Finding Your Calling

by - February 24, 2011

Earlier this week I wrote a blog post, deleted it, and then sent it to the women in my Community Group. It is embarrassing when you ask the same questions for years on end only to stay just as confused. This pursuit of finding our "calling" as it relates to the local church and God's work at large can seem impossible to nail down as our lives and circumstances are constantly in flux. As an undergrad I had a very different idea of what serving God looked like than I do now as a mother of two children with a part-time job.

Back in high school, my youth pastor Phil drew a diagram one Sunday morning that looked somewhat like a bulls eye. He described the outside circle as God's general will for all mankind - that they would love Him and obey His commands (one being to go and tell people about Him). The inner circle was described as God's specific will, which on occasion we might be called to. For instance, God sent Moses to Egypt. He explained that God loves us unconditionally, and as long as we were inside that outer circle, we were a-okay. We didn't have to have an approved agenda of how to spend each minute of our day. Pick what you enjoy. Really?

Here is a chunk of what I sent to my friends:

What does God expect from a stay-at-home mom with two little kids? Is it that God has more expectations of me right now, or am I just projecting and using religion to validate my own insecurities? I remember last time I brought up this topic (maybe on Facebook?) I got wonderful responses about how raising small children is exactly where I am supposed to be, but I keep hearing about normal people doing amazing things, and I’ve got to admit that it overwhelms me and makes me a little jealous, which is absolutely the wrong motivator to plugging in to a ministry somewhere. But seriously, how cool is starting up non-profits to help underprivileged or at-risk kids/orphans/etc. Any plugging in should derive from plugging into Jesus and being led in a direction. Any motivation I feel right now probably stems from envy, escapism, desires to make something of myself (disgusting I know, but at least I’m honest). Pastor Tyler keeps preaching on it, so I keep thinking about it.

It was so encouraging hearing back from them. Some were in the place as I, some felt pretty strongly that they knew their own calling, and some were in the process of figuring it all out. The common conclusion that we all seemed to come to is summed up by this verse:

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. - Colossians 3:17

This is our calling. What we do and what we say, no matter what that is, should be representative of the person Jesus Christ and done or spoken with grateful hearts. If I am struggling to find my calling, then perhaps there is an issue with one of two things: 1) I am disconnected from the person Jesus Christ or 2) I have an ungrateful heart. Personally, I don't feel the two can be mutually exclusive. If we know Jesus, really know him, we can't help but have gratitude.

I realize this doesn't answer the question of "What should I do?" but maybe the question of calling is not to be a question of action, but a question of being - at least when it comes to that outer circle mentioned earlier. I envy those who have found themselves in that inner circle for a time knowing exactly the tasks they are to complete, but the harsh reality is that if I am not willing to dwell in that outer circle where I am living out Colossians 3:17, how can I ever be available for God to bring me into that inner circle if He so chooses?

Just because I don't feel called to adopt a child right now, start up a new non-profit, or volunteer my time at a gospel-centered ministry does not mean that I have failed to answer God's calling unless He actually has told me to do one of those. And if others have been called to do those things, it does not mean God loves them more or is prouder of them. I am so disgusted by my comparative Christianity and the way I seem determined to evaluate myself on my own terms rather than His.

However, there is grace. There is always grace.

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  1. Comparing and my own competitiveness get me every time. You are so not alone -- thanks for writing.

  2. Beautiful and brave post. I often find it hard to be so self-revealing in blog posts, but this post shows just why it's so important. For me this is completely connecting to my own spiritual struggle: who am I and where am I going?

    It's hard to accept not only the process of growing into what you are, but also the fact that the ultimate goal is not some "perfect place," but an acceptance of God and yourself with that open, unselfish heart.

    I left non-profit work to spend more time with my son. Now I do freelance work on the side, and it helps me stay grounded but can also be overwhelming. Was it Kirkegaard who argued that life is not about making the "right" choice, but simply about the act of choosing? I just hope God helps me along the way. In the meantime, thanks for your wonderful thoughts.

  3. Thanks, Evelyn. I'm sure it was difficult going from something well-defined to something as ambiguous as motherhood!



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