As the oldest of three children in a single-parent family, I remember we struggled to cover the rent most months and still have enough for groceries. We moved so often that, by the time I reached middle school, I no longer bothered to put away the moving boxes in my closet. As a teenager I craved stability. So it surprised even me when, a few years after college, I willingly left a stable career with a cardboard box in my hands and tears in my eyes.

At age 25, I was enjoying the kind of security I had longed for. I had married my high-school sweetheart and was the youngest account manager at a marketing firm where I helped clients to tell their stories. Yet I sensed a pull down a different path. Instead of telling my clients’ stories, I thought, maybe God wants me to tell his story—the story of his in-breaking kingdom.

After much prayer and many conversations, my wife and I liquidated our retirement accounts, left our jobs, and moved 6,000 miles to England so I could study theology at Oxford University. I saw this education as a way to enrich my writing, to help others see the world through the lens of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. Yet even as I was confident that God had called me in this direction, part of me wondered what it even meant to be called.

Having spent the past few years writing about calling, I have realized I’m not alone.

Let Your Life Speak

My quest to understand calling began when I was an anxious college freshman. Reading Parker J. Palmer’s classic Let Your Life Speak, I was struck by his description of vocation: “something I can’t not do, for reasons I’m unable to explain to anyone else and don’t fully understand myself but that ...

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