Question: Being Called To Something, Or Not

Anonymous asked:

How am I supposed to know when I’m being “called” to something? It doesn’t seem that God calls me to anything, I just work with hit and miss. Is that wrong?


Please first allow me the grace to point you to two prior posts —

– Four Thoughts About Finding God’s Will

– No Purpose? No Problem

To answer you more specifically: You are totally okay to try everything until you find something. You don’t have to figure out your life in a day, and certainly not in a couple moments of prayer.

There are some people who figure themselves out “faster,” but we get suffocated when we try to compare how we bloom. I meet too many college students in a culture of “glancing sideways,” from the microcosm of hours put into studying for an exam to the macrocosm of portfolios and resumes and employment opportunities. It’s all a desperate cutthroat race and I completely understand it: but you’ll do a disservice to yourself if you look at others to define your “rate of speed.”

We cannot take our cue of God’s calling from a culture of comparison. I’m reminded of Jesus here: Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto you …


I do believe every single person is uniquely wired by God to do something passionately awesome — but I want to be careful that we don’t romanticize the term “calling” as some kind of all-fulfilling, happily-ever-after, super-satisfying career. Only God can be all that. We can’t expect a line of work to suddenly click into place, and while you will find something that will excite you, let’s not put all our chips there.

To be clear: The purpose of your life is not the purpose of your life. In other words, it’s important to know your calling and career, but it’s more important that you use your one life to glorify God with your hands and heart and to simply enjoy the work that God has given you — because that’s our real purpose.

You already know how this works. Millionaires can be miserable and blue-collar guys can be exuberant. That’s probably a cliche (and I guess it’s nice to be a millionaire), but putting all hope in a career can kill your soul. Plus if you spend your whole brain philosophically prying the notion of your calling — Why can’t I be happy? Is this finally it? Is there more than this 9 to 5? — you might starve to death while scratching your head.

Find something and start. Please don’t wait around expecting a neon sign from God. The time will pass anyway, so get on it. Pace yourself — you’re not trying to prove anything to anyone. And if it’s not a right fit, have the courage to say no and move on.

I’ve said this before, but an effective way to find a calling is: Find a need ==> Serve the need. Pray hard about it. See how God opens doors. Somewhere along the way, God will open a door that felt closed, and you will find something that requires hard work but doesn’t quite feel like it. Looking back at my own direction, I never could’ve guessed I would be a pastor/blogger/martial-artist, but then I “knew” all along.


A last word here: You also don’t have to measure your calling in terms of wow-ability. Maybe a hospital janitor or a retail cashier don’t think they’re superbly skilled, but dang it, God calls us to glorify Him passionately in every sphere of life. Whether you end up being a doctor or video game designer or tent-maker, get at that all the way, and be faithful to what God has entrusted you.

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

— Martin Luther King, Jr



6 thoughts on “Question: Being Called To Something, Or Not

  1. Amen J.S. I have tried everything in the church (including toilet cleaner chief vaccuumer). On the journey I found what I was gifted at and what I wasn’t gifted at and the gifting I have found is the calling.


  2. Exactly. Love the “our purpose is not our purpose”. It’s all about God.
    If I’d had to pick a “calling” at age 18-22, I’d be a full-time piano teacher. It took another 15 years for God to expand my sphere to something “that requires hard work but doesn’t quite feel like it” beyond caring for my family (a calling in itself).
    Well put.


    1. Yes, I all too often see the idea of calling become almost as imprisoning as “soulmate,” and it causes a harsh disillusionment when “life purpose” doesn’t turn out to be the answer to everything.


  3. Just stopping by to tell you how much I appreciated this post. I am a ‘slow grower’ who doesn’t have an inkling what God wants me to do in my life – and I am 59 years old and have been walking with Him for 31 years. I am; however, 33 years sober and I have one girl I’m supporting in her sobriety. That’s a calling.
    Abraham and Sara waited 40 years for God to fulfill His promise to them, so I guess 59 years is ok to wait. Also, Abraham and Sara NEVER saw their single child number his family into ‘as many stars as there are in the sky.’ So I may never know the impact I’ve had on others in my sphere… until I leave this earth and enter heaven.


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