A Must-Read for This Year – Review of:
When God Calls: Listening, Hearing and Responding by Dianne Sealy-Skerritt (published by Melrose, February 2018, PB £14.99, HB £19.99)
by Dr Courtney Alexander Smith
Retired Government Economist and Author of The Wonderful You (Hansib Publications, 2016)
It is said that reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. If you are struggling to find your purpose, this book will help you to live the life you were created to have. No matter what stage you are at on your career path or life journey, the guidance and advice offered by Sealy-Skerritt will help you to fulfil your destiny.
The author brings to her writing the fruits of her vast experience and incredible gifts. Sealy-Skerritt’s passion for equality and justice, and her strong belief in the innate abilities of all people, is woven throughout the pages of her debut book. A retired Church of England equality and diversity adviser, senior social worker, and management development consultant; she has devoted some five decades of her life as a social justice campaigner for asylum-seekers, people with disabilities, LGBTs and other marginalised groups. Her clients included Nottinghamshire Constabulary with whom she worked on issues arising from the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry.
Although written from a spiritual perspective, this book falls squarely within the genre of personal development and self-help. Sealy-Skerritt makes no apology for referring to potential readers as “sons and daughters of God, created uniquely in God’s image and likeness” for a purpose and calling. Given popular misconceptions about God, the opening chapter discusses different notions about God and the case for God’s existence. This alone may be enough to give readers a light-bulb moment and value for their money. However, her discussion of a God-force within each of us is designed to lay the foundation for the main premise of the book, which is about finding your calling and living a purpose-driven life. The author demystifies the meaning of calling and provides practical guidance on how we can all discover it. She uses the metaphor of a “cosmic machine” to illustrate the point. God endows each of us with a unique set of gifts, which includes our personality and all of our experiences. Our duty is to use these gifts to serve others. In her own words, “Every one of us is a vital and distinct part of the ‘cosmic machine’ and the machine cannot function properly unless each of its parts function and serve its purpose”
As implied by the book’s sub-title, a key part of the process for finding your personal calling relies on “listening”, “hearing” and “responding” to your intuition. Citing Oprah Winfrey, she reminds readers that “[they] have to find what sparks a light in [them] so that [they] in [their] own way can illuminate the world.” With the aid of their Internal Guidance System (which functions in the same way as a Global Positioning System but is infinitely more intelligent and reliable), she demonstrates how we can solve the puzzle of our calling. The discovery techniques explored in the book include “the pray and listen technique”, “the passion technique”, “the secret fantasy technique”, “the humanitarian technique”, “the eulogy technique” and the “wound of wisdom technique”. Each of these techniques is illustrated with real life examples of people living purpose-driven lives, many of whom are drawn from the author’s community. The case studies showcase people from all walks of life and are designed to demonstrate that God’s call is inclusive. The book also offers tools and guidance that readers can use to navigate their call with confidence and courage in times of turmoil and setbacks. Chapter seven provides the clearest and most comprehensive guidance I have ever come across on resilience. It is packed with practical tools and advice for dealing with adversities and what she calls “call blockers” (i.e. toxic people who put obstacles in your way to sabotage your call). Each of the eight chapters is also equipped with transformational end-of-chapter discussion questions, designed to encourage readers to personally engage with the material.
Overall, this is an excellent book which will benefit anyone who wants to develop their spiritual awareness, build their resilience, fulfil their purpose and calling, and achieve extraordinary success in their life. Highly recommended – this book will guide you to lead a more fulfilling life at every level.