Archangel Radio. I forget what program it was, but I heard Dick Lyles being interviewed and discussing his book, Answer Your Call. It sounded intriguing to me, so I knew I had to get in touch with Franciscan Media and see if I could get a copy. Thankfully, they obliged. Here are my thoughts on said book.
With the tagline of "Reclaim God's Purpose for Faith, Family, and Work," Answer Your Call is a both a call-to-arms and a self-help book for the Catholic person. This book is divided into three parts, which include six ways we lose sight of God's Presence in our lives; four ways we lose touch with our God-given gifts; and how to reconnect in our faith life, family life, and work life. The reader is urged not to skip ahead to part three, as the first two parts are designed to "remove blinders and influences that may have constrained you in the past."
I will be honest when I say that I felt the first part of the book dragged while reading it. Luckily, it was only 26 pages, or else I would have been tempted to skip ahead against the authors' wishes. The second part, however, hit home with me. I could definitely see how influence from others, education, path-determinate choices, and stagnation led me to losing touch with some of my natural gifts. It definitely made me feel even stronger about homeschooling our children. I want to encourage their individual gifts and not turn them into cookie-cutter people who pursue education that results in merely financial fulfillment.
Part Three was easily my favorite part, and I'm sure most people reading this book would agree. There is a ton of information and useful graphical representations. For example, there are Venn diagrams showing the three components that make up human perfection - our life, our natural gifts, and God's graces. In one graph he shows how little overlap between the three is, but he then explains that ideal integration should be a complete overlap. That's hard to accomplish, but it is truly a worthwhile goal. There are other such diagrams that show what make up our natural gifts and God's graces.
For me, the most beneficial, eye-opening, and humbling sections were the three self-audits of faith, family, and purpose. A list is given to you in each of the three categories, and you then check whether you are "excellent" or "could improve" with each aspect. Believe me, there were very few boxes I checked "excellent" on. That was disappointing, but at the same time it means that I now have clear and tangible aspects in my life to improve. Overall, I would give this book 5 stars. It is definitely a book I would recommend to high school graduates, college graduates, people starting their career, people burnt out in their career, or anyone looking to answer God's call for their life.
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