Focusing Our Calling Within Our Present
What a gift we have as human beings to be in the present with a story and past behind us while moving toward the future with goals and dreams. We’re the only living creatures that can be aware of all three—past, present, future—at any given moment. That’s amazing, and yet at times the present feels like an in-between, with an uncomfortable tension to be resolved so we can move into our sweeter, more appealing future.
Those in-betweens we experience in the present, on the way through our unfolding dreams to stepping into our calling, often come in the form of a transition, a sense of stalling out, or a derailment. Suddenly our goals and dreams or our calling feel far off. We find we are discouraged, maybe fearful or indecisive, definitely frustrated, at best, cranky.
Okay, maybe that’s just me. But then maybe not.
Where are you today in your in-betweens? What do you most long for? What emotions surround your thoughts about your hopes and dreams or calling?
Suanne Camfield in her book, The Sound of a Million Dreams: Awakening to Who You Are Becoming, has a chapter called, Present. In it she writes:
“My friend Ed once told me that we spend so much time wondering what we’re called to that we forget we’re called to whatever we’re doing right now. This I needed to hear for the present is not a barrier to our call. It is our call.”
I wonder if we might live in a culture that exalts the call, the big dream, or hurrying toward the future at the expense of the beauty of the present. Is it possible, that in rushing through the current moment, we miss much that might have given us great joy? Could it be that there is a depth God is cultivating in us right now where we are that is crucial for the unfolding of His purposes or calling? Perhaps that cultivation is our most important focus right now?
And backing that up one more step to sit in agreement with Susanne Camfield and her friend Ed, could it be that what we are experiencing and doing right now truly is our calling? Found in the ordinary everydayness of being available and responsive to what each moment brings?
What would that be like for you—to experience this present moment as your calling?
What might you begin to notice?
Recently my husband and I took a relaxed fifteen-mile bike ride on a beautiful path along the Truckee River. That day the river was flowing fast and wild from massive amounts of spring snow melt. I think back to those rushing waters and see it as a metaphor for how any of us might rush through our days toward the future, crushing with all the churning any possibility of noticing what this present day held.
So a question we might hold and consider could be: What has God given this day for?
Those words alone bring me more into the present. Admittedly, to slow into the moment is something I have to do intentionally. Otherwise, I am much like that roiling, rushing river—if not in my actions, in my thoughts.
To use another metaphor, instead of always looking across to the far end of a field of flowers, we can notice the one flower in front of us and enjoy its intricacies. I think God knows I need images like these to bring my focus to what is right before me.
When I bring my thoughts to the present moment, I am less anxious about my purpose or calling or how my dreams or goals might come about. I begin to rest in what this present day holds. I am simply and more fully engaging in the day. Perhaps I do this in a planned way, and maybe within the context of the future, but mostly I’m allowing myself to be a part of the details of the moment, really seeing the people and activities of the day before me, even becoming more aware of the subtleties of God’s presence and leading.
In bringing your focus to the present right now, what do you see before you that you might have been missing or looking past? How might you enjoy it or engage in it more fully?
Incorporating one or two questions into my morning rhythms of prayer and journaling helps me to bring my focus to the present, while I continue to trust God for my future. Including the one mentioned above, here are a few to start with:
What has God given this day for?
What is God’s heart for me and for those I will be with today?
How will I intentionally engage more fully in what each moment holds, with open hands to receive from God or to give to others?
Borrow these or create more of your own, but whatever you choose, begin to watch for how calling unfolds more naturally and beautifully when we focus intentionally on the present moment.
Focusing on the present is just one consideration in the discovery of calling. I know you each have your own journeys and stories, so feel free to share your perspectives and add to the conversation. I always love to hear from you as I gain much from what you share! What do you think about purpose and calling? Do you seek to discover it or let it unfold naturally? And if you know your calling, how did you discover it?