You may or may not have heard that the fellows began this month spending a week in the hoppin’ city of Deltaville, Virginia. If you didn’t get that sarcasm, Deltaville is in fact not that hoppin’. This made it the perfect, peaceful place to spend our mid-year vocation and calling retreat. We were cozied up in the most beautiful, serene home along the river (see pictures below) with fire was consistently burning and love and wisdom continually flowing. Wisdom shared through conversations with each other on long debrief walks about who we are and what we want to do with our lives, but mostly from Bill Fullilove who graciously led the retreat. Bill led us in group sessions and one-on-one meetings where we discussed our desires, gifts and opportunities. We spent time defining and analyzing the 3 tests we took prior to the retreat: The Highlands Ability Battery, EQ (emotional intelligence), and MCORE (testing your core motivations). This retreat was extremely insightful and helpful to me (and I think all of us fellows), so I decided to list some top things I learned during our time:
We often worry about our calling in terms of what we will do for work in the future. In reality, calling is a much bigger term for life. Our work/vocation is a small spec of our calling. Our ultimate life calling is our call to Christ—we all have the same calling in this sense! There is such freedom found in this call. (Shoutout to my summer camp boss who really taught me this way back when).
Our call to Jesus is our primary call. Issues regarding family, community, church, vocation, etc. can be seen as a ‘secondary call.’
Where your desires, gifts and opportunities overlap is your individual vocational calling. Think each of these through! What are my God-given gifts? What desires do I have? What opportunities are there? It’s important to answer all of these questions with God at the forefront.
I’m an ambivert!
It’s hard to be assertive and I am not naturally good at it (thnx EQ). But being assertive doesn’t mean being a jerk. It’s important to find people who exemplify assertiveness in a way that honors God so I can learn how to be assertive.
I’m realizing this is true for not only assertiveness, but all characteristics of life. We need to follow Jesus’ example in all characteristics we want to embody. We need to learn from friends, adults, mentors, etc. who live out differing characteristics in a way that reflects God.
God has made you in His image. He didn’t mess up when He made you. Embrace that beauty! With this beauty, comes the responsibly to hold what you’ve been given well and offer it back to God. I need to constantly making sure I am using my gifts, abilities and core motivations for His glory and not my own gain.
Read all of Psalm 139 for some peace.
That’s all for now. Special thanks to Bill Fullilove and all the people who have listened, and continue to listen, as I verbally process all that I am learning. I am thankful for the many treasured people who walk with me (literally and metaphorically) as God is showing me more of who I am in Him.
P.S. When thinking about this fellows year and the unknowns that will be coming after it, I often look back at my claimed song of the year. It’s called “New Start” by Weary Friend. The songs puts music and lyrics to the deep emotions of my heart strings. A lot of times I find music articulates the feelings and thoughts that I can’t put to words. This song does that. It has been a comfort to me since first hearing it in October. Everyone should listen—you can find it on Spotify!
Here are some of the lyrics:
”And I can’t see Him, but I’ll read His voice.
And He’s guiding me through all the noise.
When I can’t trace His hand, I’ll trust His heart,
Even in this new start.
And I used to think that when I was growing up I’d had my life figured out.
I’d know exactly who I was, I’d be set in my ways, not needing to change.
But now that I’m here I feel more like a child,
still learning my lessons and needing direction.
Still needing direction.”
Thank you Lord that You are the one who gives direction when I need it most.