Calling and Resistance

It’s almost the definition of a calling that there is strong inner resistance to it. The resistance is not practical—how will I make money, can I live with the straitened circumstances, etc.—but existential: Can I navigate this strong current, and can I remain myself while losing myself within it? Reluctant writers, reluctant ministers, reluctant teachers—these are the ones whose lives and works can be examples. Nothing kills credibility like excessive enthusiasm. Nothing poisons truth so quickly as an assurance that one has found it. “The impeded stream is the one that sings.” (Wendell Berry)

-Christian Wiman, quoted from Alan Jacobs

I have never read a reflection on the notion of “calling” that speaks so deeply to how I think about my own path. It’s not that I fear for (lack of) money anymore in those vocations to which I feel called — it’s that I’m resistant to the idea that I belong in those professions, and that I won’t somehow “lose myself” in them.

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