How I figured out my calling
READ TIME: 10 MINUTES
Do you ever feel like the Christian world of “calling” and “purpose” is a world of haves and have-nots? Like some elite people have God-given purpose, and you’re just simply living a purposeless life?
Because I totally do!
In this post, I’ll share my calling and how I discerned it. I hope my story will help you TO SEEK GOD for His purpose for you.
It’s real — your purpose — and I don’t mean it in an ambiguous sense of “we should all glorify God”, but a specific calling in HOW to do that by honoring the specific gits, skills, and opportunities you have in your life…already. Not someday, but TODAY!
When I was young, I tried to take my own life, but God stopped me. In that moment, He told me He loved me, and that word "love" meant something I never knew before. It was as real as the air I breathe. It was a love that cried when I cried and danced when I triumphed. God's love meant something that no human love ever showed me.
As I spent more time with God through prayer, reading the Bible, and listening to His voice, He began to speak to me about my future. God told me to journal my feelings, the circumstances I was going through, and the victories and heartaches I experienced. He told me to do that because He would use my writing to reach millions of people for salvation & freedom.
But life didn't get easier until after it got harder. I began following God when I was 10 years old, but life circumstances made it a terribly difficult walk. The Enemy was trying to steal my passion and faith so I wouldn’t become who God was forming me to be. The Enemy wanted to stop my ministry before it began by squashing me as a baby Christian.
It's an interesting analogy that we often use in Christianity: the spiritual life compared to a physical life. When you begin walking with the Lord, you’re termed a "baby Christian". Similar to a physical baby, you just need to be held and comforted. You have no deep understanding of life. You just giggle and cry a lot randomly, and life feels like a tornado. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:
I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you weren’t ready for it.
But as I matured in faith and started making the tough decisions to leave behind the foolishness of my younger years, I started focusing more on becoming who I was meant to be, and that becoming stemmed from who I already am -- a child of God.
When I was young I questioned my value a lot. Because of my rough childhood, I had a hard time believing that I was loved by a perfect God and that He had a purpose for my life. I was like a baby who couldn't comprehend love yet. And later in my life, I was like a teenager who couldn't recognize God's discipline was coming from a place of love. When God asked me to turn away from sin and all the stupid stuff I was doing, it felt like he was depriving me of "fun", but as I matured I realized He had a richer life planned for me.
It’s the child He loves that God corrects; a father’s delight is behind all this.
Today, I don't question whether or not God really loves me. Just as an adult doesn't have to question whether or not his parents love him. (Hopefully not!) And just like an adult understands the daily discipline of brushing one’s teeth, I don't question God's daily disciplines for my spiritual life. These things bring me closer to Him and are accompanied by peace, abiding joy, patience, growing in faith — all the good stuff!
As I matured, I began diligently asking God to show me His purpose for my life. If life was just about being loved by Him, that was fine, but I instinctively sensed that He had deeper plans. Actually, we all do, right? Across all cultures and times, there’s a longing for every person to have purpose. In past cultures, purpose was usually quantified as jobs for men and for women purpose was found in mothering children. But today in our western world, talk about purpose is often about a vocation — a career with a virtuous mission.
During my early teens, God described a wild plan for my life. Things I couldn't imagine for myself (especially in the state I was in), including:
A worldwide ministry
NYT best-selling author
"You want me, God?"
Couldn't You choose someone who isn't so damaged? Someone who has led a cleaner life than I have? Someone with a milder temper, more self-control, better role-models, etc.? Wouldn't it be easier to call someone else into this type of vocation?
But God said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.'
1 Corinthians 12
One thing that I’ve noticed about some of my favorite Christian speakers is this: Their purpose was born out of pain.
God often calls us to minister to the people suffering through what we’ve been through, because we have pure compassion for them. There are a number of topics I DON’T talk about on this blog, and it’s not for lack of opinion, but a lack of empathy. Oftentimes (as an Enneagram Type 8 Challenger), I know exactly how to “fix problems”, but I’m not the right person to speak to it, because I can’t do it empathetically. That’s why you’ll see me speak the truth about sexual sin, but you won’t see my blog post of parenting tips.
