We usually think about our vocation as our career. We talk about it in terms of the future. We discern it in light of our gifts.

But Kate Harris, executive director of The Washington Institute for Faith, Vocation, and Culture, wants to change how we think about vocation. Since “vocation” is derived from the Latin word vox, which means “voice” or “vocal,” she says, we should think about it as “one’s entire life lived in response to God’s voice or call.” It’s more about who we are (identity) and whose we are (belonging) than about what we do.

Instead of thinking narrowly about our vocation as career or title or role, we should think more comprehensively, as “a steady and unique arterial pulse that gives shape to all different kinds of encounters.” Rather than talking about it in terms of the future, we should focus on the present moment, where constraints “aren’t impediments, but the point.” Finally, although “vocation certainly draws from our skills and abilities, more often than not, it has its origins in our griefs.” For example, “it’s the recovered addict who goes into counseling to help others or the strategist who suffered some pain of disorientation and now wants to make coherent sense of things or the child of divorce who wants to build a strong family and marriage.”

How does vocation reflect the Trinity, the creation, the incarnation, and the death and resurrection of Christ? Watch this 18-minute video to discover more.