I highlighted 3 excerpts from Parker J. Palmer’s Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation book in Part 1 post on February 8th. Let your life speak, by the way, is a Quaker saying. Palmer, a teacher/writer, feels people are often inclined to let the voices of others drown out their OWN ‘vocational voice’. Ponder this for 7 seconds:
- When you go out to eat, do you let the waiter or chef decide what you eat for dinner?
- No. But, as many decide on a line of work to pursue, Palmer firmly believes, such nonsensical behavior is rampant – not rare!
Frankly, I believe Palmer’s observations about the dynamics of career selection are true. Our true selves can get lost in the cacophony of ‘voices’ we consciously (and unconsciously) allow to direct the career path we walk down. Many don’t tap into their God-given talents until they have a mid-life epiphany. Some never do!
Listening to life
After reading the first Chapter of his book, I found several compelling points. As you read the chosen excerpts from Palmer’s book below, please keep in mind these three (3) questions:
What is listening to life?
What is the consequence of not ‘listening’?
Does being responsive to yourself go beyond just listening?
- “Before you tell your life what you intend to do with it, listen for what it intends to do with you. Before you tell your life what truths and values you have decided to live up to, let your life tell you what truths you embody, what values you represent.” (p. 3)
- Beginning at a very young age, Palmer states “we are taught [in school] to listen to everything and everyone but ourselves, to take all our clues about living from the people and powers around us.” (p. 5)
- Palmer believes and states: “True self, when violated, will always resist us, sometimes at great cost, holding our lives in check until we honor its truth” (p. 4)
- “Verbalizing is not the only way our lives speak, of course. They speak through our actions and reactions, our intuitions and instincts, our feelings and bodily states of being, perhaps more profoundly than through our words.” (p. 6)
The wrong wall?
Is your ‘career ladder’ leaning against the right wall? Is the line of work you’re in now one based on your own voice? Don’t be surprised if your ladder is on the wrong wall.
- After listening and soul-searching, develop a written plan – based on your self-reflecting vision. As the saying goes, if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there!
Parker Palmer believes you’ll be more victorious if you let your life speak; listen to your own voice – to help you discover the vocation which suits you best. Guess what? You may discover that it’s time to switch ‘walls’ – become a career changer. Again, Palmer sees vocation not as a “goal to be achieved but as a gift to be received.”
In being ‘more than a conqueror’ in your work life, as God wants all His children to be, strive to listen more to your life. If you do, don’t be surprised if you’re walking (faith) and working (career) in ways which are far more fulfilling.
Let God speak to your heart . . . and let your life speak to you.
Grace, mercy, and peace to you!
Greg Silverthorne, 66 Assurance Way