What is Your “Calling”?
I arrived home and ran over to the table, seeing my new shipment of books had arrived. Andy Stanley’s newest book, Deep and Wide, was inside the package. I started reading.
By chapter two, I was crying. We’ll save that story for another blog post—it’s a hard back story to tell and when I write the post, I’ll stress out all day that you know so much about me. And Michael will continue to remind me I’m listening to God and doing what He’s asked me/called me to do: WRITE.
Andy mentions briefly that while he was in college many of his friends felt “called” into ministry. He waited and waited for God to tell him his ‘calling’, but never heard anything. He wanted to go into ministry, thought he had the gifts and skills to do a great job as a pastor, but what exactly was God’s say in the matter? After some time, he asked his dad,
“Does a person have to be ‘called’ into ministry, or can he just volunteer?”
I love that even Andy Stanley wasn’t clear from the beginning how God wanted to use him. Now, if you know a thing or two about Stanley—he’s ‘successful’ in pastor terms. Each Sunday more than 33,000 people attend in addition to the 15,000 people who attend one of the partner churches he planted. Some of his messages have altered the course of my life. Impressive from someone who God didn’t speak too clearly at the beginning.
I started wondering about this phrase we as Christians like to throw around, “What are you called to do?” I talked with a friend recently and she was a little distraught because she’d been asking God consistently how He wanted to use her, what He wanted her to do with her life, along with another host of good questions—but felt completely directionless. She was a new Christian and wanted to serve God with her gifts & talents, not “waste her life” as Piper would say, but all her prayers seem to go unanswered.
A few questions I’ve asked (and maybe you’ve asked, too):
- Is a ministry job a higher calling than a corporate one?
- Does God call people to do things that fit within their skill set to a certain extent or something that doesn’t come as naturally so we learn rely on Him?
- If I go down a career path or pursue a hobby on the side of my 9-5 (writing, singing, speaking, etc.)—and I am unsuccessful—does that mean I misheard God?
- Does everyone have one ‘calling’? Can it change over time?
I’ve been a missionary and now I’m a book marketer. In certain periods of my life, I told someone about the love of Jesus every.single.day and in other times, I went a year without sharing. I was let go from my mission’s team (i.e. they didn’t think I was qualified), so I’ve been called to do pursue paths that seemed like I misheard God…but then this happened. If you asked me three years ago what I was called to do with my life? I would have responded, “make Jesus real to the lives of hurting women in China”. Today?
My “calling” is to use allow the healing power of Christ to flow through my writing into the lives and relationships of hurting, broken women.
What God wants for your life will look differently for every one of you. The Bible is full of examples of men and women who contradict any definitive statements about what God is and isn’t leading your life.
Ask yourself, “What am I most afraid God will call me to do?” to sort through any fear you may have about stepping into the next stage of your story. Then ask, “How can I serve in a way that no one else can?” God has a unique story to tell through your life—that can’t be told through anyone else’s. Over time, if your answer still isn’t clear choose what you believe in your heart is a great path and just volunteer.
Have you had trouble discerning what God has called you to do? If you know, what did that process look like?
Helpful books on finding your place in God’s story:
- To Be Told: God Invites You to Coauthor Your Future by Dan Allender
- Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God by Mark Batterson
If you liked this post, you may also like:
- Six Common Misconceptions about God’s Will
- Should you settle for Mr. Good Enough?
- Morality, the American Dream, & the Life You’ve Always Wanted
- 10 Reasons He’s Not Calling You