Embrace & Encounter

Resources for ​Growing Deeper in Your Calling

The Stories We Live: Finding God’s Calling All around Us

Kathleen A. Cahalan
Wm. B Eerdmans, 2017
“Christian vocation,” says Kathleen Cahalan, “is about connecting our stories with God’s story.” In The Stories We Live Cahalan rejuvenates and transforms vocation from a static concept to a living, dynamic reality. Incorporating biblical texts, her own experience, and the personal stories of others, Cahalan discusses how each of us is called by God, to follow, as we are, from grief, for service, in suffering, through others, within God. Readers of this book will discover an exciting new vocabulary of vocation and find a fresh vision for God’s calling in their lives.

The Stories We Live Introduction – Kathleen A. Cahalan

Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life

Bill Burnett and Dave Evans
Alfred Knopf, 2018
In this book, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans show us how design thinking can help us create a life that is both meaningful and fulfilling, regardless of who or where we are, what we do or have done for a living, or how young or old we are. The same design thinking responsible for amazing technology, products, and spaces can be used to design and build your career and your life, a life of fulfillment and joy, constantly creative and productive, one that always holds the possibility of surprise.

The Designing Your Life Workbook: A Framework for Building a Life You Can Thrive

Bill Burnett and Dave Evans
Clarkson Potter, 2018
This notebook allows you to dig deeper into your curiosities, motivations, and skills; define your goals; and track your progress. Work through innovative option-generating tools and exercises, including:

  • A Health/Work/Play/Love Dashboard tool to reflect on your work/life balance
  • Questions to help you articulate your Lifeview and Workview and define your life design Compass
  • Good Time Journal pages to log your energy and engagement throughout the day
  • Fold-out dotted paper for mind mapping to generate new ideas and getting unstuck
  • Worksheets to help you ideate alternate Odyssey Plans for different versions of the future you
  • Charts for tracking your Life Design Interviews

Designing Your Life TedxStanford Presentation – Bill Burnett

Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

Parker Palmer
Jossey-Bass, 2000

With wisdom, compassion, and gentle humor, Parker J. Palmer invites us to listen to the inner teacher and follow its leadings toward a sense of meaning and purpose. Telling stories from his own life and the lives of others who have made a difference, he shares insights gained from darkness and depression as well as fulfillment and joy, illuminating a pathway toward vocation for all who seek the true calling of their lives.

The Seamless Life: A Tapestry of Love and Learning, Worship and Work

Steven Garber
IVP Books, 2020
We all want to make sense of life, of who we are and why we are, and to know that what we do—day in and day out—matters. But the daily demands—work, eat, sleep, repeat—often lead to a life that feels void of meaning and disjointed from our deepest beliefs about faith, hope, and love. Steven Garber challenges us to move beyond our fragmented sense of reality and began to see all we are and all we do—our work, our play, our relationships, our worship, our loves—as significant to God and to what God is doing in the world. Once we discover that there is no chasm between heaven and earth, and begin to see the truest truths of the universe woven into the very meaning of life, labor, learning and liturgy, we are able to understand the coherence of the work of God and of our lives in the world. This is the seamless life—to recognize the hand of God and the handiwork of God right in the middle of our ordinary lives. To see all of life as sacred. And to understand that it all matters.

Sustaining the Spirit: Callings, Commitments, & Vocational Challenges

Catherine Cronin Carotta and Michael Carotta
Twenty-Third Publications, 2005

Sustaining the Spirit offers fresh insights into the meaning and reality of vocation. Traditionally, a vocation has been understood to be related to one’s life’s work. In this book, however, readers will discover how vocation expands far beyond work to encompass the essence, purpose, and direction of each individual life. Real-life anecdotes, original study, and down-to- earth points for reflection shed light on finding one’s true vocation in life through callings, commitments, and challenges. Each of these elements is thoughtfully examined, with a view to practical application for life and greater sensitivity to the guidance of the Spirit.

Consider Your Calling: Six Questions for Discerning Your Vocation

Gordon T. Smith
IVP Books, 2016

Who are you? What is your stage of life? What are your life circumstances? What is the cross you will have to bear? What are you afraid of? We ask these six critical questions—and then we ask them again—at points of transition in our lives. They all lead us to the one core question: What is the good work to which I am called? Gordon T. Smith, writes: “It is a good question because our work matters to us, to others and, of course, it matters to God. Work itself is good. It is vital to our human identity; and we are most ourselves, most who God calls us to be, living in what it means to know the salvation of God, when we know the grace of work well done.”

Your Vocational Credo: Practical Steps to Discover Your Unique Purpose

Deborah Koehn Loyd
IVP Books, 2015.

Vocational coach Deborah Koehn Loyd believes that every person has a voice that must be heard and expressed through vocation. She walks you through a transformational journey of creating your own vocational credo so that you can be a world-changer in the way God has intended. You’ll discover: the true meaning of vocation, how to redeem past pains in your life, your personal vocational preferences, and a unique plan for your life’s work. Using unique tools and practical guidance combined with inspiring stories of personal transformation, this workbook will provide you with the resources to find your credo and accomplish the work God has designed just for you.

Live Your Calling: A Practical Guide to Finding and Fulfilling Your Mission in Life

Kevin Brennfleck and Kay Marie Brennfleck
Jossey-Bass, 2005

An action-plan for self-fulfillment that helps people find their true calling in life This practical and inspirational guide helps Christian men and women of all ages identify and use their God-given gifts to find purpose, direction, and joy in their life and work. Based on their years of counseling and experience, Kevin and Kay Marie Brennfleck offer action-oriented tools and a proven methodology to help readers develop the decision-making skills they need to discover and live the life that God intended, maximizing the synergies between ministry, work, and spiritual gifts.