What AI says about discovering your calling in life (and what the Bible says.)
What both artificial and natural intelligence misses about the search for purpose.
I asked an Artificial Intelligence bot this question: “How does someone discover their calling in life?” Using the vast resources of the Internet and advanced computing technology, here’s the collected and synthesized answer:
Discovering one's calling in life can be a challenging and often lifelong process. Here are some steps you can take to help you discover your calling:
Reflect on your interests: Think about what you enjoy doing, what you are passionate about, and what makes you feel fulfilled. Ask yourself what activities you would do even if you weren't paid to do them.
Consider your skills: Think about what skills you possess and enjoy using. Consider what comes naturally to you and what you have developed through experience.
Explore new areas: Sometimes, we may not know what we are passionate about until we try something new. Consider exploring new hobbies, taking courses, or volunteering in different areas to expand your horizons.
Listen to your inner voice: Pay attention to your intuition and what feels right for you. Often, our inner voice can guide us towards what we are truly meant to do.
Seek guidance: Talk to friends, family, or a mentor about your interests and passions. They may have insight or suggestions that you haven't considered.
Don't rush the process: Discovering your calling can take time, and it's okay to explore different paths before finding the right one.
Remember that your calling may evolve over time, and it's okay to make changes along the way. What's important is that you listen to yourself and pursue what makes you happy and fulfilled.
Hey, that’s pretty impressive for AI, isn’t it? Life coaches all over the world may be out of business! Yet the more I think about it, for the follower of Jesus, discovering your calling is actually much easier than this. It's the same for every believer:
Live your life to glorify God, share the Good News how grace rescued you, and make disciples of Jesus while you become more and more like Him.
That’s your calling.
That’s your journey.
What AI is telling you is not what journey to take, it’s telling you how to choose the car to use to make your journey. Does that make sense?
We can spend so much energy on which car to drive that we become either stranded walking from dealership to dealership (and thus never venturing out on our journey) or, worse, we make idols out of the cars we drive; we become all about our wheels and not where we’re going.
The sobering reality is this: we tend to gravitate towards our identity being wrapped up in what we drive instead of where we’re going and why we’re going there.
It’s why churches (and church leaders) can be more concerned with the traditions and preferences around church instead of the mission (journey) of the church. The calling of the church is not to be a building or an event production machine, nor is it to satisfy the preferences of the faithful. The church is to help people discover their calling; to become God-glorifying, Jesus-forming, sharers of the Good News of Grace. The vehicle for how that gets done is utilitarian; does the current make and model of your church accomplish this calling? If not, many times we are too scared to change the model because we feel sentimental to the vehicle. We remember how faithful the vehicle was when it was new and that can make change hard and the journey of our calling becomes tied to the vehicle we love.
Some might like fast cars, convertibles, luxury sedans, or off-road 4x4s. But if the journey is more important than the vehicle, that means we’ll be willing to swap vehicles when the knobby tires of the jeep are overkill for the high speeds of the freeway and the luxury ride of the Cadillac is no match for the bogs of the swamp. If getting to the destination is paramount, we’ll use planes, trains, and automobiles to get there.
This post is about a lot of things that overlap. It’s about personal calling and purpose. It’s about faith and vocational calling. It’s about missional living. It’s about how churches church (ecclesiology) and preferences get conflated with doctrine. Maybe most of all, it’s about whether a person and/or church is all about the Great Commission or just sorta about it.
The Apostle Paul, a trained religious scholar and Pharisee, was so journey/calling focused that one of his vocational vehicles for that journey was making tents. Tents were the vehicle.
Yet we tend to obsess over if we were meant for more than tents.
We want a nicer ride.
I’ll leave you with this carefully crafted question:
To what journey are you called?
Whatever that journey is, if the mission and destination are the goal, won’t you care less about the vehicle(s) that get you there?
For my Jesus-followers out there: how are you being distracted, discouraged, or paralyzed by your vehicle choice when you could be further along your journey by now if you had just jumped into the car (or tent) that God’s given you?
I would love to hear more about your journey and maybe your struggle with not making your calling be about your Cadillac, Jeep, or tent!
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