Sunday, February 21, 2010

Callings v. Choices

I’ve always liked how people of faith say they have been called to a work. The use of the word called somehow elicits the idea that the work we are engaged in is bigger than all of us. And for me I often need that perspective in order to navigate safely through the challenges I face. Recently, I’ve noticed that the work my Catholic cronies say they are called to do, is something I would generally say I have chosen to do. For example:

Catholic Cronies                                                            Me
I was called to be a Science Teacher                        I chose to be a Science Teacher
I was called to be a mother                                         I chose to be a mother

I’m wondering if there is a difference in the use of those words or if I am just getting hung up on semantics. Perhaps both statements are true, however to be complete, they must be combined. For example:

“I was called to be a mother and therefore I chose to be a mother.”

This idea then takes me back to this scripture from Matthew 22:14

For many are called, but few are chosen.

When I read this the first couple of times, I just couldn’t find the connection as to how it related to my question. I tried to drop it, but my mind kept taking me back to it. Today, I was able look at those words in a new way that has led me to a connection between that scripture and my thoughts.

I believe that I, along with all who reside on this green earth, am among the many who have been called. Have I, or you, been chosen? Perhaps that will depend on how well we fulfill and magnify the callings we chose to accept. Maybe, just maybe, the idea of being chosen isn’t an act of God, but an act within our agency to follow God.

30.       And now remember, remember, my brethren, that whosoever perisheth, perisheth unto himself; and whosoever doeth iniquity doeth it unto himself; for behold, ye are free ye are permitted to act for yourselves; for behold, God hath given unto you a knowledge and he hath made you free.

31.        He hath given unto you that ye might know good from evil, and he hath given unto you that ye might choose life or death; and ye can do good and be restored unto that which is good, or have that which is good restored unto you; or ye can do evil, and have that which is evil restored unto you.

Just a thought…


Andrea said...

When someone says "I feel called to be ___", to me it implies something more went into the decision than just, "I was looking for a major/job and this is what I ended up with." I think feeling 'called' also gives you a boost when things are especially awful and you are about ready to 'choose' something else. I felt called to my profession, but at one point in my schooling I was ready to throw in the towel. When a friend reminded me why we were doing what we were doing, our calling, if you will. I stayed, and it was the right thing to do.

BUT, whether or not one feels called, I think it's important to truly make a choice. To own your choice. To not just do something because that's how your mom did it. If you do things the way your mom did, that's fine, as long as you weighed your options and decided that that was the best choice for you and your family.

So...I think I'm saying the same thing you just said, just not as articulately.

Katie said...

That is a deep thought. I've never really thought about it in this light before. I do think we are called to certain things and that's why we feel certain drives in ourselves, or are given certain talents.

On the other hand, I do think there are somethings that we can just choose. We may not be called to it but we have the right to choose.

Amber said...

After reading your comment at adailyscoop, I had to check out your blog because of its name (I love sewing and books). Anyhow, this post brought to mind the "tender mercy" conference address from Elder Bednar (Ensign May 2005) where he talks about how being chosen of God results from our choosing Him. Excellent point!

Greetings from Bucharest, Romania!

Gwenevere said...

I've been thinking about this a bit more and I think I've come to realize, why I noticed the difference between the use of the words calling and choice. At least within the LDS church our "callings" are issued in a very straight forward way. and in life our callings are not issued in the same least not in my life. :) When I hear someone say they were "called" to a path in life, I have a difficult time identifying with that, because my mind is directly taken to how I have been "called" to serve and the processes are not the same. (I think I just repeated myself--oh well) Or are they the same and I'm just missing the miracle of my life call? hmmmm, good things to ponder.


Matt said...

The term I'm more familiar with coming from the Catholic perspective is "vocation".

Starting at the most fundamental level our vocation is to love God (the greatest Commandment, Matt. 22:36-40).

The next level is found in the answer to the question: How? More specifically, "How do I love God?" or "How does God want me to love Him?"

This is where discernment is required. Does He want me to be married, or single? Does He want me to lead a religious life (by this I mean, a life in the priesthood or in a religious order) or am I to spread the Good News in a more secular capacity?

The answers to these questions, I think, are gotten at through prayer and through examination of your conscience.

I think vocation is very similar to this idea of calling.

For what it's worth. My vocation, as I understand it, is to be a husband, a father. Earthly fatherhood being the way in which we help our children relate to God our Father (although imperfectly and in an analogous way, only).

Gwenevere said...

Maybe it's just the catholic women who say calling because I'm fairly certain I would remember the use of the word vocation.

From your insight this then is an issue over semantics, when used in this context, they share meaning.

With that said, I'm still happy that I noticed the difference, I need to remember from time to time, that I am not the one in charge of making my own way, I'm the one in charge of finding His way.