WHAT TRANSITION HAVE YOU
Find meaning and hope in the many significant life transitions you experience throughout life.
Welcome to All Called
We want to provide you with a companion on your journey to discover meaning and purpose in life. This is the ordinary way people like us come to understand our callings throughout our lives. Sometimes we discover our calling through experiences of joy and celebration, other times through difficulty, challenge, or loss. For many, by discovering their calling they come upon a much deeper meaning and purpose for their lives. They discover a loving, merciful, and gracious God who wants to accompany them on their life’s journey.
We invite you to explore calling through Life Transitions in three movements. Begin with the Enter & Experience videos and questions that introduce the possibility of finding a calling during your life transition. Move deeper through the Engage & Explore videos, reflections, and discernment questions that provide inspiration and guidance for discovering your calling. Be sure to take time for reflection with the song, Scripture verse, and prayer. Conclude by considering your next steps in Embrace and Encounter. We’ve listed a variety of next steps, including connecting to a faith community that can support you in discovering and living your calling today.
Enter & Experience
Find Meaning and Purpose in Significant Life Transitions
Transition and change is a natural part of life. We experience numerous transitions throughout our lives – getting married; becoming a new parent, becoming a parent of a child or teen or a young adult; becoming a grandparent, living as an empty nest family; starting or changing a career or job, retiring, becoming a caregiving, and many more.
Life transitions can be times of uncertainty, vulnerability, and instability, as well as times of great promise, opportunity and personal transformation. How can we find meaning and hope in the many significant life transitions we experience throughout life? Watch the stories of three people experiencing life transitions and what each one discovered.
Living into Young Adulthood
Becoming a Parent
Moving into Retirement
Engage & Explore
Find a New Calling in a Life Transition
Many life transitions are exciting and mark a new start, but they are also painful and difficult. Do you ever wonder why we feel sad at a graduation or a wedding? We celebrate a young person’s accomplishments at graduation, but the ceremony also marks an ending. Even when a young adult has secured work beyond high school or college, the unknowns of life loom ahead. Weddings are joyous, but they are also endings – the family as we’ve known it is changing. Another person is joining the clan; and not only does the new spouse become part of the extended family, but also the new spouse’s family. For the couple, being single ends; a lifelong commitment begins, and neither person knows on the wedding day what life together will become.
Have you retired or are you thinking about it? Retirement from full- or part-time work is a significant life transition. We know what is ending – the job title, identity, the paycheck, the daily routine of going to work, and the relationships – which is far more certain for many people than what the next step will be. Many retired adults will admit that they could not see a clear direction until they left behind full-time work and started into new forms of service, leisure, and meaningful work. (Kathleen Cahalan, Stories We Live)
Lauren struggled in her 20s with loss and uncertainty. Find out how she found new meaning and purpose in life.
When Peg retired from teaching, she struggled with identity loss. Find out how she put the pieces back together to find new meaning.
Reflecting on Your Life Transition
We all experience transitions throughout our lives – graduating school, entering young adulthood, starting a new career or job, getting married, becoming a parent or grandparent, entering the empty nest years, retiring, and much more.
What life transition are you experiencing now (or have you recently experienced)?
Take a moment to reflect on the experience of your current (or most recent) life transition using the questions. Find a family member, friend, or colleague to talk about your experience of the life transition using the reflection questions.
- What emotions are you feeling – excitement, anticipation, confusion, loss, grief?
- What’s ending? What’s being lost during this transition? What are you letting go of?
- Where on the bridge to your new life are you? What’s emerging? What does the shape of your new life look like?
- How have you found new meaning and purpose in life during this transition?
- What did you discover about yourself in the transition?
Discover a Calling in Your Life Transition
God is continually calling us to new life during our transitions. We may have thought that God calls people only once, for just one purpose. In reality, it is safe to say that God calls us many times throughout the seasons of our lives, and each call challenges us to stretch further than we might have anticipated or imagined.
How might you discover your calling during this life transition?
Watch the video, Discerning God’s Call, by Jennifer Haworth and then use the reflection questions below to help you discern God’s call during this time of life transition.
Discerning Your Call
Consider these three insights as you begin discerning how God is calling you through your life transition.
1. Pay attention to your daily experience and what it stirs within you.
In the stuff of everyday experience – your hopes, your fears, your dreams, your routines – God is at work, inviting you to notice what brings you joy, what you’re good at, and what others need you to do. Pay attention to where God is active in your life.
2. Reflect on what you notice, sorting and sifting in order to understand what is leading you to an abundant life and what is not.
Understanding develops through reflection, taking the time to see the patterns in your experience, and grasp their significance. While you can begin to notice and interpret God’s action in your life, if you want to hear deeply, see clearly, and choose wisely, trusted companions on the journey are essential.
3. Take loving action on what you have learned.
Discernment does not end with becoming aware of how your experiences are drawing you closer to or further away from God. You must eventually decide what you want to do with this knowledge. How will you act on what you’ve learned?
We grow into our distinctive callings if we are willing to become aware of God’s movement in our lives, to reflect on this movement prayerfully alone and with others, and to take loving action on what we have learned.
Questions for Discernment
In the midst of this transition, you can discover God’s calling emerge from your experience. Consider these three questions:
- What are you passionate about now? What gives you energy?
- What new gifts has God called forth in you? How will engage your abilities and talents fully?
- Where do you have the greatest opportunity to love others? How can your passion and gifts serve others? What opportunities do you see for yourself now?
It’s your answers to these three questions which will help you discern where God is calling you to expend your energies during this life transition.
