I dare you to move
Like today never happened
Today never happened before
The tension is here
Tension is here
Between who you are and who you could be
Between how it is and how it should be
These are the lyrics from one of my favorite songs called “Dare You To Move” by the pop-rock band Switchfoot. The song is about the common human quest for finding purpose and meaning in life, but what I find so intriguing about it is that instead of emphasizing the search and dilemma, it emphasizes action—moving. We could all spend our whole lives searching for meaning only to find that at the end we have no answers. Or, as Switchfoot suggests, we could just dare ourselves to move.
Move. Not knowing one hundred percent if we are on the right path.
Move. In spite of our insecurities and doubts.
Move. Even if we stumble or fall.
You see, Switchfoot reminds me that finding my calling isn’t something I put my life on hold for in order to discover.
Recently I watched a video interview with Jon Foreman, the lead singer of Switchfoot, that got me thinking again about what it means to find and have a calling in life, particularly as a musician. Here are some of the things I learned:
Our calling isn’t a fixed, permanent answer to our lives.
Although I might wishfully envision that one day I will have an “aha” moment that will totally reassure me that I’ve found my ultimate purpose in life, I don’t think that’s how life works. What’s more, I’ve come to realize that I probably don’t have one, ultimate purpose or fixed calling in life.
Just as life has different seasons and phases, maybe our calling changes depending on our present circumstances. As a musician, the songs and ideas I feel compelled to communicate may change. And that isn’t a bad thing. Because people’s needs change over a lifetime, it makes sense that our calling would change to address those unique needs around us.
Our calling doesn’t fit into a neat little categorical box.
Earlier, I wrote about some of my struggles identifying myself as a Christian artist and what exactly that means. What I’m coming to realize now is that labels are imperfect and I wish we could get rid of them. Although society likes having tests to help people find their strengths, personality, and purpose, I think the labels we come up with actually hinder creativity and possibility.
Labels inherently make me think I have to fit a certain definition, conform to what others within my particular label-group are doing, or think certain things of others in differently labeled groups. It’s much more freeing to not label a calling—just dare yourself to move. As a musician, I can compose unhindered from labels and expectations of what the next song or album should sound like.
Our calling won’t end the battle between belief and doubt.
Just as our calling changes throughout life, our belief and doubt in ourselves, our callings, and God will ebb and flow. And that’s alright. Although I may long for an answer I can latch onto, doubt will always be an option. Growing and learning is what allows us to fail, make mistakes, change our minds, and find truths. Without growth, there would be little meaning to our faith and belief.
I like knowing there’s no once-and-for-all calling I must find. I can focus on the present moment, the present ideas I want to communicate through music. I can move in spite of insecurities and doubts. I can grow.
Do you feel pressured to find your calling? What are your thoughts or experiences in the quest of finding a calling?