The Leading a Balanced Life Professional Development Session was held on Thursday, October 5th and Wednesday, October 11th. Rick Scheierl from the Vocation Project and Christine Munger from Companions on a Journey were the presenters for this event. Below is a recap of the information they presented.
When trying to define the word “employment” many different thoughts come to mind. We may consider the work that we do, a job that we perform, a service we provide or we may think of our studies. However we define the word employment, a common Scriptural passage that is quoted is, “By the sweat of your brow shall you earn your bread” (Gen. 2:19). This comes from the biblical story of the creation and fall of humanity. If this is our view of work, then work may be seen as something to be avoided or at best tolerated for the sake of making a living. Work is something that requires direct supervision with the constant threat of dire consequences if we don’t fulfill our obligations.
Rather than viewing work as a divine penalty, our Catholic and Benedictine tradition focuses on the Scriptural passage of being created in the image and likeness of God. (Gen. 1:27) This view of the human person places the role of work as part the fulfillment of our humanity. We are co-creators with God in bringing about the fulfillment of our world and in the process we also bring about our own fulfillment. Work is seen as something that we partake in as being part of the divine plan for creation.
When discussing the topic of what we do for a living, it inevitably entails a discussion about vocation. James Buechner defines vocation as “where your deep gladness and the world’s deepest hunger meet.” Thus, there is both a personal and communal dimension to your vocational calling that is universal, holistic and on-going. In order for us to discern our vocation, there are some tools of discernment that help us know God’s will for us and how we can live with habits of discernment. Using these tools of discernment (handouts) we are able to make the larger life decisions which give us the big picture of our life or we can use tools that will allow us to make specific day-to-day decisions.
It is not always possible to have your life perfectly in balance. There is a natural tension between a personal life and a professional life that causes problems when trying to raise a family, maintain a marriage and keep a job. However, through the use of the tools of discernment, we are able to make the decisions in life that will enable us to lead a more balanced life.