Are You Avoiding Your Calling?

| February 3, 2011 | Comments (0)

According to Gregg Levoy in his book, Callings, the critical challenge of discernments which you face – knowing whether your calls are true or false, knowing how and when to respond to them, and knowing whether a call really belongs to us or not – requires that you tread a path between what’s right for you and where you are willing to be lead. Discernment requires that your intention stay focused on this path. This is the path of the Hero’s Journey.

The Biblical story of “Jonah and the Whale” is very descriptive of the Hero’s Journey. Listen to this story with your third ear… your heart, to what this means in your own life.

Jonah was called to preach to the people of Nineveh, and refused because he presumed himself to be both an incompetent preacher and yet an expert judge – as he insisted the Ninevites weren’t worth saving.  “Instead, he booked himself passage to Tarshish, which was in the opposite direction.  God however was not amused, or fooled.  He sent a storm down on the ship, not so much as punishment but as an earnest appeal for a more affirmative response from Jonah.  But Jonah, despite being the strongest sailor of them all, the one who could subdue the storm if he chose, by taking responsibility for his part in creating it, chose instead to avoid dealing with it by going to sleep in the bottom of the boat, going into a state of what we refer to as denial, which only made the storm angrier.

He regained consciousness only when roused by the captain, the spirit of wakefulness, who confronted him with his responsibility for the mounting calamity. Jonah then proved himself to be a man of considerable courage. He confessed that he was to blame and told the frightened crewmen that throwing him overboard was the only way to make the storm subside.  Being decent and disbelieving sorts, however, they ignored his advice and rowed harder for shore, thus becoming unwitting accomplices to the crime, getaway drivers.  When the storm took a violent swipe at the main mast, they changed their minds, tossing Jonah overboard and into the belly of the whale, who delivered him three days later to the shores of Ninevah and unceremoniously spewed him onto the beach, a changed man.

In this story we see how Jonah discovered that a call rocks the boat, as it often points to our passions (the word “passion” comes from the Latin word “passio” meaning suffering).

The rocking of the boat was caused by a storm that comes up while on the journey to Tarshish.  The storm comes up in response to Jonah’s avoidance of the call.

Jonah is asleep (another means of avoidance) and is awakened by the captain, who symbolizes the counterpart to Jonah’s own spirit that resonates with the part of Jonah capable of waking up.

In order for the ship to be saved Jonah tells them to throw him into the sea.  When Jonah was thrown overboard, he was not cast into the sea, but into the belly of a whale — leading him to safety and delivering him to his own fate for resolution.  The whale is symbolic – the only other time we are inside another’s belly is before birth, so the image reflects an anticipated birth that follows giving up the life we thought we wanted for the life that is trying to emerge.  It is our preparation before we are spilled forth into life, into the world, ready at last to carry out our mission.

Is something trying to be birthed in you that you find yourself denying? Do you find yourself in the storms of life being called to do something or be something, but, like Jonah, you are avoiding your calling? Give yourself up to it and you will find that it will deliver you to the life your are meant to live.

To read more about  following your calling, see my blog post Are You Being Called To Something More? (category – empowerment).

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Category: Inspirational Stories

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