Called To Be Who We Are: a book review

Here is a book I’ve read cover-to-cover but am not done with yet: Your Vocational Credo by Deborah Koehn Loyd. In the past couple of weeks I resigned from a position I held for just short of a year and I am taking the time to reflect on my shape and life purpose as I discern next steps. Loyd’s book has been useful as I try to find a new place to serve in my passion. Loyd, is a church planter, pastor, teacher and professor at George Fox  and wrote Vocational Credo to help others distill their calling by composing a ‘vocational credo.’ A Vocational Credo is a short statement which describes what what we were put on earth to do.

Loyd wants to enlarge our idea of vocation from thinking of it as a call to particular location, what we get paid to do, a super spiritual breath of God type experience or a non-specific generic view(39-40). Instead she argues, “Vocation is speaking or living from the truest form of self. Vocation doesn’t merely happen to us from the outside in a blinding light from heaven or an official ‘call’ from God. That sweet spot of significance suited only to you must be discovered from the inside as well.  A thorough inner exploration is necessary because it will allow you to bring your most energized and creative self into the future. It will ignite passion in your soul that is specific to you. When passion collides with God-given opportunity, you have the elements of vocation and the power to change the world” (18-19).

So Vocational Credo involves inner work, so that we can serve God as our true selves. Loyd shares her own discovery of her calling as she probed the depths of past painful experience, her values, and how her passion, anger, joy revealed the particular way God called her to bring healing in the world. She invites us to take a similar sort of journey by creating a personal ‘vocational triangle’ reflecting on how our ‘first wound’ sets the trajectory of our calling, our personal values (which may be revealed to us through a favorite book or quote) and the way our shape allows us to respond to the needs of the world around us. By paying attention we can craft our credo: God created me to _________________ so that __________________.

Loyd also offers practical reflections and insights about  ‘toxic skills’ (things we can do well  or need to do but feel drained by), the gift of opportunity in chaos and change, how to discover our personal vocational preferences, and leaving a legacy as part of our calling.

This book proves to be a practical tool for leaning into everything God wants to do through you. My undone-ness with it  means it has alerted me to some inner-work I still need to do. For example, Loyd is poetic about the way pain sets the trajectory of  our calling and she shares vulnerably about how her childhood experience of abuse silenced her voice. As she worked through the trauma of those experiences, she saw ways that the things that broke her aroused anger toward injustice and suffering which offered clues to her discovering her true self. I have spent some time in reflecting on how pain has shaped my journey and can point to some hurtful moments, but I don’t have a clear sense of how my ‘first wound’ shapes my life passion and purpose. I agree it does, but I have more work to do.

So I’ve read and commend this book as a tool for self reflection and discernment but I haven’t composed my vocational credo (to my satisfaction) yet. I give this four stars.

Note: I received this book from InterVarsity Press in exchange for my honest review.

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I am a pastor, husband, father, instigator, pray-er, hoper, writer, trouble-maker, peacemaker, and friend. Who are you?

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