When talking about God’s calling on my life, I immediately think of Eric Liddell and what he said about his calling: “When I run, I feel God’s pleasure.” It is something that I look for in my own life. What kind of work have I done that I feel God being pleased at in my life? And what do I get good, honest pleasure out of? I feel this has a lot to do with our abilities. God made us the way we are for a reason, and unless we use our abilities, we will not be “running” in such a way that it feels so right and so glorifying to God.

Granted, we won’t use all our abilities all our lives. Even in my short life so far, I’ve used many of my different talents at different times. Sometimes I’ve used more than one at once. Sometimes just one stood out. And it’s not that my ideal occupation will fulfill all of my abilities. I think that would be quite impossible! Not that I have thousands of abilities, but my abilities are varied. I don’t, for example, see myself playing with children (a “skill” of mine) at the same time as helping foreign adults tackle basic English (another skill). Perhaps those two talents could coincide one day, but I see them more likely playing out at different times, or at least in different situations. And that is fine. It is not like we are called to just one area of life. Some may be. But I think that is really the exception.

Circumstances also have a lot to do with one’s calling. We can make our way in the world, but not as much as the American dream would lead us to believe. We are products of our families, our life situations, our financial situations (can we afford our next meal? how about college?), the people we meet, the place we live in, the education we get, etc. A lot of these things are out of our control, but they are not out of God’s control. He very often uses circumstances to shape us into who we are and what we do. Jobs are most often gotten through networking–through someone you know alerting you to a job that may be good for you; jobs are much less often gotten by searching an online database to find the ideal job you want. God uses people and situations to put us where he wants us to be.

Calling also has to do with where we are. What are our present responsibilities? Those are, without a doubt, our calling. God would never call a wife to forsake her husband and children to run after some other calling. God would not hold a prisoner’s present calling someplace outside of the jail cell (the prisoner’s present calling would be right there in the place he cannot escape from). Our places of responsibility are our calling. There is no question about that.

Do I have a pretty good idea of what God is calling me to the future?  No, I don’t, at least not in the distant future. Right now I believe he is calling me to teaching. Situations are pointing in that direction. Opportunities are likewise (this is one opportunity that went looking for me, rather than the other way around!). People around me seem to agree that it appears to be right for me. I feel it is right myself. And when I’ve done things in the past similar to teaching, it has felt so right. When I have instructed and helped others in the past, I have felt energized (a good indication), I have felt fulfilled, I have felt happy, and I have felt like I had a purpose. I can’t say this is my “permanent” calling because I have felt some of these things about other occupations (like graphic design and working with little kids), but it appears to be my calling right now. And my feelings on this matter are all through experience, other people’s counsel, my own feelings, and circumstances. Nothing supernatural. Although God can and does work supernaturally, I believe he most often speaks to us through the way things work out in the world and in our lives. After all, he is behind it all.

As for the rest of my future? Only God knows!

5 Comments

  1. I have been struggling lately with some very difficult decisions in my life. But it has come to the point when I’ve realized that God has my life planned out until the day I die (Psalm 139:16), and that I must trust Him in everything. As I wrote in my journal only a few minutes ago, “it really is true, that “there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” I have found that to be so true! No matter what I feel, even if I’m not sure what I feel and it’s all confusion, then I still have to trust You and obey You, and I know that You have a perfect plan for everything!”

  2. So true, my sisters!
    I’m the same, always wanting to have everything planned out years in advance… I have a habit of dreaming about the future and missing opportunities that go by me here. So much better to focus on the circumstances and decisions God has for us to make now

  3. Very good thoughts on the post. Sarah, your comment above is so true! I heard a good quote, and in rough form, the profesor said we’re “too often trying to gain the attributes of God we can’t have- like, omniscience- instead of the one’s God does want to work in us- like love, joy…” 🙂 That’s not an exact quote, but the gist of it! I’m too often trying to figure everything out for the future…and you’re right- often, if I stop striving and focus on what I should do now, that’s quite a bit easier!

  4. “As for the rest of my future? Only God knows!”

    I think those last, simple sentences have a lot of wisdom to them. Something I myself have learned only recently is that my previous angst came from wanting to know everything right now, even things I didn’t need to understand in order to make my next decision. What I realized is that, if I knew everything, I would then by definition be God. That’s not gonna happen. God didn’t limit our knowledge in order to force us not to worry, but so that we don’t have to! Like everything about the way we essentially are as human beings, our limitations are a blessing, not a curse.

    It is usually simple to know what I should do now. I worry unnecessarily when I am too focused on what is coming next.

  5. I haven’t heard that quote from Eric Liddell in so long! Thanks for sharing. I was blessed! 🙂

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