What is it like to explore with people their sense of God’s callings? Laura Kelly Fanucci interviewed Diane Millis about her work of interviewing people for our Lives Explored video narrative project on vocation.
Diane is an educator, spiritual director, and the author of Conversation−The Sacred Art: Practicing Presence in an Age of Distraction.
What are some of the challenges you encounter in talking with people about their sense of calling? The joys?
As a spiritual director, educator, and now as facilitator of these interviews, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with a lot of people over the years, from young adults to elders, about their sense of calling. My impression is that most of us don’t initially recognize the myriad of ways in which God is calling us.
We tend to make certain assumptions about what an experience of calling is or should be. We assume it will be extraordinary—like Moses and the burning bush. As a result, we may overlook all of the ordinary ways in which God is communicating with and calling us: e.g., through our interactions with other people, through the interior nudge we notice to do something or connect with someone, through an idea that keeps recurring in our imagination.
Listening for God’s voice is rarely, if ever, about hearing a message overhead, as if we’re being paged on an intercom system. More often, it’s about noticing a stirring, an interior whisper, deep within our hearts.
What is one surprising truth you have learned about vocation through the Lives Explored project?
An authentic calling is about far more than following our bliss and attaining remarkable results. Our egos are concerned with bliss and results; the Spirit of God calls us to broaden our focus. The persons I have interviewed describe experiences of bliss and suffering, remarkable results and equally remarkable disappointments in responding to their callings.
Most of them continue to wonder about and question: Am I doing the right thing? Am I using the gifts God has given me as fully as possible? What more is God asking of me? They’re not entirely certain whether what they are doing or have done is God’s calling. Nonetheless, they aspire to follow and deepen their relationship with God and to serve others.
What is one thing you wish more people understood about God’s call?
Although some of us may have experienced being called by God at a specific moment in time, God’s calling is not time-limited. God keeps calling us, keeps desiring to be in communication and relationship with us, keeps inviting us to co-create for the good of the world. God is never finished with us.