Finding True Happiness — Happy People Have a Calling
August 22, 2013
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Finding True Happiness
This series is inspired by the book The Law of Happiness(Howard Books, 2011)
by Dr. Henry Cloud, a Christian psychologist and counselor.
Dr. Cloud’s book is a look at happiness from a Biblical/Christian perspective.
I’m building on Dr. Cloud’s thoughts and want to give him proper credit.
“Happy People Have a Calling”
Dr. Cloud states in his book, The Law of Happiness, that we can see the work we do as either a job, a career, or a calling. When we see our work as a job we’re focusing on what we can earn doing it. When we see our work as a career we’re focusing on how we can advance and make something of our self. When we see our work as a calling we’re focusing on a bigger purpose than our self, on a greater good. Happy people see their work as a calling!
I knew a guy who stocked the vending machines at rest stops. He talked with me enthusiastically about how he tried to keep the machines clean and running well for weary travelers stopping for a break. He shared how he tried to get the best cup of coffee possible out of his machines. He had the bigger picture in mind while doing his job, and it helped him be happy. It was part of his calling in life to give people a pleasant experience at his vending machines!
The idea of doing our work because we’re called implies that there’s someone who’s called us to it. This is where it seems to me that only the person who believes in God can believe in being called. I suppose we can say we call our self to our work, but that’s in the same category as paying yourself a compliment or trying to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. A supreme calling comes from the Supreme Being of the universe.
Dr. Cloud writes that “when we realize that we are working for God, every task becomes significant and meaningful.” (p. 175) If we believe God has called us to our work then it is holy work; there is no differentiation between the sacred and secular, it’s all sacred! To put it bluntly, someone’s work as an artist, a homemaker, a waitress, a teacher, a student, a baker, or any other honorable job is as sacred as my work as a minister.
Try this little exercise. Consider your work and identify the greater good it can have. For instance, a baker can imagine friends or a family enjoying eating the bakery item together. A waitress can feel good about providing a time of relaxation and refreshment for a hurried businessman or harried parents with their small children. A homemaker can take pleasure in knowing a clean house is better to live in for her family than a messy house. If you’ve never thought of your work as being as sacred as that of a minister, then consider this written document as your ordination papers!
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” (Colossians 3:23)