Let Your Life Speak
By Brittany Burrows
When was the last time you found yourself “off track”? Maybe you were working on an assignment or home project and got distracted. Or maybe you found yourself on Facebook when you intended to be paying the bills online. Maybe you were taking care of the children or grandchildren, and found yourself focused on answering emails on your phone instead of being fully present with family. When this happens to us - when we find ourselves off track - at some point, we “wake up” and realize that we need to make a shift back to what we originally meant to be focused on.
Sometimes we can also end up “off track” from where God has called us to be in our lives. In his book, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation, author Parker Palmer writes that we are born with wholeness and integrity, with no separation between our inner and outer lives. But as time goes on, and we become more concerned with surviving and succeeding in the external world, we can slowly lose touch with our souls, and disappear into our roles. We can get off track from who God created us to be.
We are each born with a God-given identity and unique gifts. Palmer shares about a time when his daughter and infant granddaughter came to stay with him at his home, years ago.
He writes, “Watching my granddaughter from her earliest days on earth, I was able, in my early fifties, to see something that had eluded me as a twenty-something parent: my granddaughter arrived in the world as this kind of person rather than that, or that, or that. She did not show up as raw material to be shaped into whatever image the world might want her to take. She arrived with her own gifted form, with the shape of her own sacred soul.”
Palmer reminds us that God creates each of us in God’s image, with a distinct identity, gifts and talents, unlike anyone else on earth. We often live freely into our unique identities as children, but as we grow up and try to fit the expectations of others and of the world, it becomes common to drift away from our true selves, getting lost in all of our doing and performing.
God calls us to return to ourselves - to discern and remember who we are at our core, to rediscover our passions and gifts, and to use our passion and gifts to serve the world in ways that give us joy.
Each May, I give a copy of Let Your Life Speak to each of our graduating Synergy Wesley Foundation seniors because it is a reminder of the importance of listening for the voice of God within themselves. As our college graduates go throughout their lives, they may at one point or another find themselves “off track,” and I want them to always know that they are invited by God to return to themselves, and to rediscover their passions and gifts.
When each of us lives fully into our true selves, and when we share the gifts we have been given by God, we can transform the world together.