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Kathy's Faith Walk

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Kathy's Faith Walk

Living our avocation through our vocation

I just read a snippet in Fast Company of “What Should I Do With My Life Now” by Po Bronson.

It would have been nice if Bronson, in this short piece, had touched on the difference between vocation and avocation. What we do in our life, our job, isn’t necessarily who we are. It has long been held that men identify themselves by what their job (vocation) is. Women sometimes do the same. But I am finding more and more that as men and women, young and old, discover the calling on their life (avocation) they are less inclined to put as much pressure on the contentment they receive from their vocation.

Bronson says that a “calling” is not something you just know but something you grow into. Having raised three children, all in their early to mid-twenties, I have witnessed otherwise. The oldest is a musician, the variety that plays songs with Christ-based lyrics. This is his avocation and has been since he was old enough to plunk a piano key. By day, he is a drywall apprentice. Rock work pays the bills but he takes joy in delivering rock music with substance. This makes his drywall work very good.

My oldest daughter is a child care worker and has been since she was 19 months old. Yes, 19 months! That’s how old she was when she picked up her newborn sister off the couch and carried her to me because the baby was crying! I was mortified, of course! But I saw something that day which as parents we chose to foster. She has been blessed enough to develop a life in which vocation and avocation blend.

The third is an actress/singer and has been since she learned every Disney song to every Disney Princess movie ever made She was about two years old back then. As parents, we took note and fostered the calling. Today, whether acting or singing, she is as at home on the stage as in our living room, and she leads worship in church. But by day she sells sandwiches at a franchise in town where she uses her calling to entertain co-workers and serve customers with a smile.

I believe we all know what we are called to do. It is the thing we want to do that’s burning in our heart and we just can’t let go of it. I believe God places it there as part of our DNA. Oftentimes the calling costs us rather than brings in a paycheck but that’s the beauty of the system! We work our vocation so we have the means to serve in our avocation. We may never get rich this way but the joy we experience in executing our avocation more than covers what our vocation costs. My pastor once called Christ Followers “Secret Agents” of sorts. God loves people. People who love God will love people too and they will find a way to live that mission out, most often, through their job.

Sometimes those vocations can be stressful, as I and my husband have found many times. But this is an avenue God often uses to share His love with people. Hang in there. The rewards are on their way.

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Kathy Osborne Kathy Osborne is the editor of the Co Op Country Store's newspaper, the Co Op Round-Up. In her spare time she checks in on her three grown children, or listens to her husband play music.

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