Monday, January 23, 2017

Designing your life



From time to time I happen upon something that's in the 'that was very thought-provoking' box. This podcast with Dave Evans about 'Designing your life' did that. Maybe it just caught my mood. He's seems to be a really interesting guy (career with Apple/ Gaming/Software then a teacher at Stanford) He's also a Christian.

I have always, as we all are, been interested in calling, purpose and vocation. Most of us never stop asking the question, 'Am I doing the right thing?' or 'Is this the right job?' or 'What should I do next?' Or even the bigger one of 'What's it all about?'  Too often, I see in the church we fail to speak to what vocation looks like in the world and careers (or multiple careers) so I am always looking for interesting books to recommend to people in that zone.

Inevitably, as a pastor, I do spend lots of time speaking to people about their jobs and I found Dave Evans both interesting and helpful. He's challenging in his critique of the church in relating to the world (my moment was his story of the man who taught him the Saturday morning Bible study). Personally, my life as a pastor feels like a second life and the more and more I look at the world in God's economy there may well be third and fourth one's on the way.

As I look at the education system, it seems preoccupied with  passing exams. Surely, a life well-lived shouldn't peak at fifteen with good GSCE results? A good and rounded education/ upbringing should prepare you to answer the question 'What do I want to do with me life?' Now, of course, to answer that question depends very much on your worldview but we all ask this question repeatedly. However there are I think particular seasons when this question becomes paramount and front of mind.

a. When you leave school

This is a time when you choose the course you will study or the job you will take. What will govern that choice? What are your gifts and skills? What are you interested in? What parental/mentoring wisdom is available to you? What influence have good teachers and leaders had? What jobs have you tried or seen adults do that appeal? What do you like about them?

b. When you leave university

This is a season when you have tons of time to work out what you want to do- much of it wasted in my own experience. Often, you are so preoccupied with working out the boundaries of freedom and what is means to be an adult that vocation falls down the list and is left until the last minute.

c. When you reach middle age/retire

We are all living longer. If you are planning to retire then you now have almost another life ahead of you once your done with your official 'job'. 'Falling upward' speaks to this- particularly in men. Do you have a plan for your last years? These are the years when we begin to realize we might actually know something that might be useful. It's struck me that both Obama and Cameron are not yet 55 and have so much more potential than to speak about what they've already done for lots of money (Tony Blair).

Anyway, this might be food for thought if you are the parent of a teenager, in transition, planning retirement or changing course. Here is the link to the 'Christian Companion to designing your life' referred to in the podcast.

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