identityI have been returning time and time again to one of my favorite books on the topic of identity and vocation, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation by Parker Palmer. I first read the book in 2002 when I was finishing up my M. Div. at Fuller Theological Seminary at it greatly impacted me and some of my friends. I have since read it over a couple of times and I’m about to finish it again. It is very powerful. It is a paradigm shifting book.

Parker Palmer makes the insightful comment that:

“True self (this is what Parker also refers to as the “imago dei” in us), when violated, will always resist us, sometimes at great cost, holding our lives in check until we honor its truth.” (pp. 4)

As we find ourselves in very different places in life (graduating from college, looking for jobs, looking for second careers, stuck in a career, struggling in a marriage, trying to overcome an addiction, trying to raise kids, etc.) we may find that our identity is being violated.

Palmer says:

“The deepest vocational question is not ‘What ought I to do with my life?’ It is the more elemental and demanding ‘Who am I? What is my nature?'”

This is something I have been thinking about, wondering if all of my indecisivness in life, especially around career and passion, is really the ‘imago dei’ God placed within me being violated. Bumping up against it…stumbling, until I finally find my way.

How do we know when we are in the right vocation? When do we know we have found our calling? How have you known when you violated your ‘true self’ or the ‘imago dei’ in you?