How to Live More on Purpose.
Updated: May 11
While at the store recently, I heard Madonna’s 1986 song, “Papa Don’t Preach,” playing loudly from the speakers. I stopped in the middle of the aisle when she sang, “You'd give it some blessing right now 'cause we are in love.”
When it comes to marriage or, in the case of a hit song from the 80’s, having a baby, blessing religiously makes sense. However, offering our calling a blessing, especially outside of a religious context, seems more abstract. Growing up we don’t often teach children about calling. Rather, we encourage them to get a job or pursue a career and as a result, less of us are familiar with calling or what it means to offer it a blessing.
To bless your calling is to know your scars and learn the truth of who you are. And claiming our calling through blessing is what helps us live on purpose and connect more fully to our lives.
A few weeks ago I went home to Arizona to visit my family, celebrate my mom’s birthday, and, receive a blessing.
When I first let my mom and siblings know that I’d be visiting for a few reasons, one of which was to be blessed, they expressed excitement at the prospect of seeing me, but didn’t quite know what I meant by blessing.
In fact, after telling some friends one of my reasons for visiting home was to ask my family to bless my calling, they all gave me the same look. You know, the kind when your words say something like, “Well isn’t that nice,” but your face says, “WTF?”
During my visit I sat down with my five nieces and nephews, ages 6 - 14, and shared besides wanting to see them, I was also hoping to receive a blessing. Immediately my ten-year-old nephew replied, “You mean like when you sneeze?”
“Well, yes, actually,” I said. “‘May God bless you’ originates from someone offering it as a means of protection. Which is, in fact, what a blessing kind of does for us.”
I asked them if they knew what calling or purpose meant and if anyone had ever asked them if they knew what theirs was. They seemed confused, so I asked whether or not they had a dream. To which my six-year-old niece replied eating candy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every single day is her dream.
As my mom would say, “Oh, out of the mouth of babes!”
This still left them curious about calling. Besides, what is the difference between purpose, having a dream, and calling?
A lot of us mistake calling for career, but a job, career, and calling aren’t always the same. Jobs can come and go. A career may change form and differ throughout the years. Calling, though, is something that isn’t defined by what you do, it’s part of who you are. A calling is an extension of your soul — the purpose for which you are here.
So often we get confused and think that what we do for a living or how we earn an income defines who we are. It doesn’t. It would be wonderful if we could all earn a living with our calling and I believe it’s possible. But it doesn’t have to. If you aren’t currently making a living from your calling, it doesn’t mean you aren’t living on purpose.
Purpose is similar to calling. Purpose, though, serves as a function of your calling. It’s easy to live on purpose when we’ve said yes to our calling.
A dream is a desire we have that informs us of our purpose and if we look deep enough inside, will reveal to us our calling. For example, I may have a dream of being a singer, a doctor, or, like my niece, eating candy all day, but none of these would be what my actual purpose is or what I’m called to do.
In order to understand calling, we have to read our lives. We have to listen to our stories, face areas in our life where there’s been harm, learn where we’re from, and most importantly, we have to ask ourselves:
What do I love?
What are my gifts and talents?
What do I stand for and against?
These aren’t always easy questions to answer, but in the pursuit of answering them, we will uncover our calling. Even if we don’t consciously have an answer to one or more of these questions, if we look around at our life, we’ll be given a glimpse of what our calling is.
I think for a lot of us, if we take the time and honestly sit with these questions, we’d realize how opposite we are from actually answering the call on our lives. A Course in Miracles says, “‘Many are called but few are chosen’ should be, ‘All are called but few choose to listen.’” Meaning, there’s a point in which we have to make the choice to say yes to our calling.
A good indication of calling is that it’s always about love. It’s always about leaving the world better off than how we found it. To bless our calling is to intentionally, and purposefully, claim and align with love. Especially if our calling touches areas where there’s been deep harm, engaging from a place of love, not fear, is the only way we can justly serve our calling.
That’s the difference between calling and career. Your career may not be how you uniquely bless the world, but living on purpose through your calling, which is the truest essence of who you are, is.
For those of you in the midst of understanding your calling, don’t let your job or career, or lack thereof, limit the potential of who you’re called to be. Who we are is never defined by what we do.
For the next 30-days, each morning upon waking, I invite you to place your hand on your heart while your eyes are still closed and ask yourself, “Who am I called to be, what am I called to do, how can I serve, and what areas of my life can I bless?”
You may not get an answer right away, but keep listening because your life is speaking.
I’m currently taking on new clients and I’d love to support you along your journey. Shoot me an email if you or someone you know is interested in less stress, creating positive habits, building a stronger mindset, or strengthening your sense of spirituality.