Deep Need, Deep Gladness, and…Deep Timing?


By Heather Bock

Are you tired of hearing about the election? Read ahead for a blog post that has nothing to do with politics, a post that changes the subject.

If you do want to read and think more about politics, here’s a post of mine that I wrote a month ago: No Election Fear.

Ok, on to something else:

I was 19, in college. I was taking Bible, French, and literature classes, all of which I loved with a passion, but I had no idea how I would use them after I graduated. A drama professor of mine quoted Frederick Buechner as saying, “Vocation is the place where our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.” I knew where to find the deep gladness, but how could I meet the world’s deep need with it?

That summer my church planned a trip to Croatia where the participants would teach conversational English to high school students and tell them about our relationship with Jesus. I loved mission trips, so I went and fell in love with teaching. I knew I had found my vocation.

However, at 19, I had a limited view of vocation. I thought it was the only major job I would ever have. Later, I took on the vocation of a cross country coach. I began an unpaid vocation four years after my first son was born—home school teacher. A few years ago, I added in writer (another vocation that may never make me any money). All of these vocations met a need and caused me gladness.

Then I moved to another state and had to combine three of my vocations: home school teaching, writing, and English teaching. All of a sudden, I became busier than I had ever been.

When I am able to come up for a little air during this tri-vocation time, I go for runs, and more than once I’ve seen the cross country team practicing on the campus near my house. I long to join them, and I can’t help but think about how cross country teams usually need extra volunteers—I could share some of my coaching expertise. In addition, my church is looking for a replacement designer and after seeing some of my work, asked if I wanted to apply. How fun would it be to help my church and learn more about design through the process? I’m on the prayer team and recently helped start a new adult Sunday school at my church, both of which meet a great need, but wouldn’t it be great if I also signed up to teach the children’s Sunday school? After all, I really enjoy teaching, and I’m sure they need help!

It has become increasingly obvious to me through all this that the quote I relied on in college is seriously lacking in one area. Yes, our vocation should give us deep gladness. Our vocation should definitely meet the world’s deep need. But it also needs to be pursued at the right time, and just as Solomon in Ecclesiastes wisely states, “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven” (Ecc. 3:1, NASB).

It’s not at all hard for me to decide I cannot coach cross country or design for my church right now. I’m simply too busy. However, every time I make a decision about whether I should do something, busy or not, I can’t just run it by the “deep gladness, deep need” test. God’s timing is critical as well. Sometimes we have to say no to a great need even when it is our love and talent.


5 thoughts on “Deep Need, Deep Gladness, and…Deep Timing?

  1. Everything you wrote resonates with me!! It’s hard to have eyes that see so many needs and a heart that delights in meeting needs. But there is a season for everything and I’m so, so thankful that this season gets to be about blessing our kids by teaching them at home. It’s hard to say no, and I often don’t do it enough, but it’s also very freeing to know that that a “no” may be a “yes” before I know it. The challenge is always to fully engage and embrace each season finding the good and joy in it without being distracted by the things we hope someday will come back around. I so get your longing to run with the cross-country team – but just going for a run is a luxury in itself anymore!!

    Love you, Heather!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rachel, thanks for commenting! You’re right–getting to run at all (and without injury) is amazing. It is helpful to remember that this is only a season, and that it’s a worthwhile season, too.


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