…I became a minister in accordance with the divine stewardship which was entrusted to me for you, to make the Word of God fully known… For this I labor, striving with all the superhuman energy which He so mightily enkindles and works within me. Colossians 1:25, 29 AMP
“Dear God, what am I really supposed to be doing?” About 3 years ago, this question started rolling around in my head and getting stuck in parts that I just couldn’t shake.
Suddenly it seemed like life was getting ‘real.’ As if there wasn’t any more time for just going through the motions, wondering if I was getting life right or if I was really fulfilling my purpose or using my potential. If I had a dream, it had better happen now!
It wasn’t like I didn’t have enough to do in life, I had plenty. More than enough, as a matter of fact. And all of them good things, really good things. But the question of whether or not they were the right things, the things I was called to crept in during the quiet times, occasionally even during the busy times, and most certainly during the exhausted times. It just wouldn’t go away.
As Christians, there are certain things we were all created for (to learn more, click here). And obedience in those areas first get us one step closer to discovering what God wants from us as individuals. But finding our individual purpose, or calling, in life seems to be one of the hardest things to do. Most of us seem to struggle with it well into adulthood if not our entire lives. But the fact of the matter is we often make finding our purpose in life much harder than it has to be.
Simply put, when it comes to callings, we’ve got some hang ups.
Quite often, if we’ve been earnestly seeking, we already know what to do deep in our hearts. But these hang ups, or misconceptions, keep us from courageously living out the life right in front of us and fulfilling the purposes we were ultimately designed for.
Your calling is not all about passion.
I know. Crazy, right? It goes against most everything we’re taught these days. In school, in church, in all the self helps, we’re taught to find our passion and pursue it. But the problem with passion is that it tends to run hot one minute and cold the next. And that can have 2 serious repercussions.
- We end up running from one good cause to the next. As passion wanes, we start to think, “well, maybe that wasn’t it” and start to look for the next thing that seems to stir us.
- We end up sitting around, letting time slip by, waiting for that one big cause or opportunity that is sure to wow us. And when we don’t really feel that way about anything, well…
Here’s the thing, we all know that our feelings lie. And feeling strongly about something and enjoying the actual work of that thing are two completely different things. As a result, it is much wiser to look towards your talents, skills, and abilities as sign posts that lead you to your calling than it is to look toward passion. Where do your talents lie? What special skills and abilities do you possess that are uniquely you? How can you use them to bless, encourage, or add value to the lives of those around you? (1 Peter 4:10)
The cool thing is that most people really enjoy using their talents and doing the things that they are good at. It feeds their soul to function in those areas. Now, how God might want you to use your talents might surprise you. So be ready and open to what He might have in mind. But one thing is for sure, you were given your abilities for a reason and that was so you could fulfill the purposes that were meant for you.
Don’t confuse your job with your calling.
It is quite possible that we need to be looking outside of the workplace for opportunities and areas in which to use our talents to serve others. For some people their job and their calling are the same thing, but for most of us they’re not.
Did you know that Paul was a tentmaker? Yep, even Paul had the need for a J.O.B. that put food on his table and provided him with the means to live. (Acts 18)
Simply put, when we think about calling, we need to stop thinking that it means looking for a job that is going to make us happy and fulfilled. The fact of the matter is that most of the time a job is simply a means to a necessary end and not the ‘be all, end all’ of our lives. Likewise, we should stop using it as our vehicle to fulfillment. If that’s what we are requiring from a job, then we might be asking our jobs to fill roles in our lives that they were not meant to fill.
That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t enjoy the work we do, but it also doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t commit to real work because we are holding out for “our calling” to show up.
Take heart though. Just because your calling is not you job, doesn’t mean that your calling doesn’t have a place within your job. Maybe the purpose your particular job and workplace at this moment is to equip you, mature you, or place you in position to minister to those around you in a way that no one else can. Everything has a benefit and can help you grow if you look at it as an opportunity to be what God has called you to be.
You don’t have to choose for the rest of your life.
Most of us feel quite intimidated by the thought of boldly stating that we are “called” to something. What if it doesn’t pan out? What if it turns out it wasn’t my thing. What if I have to go to Africa?? As a result, many times we default to making no decision at all, finding it easier to save ourselves for that elusive perfect ‘thing’ that is out there somewhere sure to come along sometime soon, but just not now.
Instead of getting overwhelmed about choosing for forever, the more practical choice might be to ask God, “What is your calling, or purpose, for me right now, this month, this year, this specific season of my life?”
It’s not that your calling really changes, but how you apply it or walk it out might, depending on who needs blessing around you and how, the areas in which you need to grow and sharpen your skills and what you need to learn spiritually, emotionally, and mentally for your next season and the next level of walking out God‘s purpose for your life.
To be sure, knowing your calling in life, that purpose you were created to fulfill, is not always easy, and many misconceptions we have about what qualifies as a calling or what a calling actually is can make it even harder. The truth is we were meant to fulfill thousands of little callings every single day as we interact with those around us. And God equipped us with the perfect abilities to get them done. Make no mistake, God did not mess up when he created you and gifted you with the specific abilities and talents you possess. Through honing your talents and gifts and using them in a way that brings honor to God, your life will have that significant and meaningful impact you’ve been searching for.