The Pruning of Desires: Vocation and False Hope

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Humility and Vocation

Humility requires death. It is an awareness that you are ill-equipped to do the tasks that have been assigned to you. It requires putting to death the desire to be unduly proud of one's personal accomplishments. It requires a shift in the culture of the self from self-advancement and metaphorical victory dances in honor of the self to a recognition that the self is merely a pawn in a grander scheme that is not under one's own control. Humility is not low self-esteem, however; it is the act of getting up each and every morning and choosing to die to those desires that keep us captive to a sense of vocation that is preoccupied with the self. 

Vocation is a touchy subject for several, especially those, like me, who have been forced to give up dreams and desires for a particular vocation due to life's unforeseen circumstances. But it is easier for those who have been through this loss to settle their minds in understanding that true vocation is a higher calling--higher than a particular job, role, or skillset. It is harder for those whose path has not been diverted to another clear path but merely derailed for the present moment. What is true vocation for those who are lost in the grander scheme? 

True vocation for the Christian is a calling to be part of the grander scheme in which we find ourselves. One helpful thing to remember is that every person, merely by their design, plays a significant role in this grander scheme. There is not one person that is any more significant than another. The President of the United States, contrary to his belief, is not a more significant person than the servants at his hotels in the eyes of God. Humility and love are the languages of the kingdom of God and they both will, in the end, bring Trump to his knees and exalt the lowly servants. 

Biblical Vocation

As the Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:16, "And if the ear should say, 'Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,' it would not for that reason stop being part of the body." Just by nature of being part of the body of Christ's work in the grander scheme of the will of God, we are all equal with respect to our roles. This equality is true equity. We cannot, even if we tried, be a more or less significant member of the body than another. We are all, like it or not, equal and equitable members of the body of Christ with equal and equitable identities regardless of our individual subvocations since our main vocation is the same: what Paul called the ministry of reconciliation or the act of bringing all of the aspects of the heavenly city down to Earth. 

The Dangers of Imbalance

To focus unduly on subvocations and jobs or careers over this higher vocation would be to go against the will of God. We should focus on higher things and on the things that involve our self-advancement. This world was created for you and you are but dust and ashes. These statements are both true but only in their correct respective places and in careful balance. If your soul teeters over to one side or the other by an inch, you will feel the damaging results in your soul. If you focus on self-advancement too much, you will feel inadequate. If you focus on being dust and ashes too much, guess what, you will feel inadequate. 

This feeling of inadequacy is a good litmus test for whether you are in the right in the pruning of your desires and the cultivation of true hope and true vocation in your soul. The true logic of life is not focused on self-advancement. It is based on losing one's self-aggrandizement for the sake of the self and because of the grander scheme. In the struggle against our own weakness, in the struggle for humility, we need assistance from outside of ourselves. We need family, God, and all kinds of support. 

Be glad over the course of your life that you have had God and family on your mind so much. Let God and family prune your desires into the shape that will best fit with our true vocation.