Calling… other than healing, no other topic causes more hand-wringing and furrowed brows among Christians. I’m privileged to pray for others “at the altar” at my church, and without fail direction, guidance – calling – is prayer request number one. I am a nobody and young in my faith, but I had a conversation with some amazing Christians on Sunday that motivated me to write. Others have great(er) insights you should consider, but I may as well share my 5 suggestions for discovering your calling.
#1 Take Courage and Remember God Loves You
Fear and love cannot co-exist, as they drive out one another. If we fear that God does not have the best in mind for us, we do not believe he loves us. If he does not love us, then we are truly without hope, and everything means nothing.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. ~ St. John
But God does love us. So take up courage and love to drive out fear. We needn’t be afraid that we have nothing to accomplish in this world, because God has destined us each to do something for him. We also needn’t fear failure, because failure is not an option. God is both cosmically sovereign and fiercely determined to see his will accomplished. As Paul said, God is faithful to his own will, and he will accomplish what he desires. The question is not whether we are able, God is the only able one, and the enabler of the willing… the question is whether we are the willing ones.
Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth? ~ Jesus
#2 Be a Part of the Body
Each of us is but a small part of a greater whole – the Christian is but a minor appendage in the Body of Christ. “How does my calling fit with the Church’s role in the world?,” we ought to ask ourselves. If we don’t yet know our calling, we can find channels of service to, within, and through the Church itself.
We can also easily find callings in the Scriptures. God speaks through Micah to sum up the role of mankind as justice, kindness and humility. Jesus signifies what a Christian is by welcoming those who visit the sick and imprisoned, and those who feed the hungry – and banishing those who refuse. If we don’t know what else to do, the Church and the Scriptures have guidance, leaving us without excuse.
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And [Jesus] said to [the lawyer], “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” ~ An exchange between a lawyer and Jesus, from the gospel according to St. Matthew
# 3 Become, then Do.
A wise friend, Angie, said this to me: our call is more about who we are than what we do. Few things are truer. Jesus could not have done all he did if he weren’t first who he was. What we do flows out of who we are.
Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved. ~ Jesus
God changed our nature from sinner to saint because though we may do things contrary to it, our nature will not change by what we do. The disconnect is our actions rarely line up with our intentions, as Paul famously explained in Romans 7. By faith, we must believe we are what God says we are, then act accordingly. We must act the part, even when we lack motivation, indeed even when we lack courage. Simply because I write doesn’t make me a writer. I am a writer because God says I am, no matter how poorly I perform the craft. But by consistent action in faithful reply to what God has said, what I am will become apparent to all, even to me.
#4 Pray, Then Act.
“I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. ~ an oracle from the prophet Jeremiah
On the other hand, true faith is risk-taking, so we must also pray, then act. As we are new creations in whom the Divine has made his home, we can and should follow our hearts. Are you willing to trust a loving God? Do you want to serve him and his Church? Then follow the heart God, clearly, has given you. Pray about it and seek good counsel, but don’t use these as excuses for laziness or to shirk responsibility. Pray, then act. God loves a risk-taker, because that’s who he is, and he loves to see himself reflected in his children.
#5 Ask God What His Dreams Are.
Let this last one be the first thing you do: dream God’s dreams. God has hopes to see all things reconciled to himself through his Son Jesus Christ. He knows not everyone, and not all things, will be reconciled. Some things will be destroyed in the fire.
But, in hope, God still sent his Son. He did this dreaming of a world where all would be reconciled. Jesus carried this same dream in his heart, believing it so strongly it carried him to death on the cross. If we are to be like Jesus, we too must dream the dreams of God.
Ask God, “What are you dreaming about?” I believe, as he did for me, that God will answer you specifically. God is so vast and deep, all we can handle of him is a miniscule part. But that part is more than enough. And that part he shows you will be his dream that he wants to reflect in and through you to the world. In this way, in part at least, I think we can walk as Jesus did.
May God help you by his Spirit to know the dreams of his heart, so you can walk in the peaceful knowledge that you’re his good and faithful servant.