“THE WORLD IS FULL of people who seem to have listened to the wrong voice and are now engaged in life-work in which they find no pleasure or purpose and who run the risk of suddenly realizing someday that they have spent the only years that they are ever going to get in this world doing something which could not matter less to themselves or to anyone else. This does not mean, of course, people who are doing work that from the outside looks unglamorous and hum-drum, because obviously such work as that may be a crucial form of service and deeply creative. But it means people who are doing work that seems simply irrelevant not only to the great human needs and issues of our time but also to their own need to grow and develop as humans.”
Frederick Buechner, Originally published in The Hungering Dark
So many people coming for spiritual direction are working through this dilemma. They find themselves stuck in a work that is not fulfilling. They are only keeping on because they and their family need the money. Others have climbed the ladder of success only to find their ladder is up against the wrong building. When we see our life-work as boring and uninteresting, soon we perform in an uninteresting and boring manner. This soon spills over into our spiritual life which also becomes stale. It becomes a vicious cycle. Buechner often speaks of our ministry being where our deep passion meets the world’s great need. What is the way out? My experience with others is suggesting they do some inner work with a counselor. In spiritual direction, we will concentrate on the care of the soul, the soul which may have been neglected because so much energy had to go towards developing and putting up a false self about one’s work. Reconnecting to the God of our understanding, praying, working on a rule of life can bring a peace that can be a fertile field for life changing attitudes. We can learn an acceptance of where we are and see this work through new glasses as a real ministry. On the other hand, we may hear a call to a new career, a new ministry, a new job. Whichever way we go, we will learn how our connection to the God of our understanding can flame the passion for our ministry and guide us to what we have been created to be and do.