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Calling, Choosing, Winning, Losing

Have you discovered your calling yet? Do you know what your gift, or gifts are? Do you feel like you are doing what you should be doing, living where you should be living, with a person you feel you should be with, or the career you should be in? Have you ever sat and contemplated where you are in your life, at this point in time, and wondered, “Why am I here?”

Much of the work I do helping individuals is focused on their “should.” I tell them, “You’re should-ing all over yourself.” The problem isn’t in having some magical answer to the “What, where, why, how, and when” questions as much as the WHO question: Who are you?

We are born into a family and a set of life circumstances where we have very little ability to choose, other than in many cases, just to exist and survive as best we can. Then we are thrown into the adult world and again must make choices, which will allow us to “win” at life, but we fall down. Sometimes we get stuck making bad choices that lead us to repeatedly lose. Then we “try” therapy because we are so beaten up and tore down we have no idea, which way is up!

It’s very telling to me when people come into my office and I ask them, “Who are you and what do you want?” In the counseling classroom this would be known as “The wish” question, “If your life could change magically overnight, what would you want to wake to?” One woman said she had “No idea.” Her whole life was a series of being “responsible.” She was raised where she had to learn to be “responsible” for her alcoholic father and mother. She was “responsible” for caring for her siblings. She got married and was “responsible” for her husband who also was an alcoholic and she took responsibility for raising their daughter. Now, she was approaching retirement and she was depressed. She just wanted to experience “for once” what it would feel like to be “happy.” She had done everything she should and was miserable. She had no clue where to start as she could not remember EVER being happy.

Our parents give us a “play book, or a rule book” when we are born. There are expectations they place upon us, and we follow the rules or we rebel and break the rules. Either way, we learn what the rules are. When we go out into adulthood, sometimes we don’t have expectations for ourselves other than those imposed upon us. We continue to work under the old rules and expectations not realizing we can make other, better choices for our life and a part of ourselves never gets developed: Me. The “we” is the focus and without another person to make us “whole” we don’t know who “me” is. This is where I help them develop their individuality, to see they are capable of being whole people all by themselves. They can have personal likes and preferences, “I only eat what my husband likes because he won’t eat what I like,” they can have hobbies, “I would go to the movies, but I don’t like going alone,” and they can make choices that will bring them joy, “I always wanted to learn Salsa.”

So, I ask you the same “wish” question: “If your life could change magically overnight, what would you want to wake to?” If the answer is to be “happy,” go find it!

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find;

knock and the door will be opened to you.”

Matthew 7:7

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