*This post can be read in about 2 minutes.*
I’ve noticed that some faith traditions are big on using the words: calling or called. “I am called to ______.” “The Lord has called me to ministry.” This type of wording is not something that was common in my background, but that does not mean people weren’t being used by God in various ministries!
Certainly we can see examples in Scripture of people called by God for a specific work or purpose. I think people today can sense a genuine call from God for a specific ministry.
However, what if you have never really felt called for something specific? Are you deaf to God’s voice? I don’t think so, necessarily.
Being “called” or having a “calling” isn’t how things have worked for me. Rather I’ve taken one step at a time, not quite sure where I was headed, but doing what I could in the present…and I have ended up somewhere. God has taken me places I never would have imagined on my own!
At times I felt frustrated that I did not know what my “end” or goal was, but I simply pursued things in the present that matched the gifts the Lord has given me. It has worked out. When I’ve done what I could, it led to other things, and clarification about what to do next. Of course, that wording makes it sound a bit too tidy! There are times of uncertainty, waiting, frustration, obscurity.
While God did not light my path all the way to the end, he gave me enough light for my next steps, and was with me when the path seemed to darken a bit. Remember, God promises in Scripture to never leave us or forsake us.
Emphasizing again that people can have a genuine call from God, I also think this “calling” approach can go wrong. Thinking we must have a specific call:
We can force something that isn’t really what God intends for us.
Sinful motives can cloud our judgment. We can be self-deceived.
We can desire things for the wrong reasons.
Maybe some humility is in order? Even if you do sense a call from God, might it not be better to word it something like:
“I think God is calling me to _______. I am going to begin taking steps in this direction and see what happens.”
We may indeed sense that God has a specific end goal for us, but focusing on the end (which could be quite far away!) may distract us from the present. What we are doing today influences the person we will be in the future! You may end up not ready or not mature enough for God’s eventual task for your life if you squander the here-and-now.
For that matter, God may not reveal his call to you until he sees you living for him now. If you can’t be trusted with little things, can you be trusted with big things? And remember that God has a way of reversing our expectations; things that seem insignificant are actually significant.
The road to somewhere can be long, difficult, challenging. If we take shortcuts, if we look for ways to jump to the end…we may flop! Of course, as Christians, God can still use flops! Hopefully it humbles us, helps us learn spiritual lessons, and God picks us up and re-directs us.
So…those were some thoughts on calling. Maybe they were helpful or gave you food for thought?