Take Time for Reflection in Song, Scripture, and Prayer
In Song: Nothing to Fear – Porter’s Gate
For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord. (Jeremiah 29: 11-14a, NRSV)
God of Love,
You are with us in every transition and change.
As we enter into this new era with excitement and even some anxiety,
we recall your deep compassion, presence, and abounding love.
We thank you for the gifts, talents and skills with which you have blessed us.
We thank you for the experiences that have brought us to this moment.
We thank you for the work of others that gives breadth and depth to our own work.
Be with us as we move forward, rejoicing with you and supporting one another.
We ask this in your Holy Name.
(Joseph P. Shadle, JesuitResource.org)
In Daily Reflection
- Find a quiet space and arrange your body in a comfortable but upright position. Sit in silence for a few minutes and invite the Holy Spirit to be present with you and to quiet your spirit.
- Ask yourself, “For what moment today am I most grateful?” and “When did I feel most alive today?” Thank God for these blessings.
- Ask yourself, “For what moment today am I least grateful?” and “When did I feel life draining out of me today?” Pray for comfort and healing.
- Thank God for being present throughout your day, in good times and bad.
- Reflect on your examen experience. What did you notice while praying? What feelings surfaced and to what parts of your day were these feelings connected? Note patterns that emerge as you practice this over time.
Embrace & Encounter
We are hoping that you will continue your journey – growing deeper in your sense of calling and finding ways to live your calling in everyday life. We want to offer our encouragement and support – and a few ideas to help.
#1. Explore life transitions by reading Life is in the Transitions: Mastering Change at Any Age by Bruce Feiler (Penguin Press, 2020)
Bruce Feiler crisscrossed the country, collecting hundreds of life stories of Americans in all 50 states who’d been through major life changes—from losing jobs to losing loved ones; changing careers to changing relationships; getting sober to getting healthy to simply looking for a fresh start. He then spent a year coding these stories, identifying patterns and takeaways that can help all of us survive and thrive in times of change. Life Is in the Transitions introduces the fresh, illuminating vision of the nonlinear life, in which each of us faces dozens of disruptors. One in ten of those becomes what Feiler calls a lifequake, a massive change that leads to a life transition. The average length of these transition is five years. The upshot: We all spend half our lives in this unsettled state. The most exciting thing Feiler identified is a powerful new toolkit for navigating these pivotal times. He lays out specific strategies each of us can use to reimagine and rebuild our lives, often stronger than before.
#2. Engage in daily reflection and prayer.
Start using the Daily Reflection to conclude your day (at the end of Engage & Explore section). Try one or more of the following apps to incorporate prayer into your daily life.
3-Minute Retreats invite you to take a short prayer break right and spend some quiet time reflecting on a Scripture passage.
Pray As You Go is a daily prayer session, designed to go with you wherever you go, to help you pray whenever you find time, and lasting between ten and thirteen minutes with music, scripture and some questions for reflection.
Daily Prayer is an experiential app designed to develop long lasting spiritual rhythms of prayer and scripture reading. Join in prayer and read scripture in the morning, in the midday, in the evening, and/or in the late evening.
Abide is a Christian meditation app to stress less and sleep better. Find deep rest as you listen to stories based off the Bible. Wake up with the daily meditations that will fuel your mind for the day ahead.
Soulspace meditation app has been created to help anchor your thoughts to the love of God and the way of Jesus. Soulspace seeks to rid the soul of fear and stress while filling it with truth and life. This creates the opportunity for true and lasting wholeness.
#3. Have a conversation with a “calling companion.”
Find a significant trusted relationship – family member, friend, colleague – who can be your “calling companion.” Find time for a cup of coffee together or video chat. Share your story of discovering your calling through a life transition. Share your highs and lows, good days and difficult ones, in discovering and living your calling. Turn to your calling companion regularly for support and encouragement.
#4. Grow through reading about calling.
We have selected several books to deepen your understanding of calling and vocation. Each book offers practical ideas for living your calling now and into the future. Go to our Resource page for the description of each book.
- Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life – by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans
- Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation – by Parker Palmer
- The Seamless Life: A Tapestry of Love and Learning, Worship and Work – by Steven Garber
- Sustaining the Spirit: Callings, Commitments, & Vocational Challenges – by Catherine Cronin Carotta and Michael Carotta
- Consider Your Calling: Six Questions for Discerning Your Vocation – by Gordon T. Smith
- Your Vocational Credo: Practical Steps to Discover Your Unique Purpose – by Deborah Koehn Loyd
- Live Your Calling: A Practical Guide to Finding and Fulfilling Your Mission in Life – by Kevin Brennfleck and Kay Marie Brennfleck
#5. Find a support group for your life transition.
There are support groups in your community for many life transitions. Check out support groups sponsored by local religious congregations, community organizations, schools, etc. There are national organizations of support group for a variety of life situations, such as
Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS): www.mops.org,
City Dads Group: https://citydadsgroup.com,
and caregiver groups: AARP, and many more.
You can also find (and build) local support groups by using the MeetUp website and app to meet new people, learn new things, find support, and pursue your passions with others.
#6. Find support and encouragement in a local faith community.
We want to encourage you to consider connecting to a local faith community that can support you in discovering and living your calling today. Congregations are great places to find a course, attend a presentation, participate in a small group study or a support group, engage in service to the community and world, and, of course, worship with a community of people.
To make it easier to find a faith community in your area we have developed a list of churches with a link to their website so you can learn more about their ministries, and another link to what they are doing to support people in discovering and living their callings.
You find a welcome home in a faith community that wants to support you and help you live your calling at this time in life.