, and giving voice to the human spirit.

Posted on Tuesday, in Story. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. This is great food for thought. I completely agree that our calling is something that should light us up. I just did a blog post about warning signs that your art is in danger and one of the emotional warnings to look out for is when something that should be enjoyable isn’t anymore. When that happens you need to make a change. There’s no reason to suffer if you don’t have to.
    I’m really glad you brought up the Christian suffering mythology because I think that it is an unintentional trap that people fall into because they’ve misinterpreted scripture. I am a Christian and I can tell you where I believe people get this mindset. There are verses like James 1:2-4 that talk about viewing trials as joy because you develop perseverance when having to overcome an obstacle or 2 Corinthians 12:9 where it talks about boasting in weakness because Christ is strong when we are weak. It’s easy to look at these and think that we are meant to view suffering as this joyous, holy experience when in fact these verses are referring to how to handle as you said, the inevitable pain and trials that we will face. There are good things that can come out of pain and suffering because of how we handle it but that doesn’t mean we should go looking for suffering or remain hiding in suffering when it is in our ability to act and overcome. I believe that we each have a God given calling and we need to use our skills to fulfill that calling. We were given skills for a reason and as you said, if the powers that be have put their confidence in you, accept it and move forward.

    • Thank you, Liz, for your perspective. It’s not that one should always, only feel light and joy, for there are real obstacles and challenges to move through in response to any calling — but more that we don’t dwell on the dark side of things and end up living from that energy. We also need to remember that just because we were called at one point, does not mean that calling has to last the rest of our lifetime. Too many lose their joy or find their calling completely drains them simply because they have already completed their calling and it’s time to move on to what’s next. Now, that’s not necessarily true in regards to the “creative” calling, but it can be in terms of what you are working on.

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