You are currently viewing God-Given Calling
  • Post published:June 1, 2024

At the not-so-tender age of twenty, I had my first professional opportunity on stage with my father in the musical Man of la Mancha. He played Don Quixote and I was Paco, muleteer #5. It was thrilling. I got to watch my father transform himself into someone else, a fully human, fully truthful, fully believable character all in service to a great story. The truth is what all artists seek and wish to tell.

Being part of this production was an invitation to enter an unusual life, one that if accepted, would require much. The experience had awakened within me an interest in artistic expression. I was offered an opportunity to think creatively, and to look at life and the world through a creative lens. It also affirmed that I was good at something. It was a match between talent and interest. But was it a calling?

A calling on your life is often thought of in religious terms. I was blessed to be reared by godly parents, and though I spent time wandering in the proverbial wilderness, when I did embrace my faith, I realized I could not separate what I did professionally from my belief in God. By surrendering my life to God, it meant my talents were also surrendered. And my relationships. When my wife, Kay, and I were married forty-five years ago, everything became intertwined in a sacred intimacy.

There have been many lean and hungry times in the life of my calling as an actor and author. Long periods of discouragement were borne out of famines of employment and constant rejections. This sacred intimacy has endured deep woundings: the pain of God’s long silences when pleas and prayers have failed to move; the look of sorrow and bewilderment when I have failed to love Kay as Christ loves His bride; the misery of always being told “no” by publishers and directors. It is easy to doubt and even become fearful. Why had God’s calling led me into the desert of multiple failures? Had I taken a wrong turn? Should seek another path?

A calling is a way of life that takes over body, soul, and spirit. I equate it to the great commandment to love God with all your heart, mind, and soul. This way of life requires one to accept and embrace at least three realities: you must have perseverance. You must be willing to sacrifice—what are you willing to give up? What are you willing to risk? And you must accept failure. The line “failure is not an option” only works in the movies. Don’t be discouraged by the scars of personal failures. Wear them with humble dignity.

The essence of a calling is commitment. To be fully human, to be fully present in this world, and to fully realize what you have been called and created to do, one must be committed to the way of life required by the calling. No matter where the path might lead.