Stories get passed on through the generations for a reason, and that reason is often that they mirrror something in ourselves, at collective and individual levels. Beyond mirroring common issues, they also often suggest ways of working with and approaching them.
One of these stories is that of Jonah and the Whale, a story about our calling, what happens if we don’t answer it, and the redemption that comes through finally embracing and living our calling.
Jonah was called to prophesise, initially denied this calling, and was haunted by God – in the form of storms and being swallowed by a whale – until he finally changed his mind, at which point God now turns from showing his wrathful to his merciful face, making Jonah into one of the most effective prophets in the Bible.
This is a story about each of us.
What is my calling? I know what it is, even as I try to deny it.
Why do I avoid my calling? Does it look different from my image of myself? Is it too different from my expectations of myself and my life?
In what ways do I avoid my calling?
What are the consequences of avoiding it?
At what point do I have no choice but to embrace and live it? At which point is the pain of avoiding it greater than my reasons for avoiding it? At which point is my resistance broken down?
And finally, what is the gift of this whole process? In what way is it enriching and nurishing my calling, when I finally embrace it?