God very often uses our redemption stories for His purpose of reconciling lost souls back to Him.
In Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us.
2 Corinthians 5
Seek + Find
'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'
This verse meant so much to me as a new believer. It was assurance that I wasn't an accident. Assurance that I was protected. Assurance that I didn't need to fear the future. In my childhood, that was EVERYTHING to me.
As I matured in faith, I found the next two verses to be just as vital as the first:
Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.
As the days after my toughest day melded into many years of following God, walking alongside Him every day, hearing His voice... I relied more on these verses. I relied on knowing that I will find God when I seek Him with all of my heart. Not part of my heart. Not just on Sundays. Not when it's easy and convenient and I totally agree with Him. When I seek God with ALL OF MY HEART, He reveals Himself to me.
My focus shifted from the newborn Christian, who just needed to know she’s loved, to learning how to seek His face and find His specific purpose for my life. I wanted to become all that He desired me to become and to do all that He created me to do.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
A call to belief
One of my favorite worship songs is by Bethel titled "King of My Heart". As I listened this morning, there was one line that seized my attention:
You're never gonna let me down
"You're never gonna let me down" is a challenge to really pray the audacious prayers that God has whispered into the depths of my heart. Singing those words is a call to belief. That doesn’t mean believing the minimum of what I need to merely survive, but believing the wildest dreams that He's placed in my heart: the calling, the ministry, the gifts that have to grow within me.
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.
See, in my prayer life I often fall back to "God, can You just do this one little thing?" "Can You jusssst give me _______?" Just enough. Not really anything to thrive on, but just enough to barely maintain a minimal life. Sometimes I pray like I don't want to ask for everything He's told me, because if He doesn't come through, He's "letting me down". Exactly opposite of the song I belted out this morning.
But His promises in Scripture are:
Now to Him who is able to do FAR MORE ABUNDANTLY than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be the glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
That sounds pretty big!
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
-big words from Jesus in John 10:10
God is practically begging us to ask for miracles! His glory is seen when weak, sinful people (like you & me) allow His power to do more than anyone would believe we could do on our own. To live a BEYOND kind of life. To believe that He is who He says He is and He can do what He says He can do!
He is +He can!
God speaks to each of his children to call forth purpose, but it’s up to us to seek Him to believe it! I’ll get more into hearing God’s voice about your life’s purpose in the next couple of blog posts, but for now…
Let’s take one step forward in having the audacity to believe what He’s already promised us as His children. Join me in declaring these prayers out loud.
Lord God, I believe I will see:
Your specific purpose for me fulfilled! (Psalm 138:8)
Broken hearts made new in Jesus' name (Psalm 147:3)
Surrounded by the righteous in Jesus' name (Psalm 142:7)
Disease healed in Jesus' name (Isaiah 53:5)
Enemies will scatter in Jesus' name (Psalm 68)
My marriage will thrive in Jesus' name (Ephesians 5:33)
Financial freedom & prosperity in Jesus' name (Proverbs 10:22)
God, strengthen my belief in You. I repent for often falling back into a lack of belief. I repent for ever asking You for just enough. Your Word says, "What kind of Father when asked for fish to eat gives His child a snake? How much more will Your Heavenly Father provide goodness to you, if you ask?" (Matthew 7) So Lord, I ask for extravagant belief. I ask that each day, You show me how to overcome disbelief and defeat the lies of the Enemy. Give me desire for the Word — the Sword — so I can see how you work in believers’ lives to fulfill specific purpose. I also ask that You strengthen my belief in Your specific calling on my life. Grow my passion & discipline to develop my gifts & talents. Most of all, focus my heart on You first, and let my calling grow out of the well of love with which You love me. I ask all this for myself and my friends reading this now. In Jesus' mighty name.