What brings you life, fuels your passion, gives you energy? What special talents or gifts have you been given that make the world a more beautiful, loving hopeful place in which to live? Internationally-known author, lecturer, and Benedictine sister, Joan Chittister encourages readers to consider these questions to lead us to happiness. “When we finally take that first step toward being honest about what we ourselves really believe, really want to do, really enjoy most, are really most committed to doing for others—and do it—we become a person who is a gift to the rest of the human race” (pg. 99).
Following the Path: The Search for a Life of Passion, Purpose, and Joy invites us to look at our God-given talents, our innate passions, and how using our gifts in order to help others. She explains how taking action using our talents to do something purposeful that helps others is what will lead us to having a genuinely satisfying life.
Another important message conveyed is that it’s never too late. Some people feel that they can’t possibly go in a completely new direction when it comes to their education, career, ministry, hobbies…, but Joan illustrates that simply isn’t true. Discovering our purpose and how we can use who we are and what we have to help others is a life-long process. We grow, learn more about ourselves, and how our strengths can be used to make life better for others.
Following your call rather than falling back on what you know and can do that will most likely lead to a life that’s successful in the world’s eyes certainly goes against the grain. It may very well baffle your family and friends, but it can bring more energy to your own life and inspire those you serve in ways only God could bring about.
At times there are so many hypothetical situations and scenarios considered, I felt that the potency of the main message became watered down in a sense. It may very well be that other readers find it helpful to have such a variety of examples of what a call is and how it can be lived out.
Following the Path serves as a good overview of what a call is, how to live it out, and why that purposeful activity leads to true happiness and fulfillment regardless of what stage of life and/or type of discernment you are in at present.