Called Out: Why I Traded Two Dream Jobs For A Life Of True Calling, by Paula Faris
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Bethany House. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
I have to admit that I did not find the author to be a particularly likable person in reading this book. She struck me as honest and sincere, and certainly as someone who I could respect and in some ways share her thirst for achievement and her struggles with impostor syndrome and in her passionate interest in her calling. Yet unlike many of the likely readers of this book I have not watched enough television in the decade to have ever seen her on Good Morning America or The View, unlike many of her former coworkers in both jobs. By and large the author strikes this reader as one of those hardworking and intense and overeager and also very beautiful women who struggle to achieve successful positions, alienate those who are close to them, and find themselves surprised and hurt because of the cattiness they get from other women they are in competition with. As a reader I was both able to identify with her anxiety and fears and insecurity as well as her dogged determination to be competent and well-prepared but also somewhat alienated by her lack of self-awareness of how not everyone may be a fan of this.
This book is a bit less than 200 pages and is divided into 12 chapters. The book begins in media res with a look at her exit interview with ABC as she left work after a disastrous year (recounted in more detail later on) (1). After that the author talks about her childhood and her drive for success as a way of giving her a sense of accomplishment (2). The author then looks at how her understanding of a calling was clarified by an interview she had with a spy (3) who also happened to be a devoted Christian and the children of missionaries. After that the author talks about her fear (4), how to cultivate desire (5), and how to move out of one’s comfort zone (6). After that the author talks about her feelings of impostor syndrome in New York (7), her trading of one identity for another (8), and how she sought to become a Mary from being a daughter of Martha (9). Finally, the book ends with chapters about her year of struggles that gave her a belated wake-up call (10), a discussion of faith and vocational calling (11), and her commitment to incremental change (12), after which there is an afterword by Max Lucado as well as acknowledgements and notes.
The importance of a calling is something that many Christians should understand better, and this book does a good job at bringing out the importance of knowing our God-given talents and abilities, our passions and curiosities, and the opportunities that we have to develop them. This book is more a personal memoir than it is a discussion of calling in general, although the author certainly uses the subject of calling to help frame her discussion of her background and personal and professional history. As someone who has been entirely ignorant of her body of work, including her Journeys of Faith podcast, this book gave me a lot of information about someone I saw as being especially similar to me, but not someone whose life I personally gravitated to or really cared all that much about. Most readers of this book will be more familiar with the author and will likely care about her as well. That said, I was greatly appreciative of her focus on professionalism, as it serves as a professional rebuke to so many of the hack partisan journalists who are in such proliferation in our present evil age, even if it did not win her many friends among her hack former co-hosts at The View.