By Kimber Harrison
Nothing is quite as scary as the prospect of “missing your calling.” Before, when sons entered into their father’s professions and daughters married and started families, when doing what you wanted didn’t matter so much as doing what needed to be done, this wasn’t a problem. With the world more at our fingertips that at any point in history before—where the sky is no longer a limit—we have encountered a new issue. That is, we can be anybody, so who do we be?
I’ve heard sermons preached about following your passions and sermons about how your passions misguide you; about going on mission trips and not going on mission trips; fighting for the promotion and being happy with the job. It seems like there isn’t a clear answer as to what and who we are all supposed to be. We are more educated, with more opportunity, and yet we are more lost than ever. For the first time ever, more 18-34 year olds live with their parents than those who don’t. We may have the ability, but clearly we don’t have the direction.
The last thing I would claim to do is solve this riddle. But I do think we can find a balance between “following your heart” and “pulling up your boot straps.” A middle ground that hopefully reaches across denominations and tendencies, and pulls us all into a place where we can follow the Lord faithfully—in ALL he calls us to.
The fact of the matter is God doesn’t leave us hanging on what we are called to do—he makes it quite clear in fact. We are called to spread the gospel, act like Christ, love God and love our neighbors. He has spoken to us as loudly and clearly as one could hope; He literally wrote us a book. So, let’s stop pretending like he hasn’t given us direction. He has.
Before digging into what the next step of your life is going to be, take a minute and examine what you’ve done with the moment you’re in right now. In the job you hate, where you are unsatisfied and unhappy, who have you loved? Who have you shared Christ with? What kind of work have you been doing? In your classrooms and bus rides and school trips—who has seen the light of Jesus in you? As you experience normal life, God has called you to an extraordinary purpose, one full of wonder and vision. So maybe his plan for you is to go to Africa or Southeast Asia and work in orphanages and teach the locals Bible stories and save souls—what an amazing calling. But until that day when you are wondering through a jungle, what is your purpose right now?
Because truly, wherever you are, that’s where he’s called you.
I think we forget that God uses ordinary. That God makes miracles happen in the day-to-day grind. So don’t miss out on your extraordinary purpose because you wish it looked better on Instagram. Glorify God in all you do. God smiles down on us when we make our boss and co-workers look amazing through our work, when we treat people with love and kindness. When you do that, I think you’ll find a purpose that is grander than you could imagine. Stop looking for the burning bush when he’s put in front of you so many people who don’t love Jesus—people who need a miracle through you. In some ways, God has made YOU the burning bush, placed right in the middle of an ordinary field.
I think so much of this issue is wrapped up in us wanting to be remarkable. We want to change the world and have our names in history books. Our egos get in the way of our calling more often than not. We like to flatter ourselves and think that there is something we could do to get in the way of God’s plan. As if he’s tied up in us alone, as if he couldn’t do it without us. God chooses to use you for you. Because it is an amazing gift to be welcomed along on this journey, and he is a loving and gracious God—not because he needs us.
And so, if you’re battling over which college God wants you to go to, or what job he wants you to take, I’d offer a three-step program for decision making.
- Consult the Bible. Does it comment directly on the issue? If so, then there’s your answer. If not, then…
- Consult wisdom. Is this a stupid decision? If no comment, then move forward to step three.
- DO WHAT YOU WANT. Because doing what you want, even when it ended up being the wrong decision, NEVER got in the way of God’s plans coming about.
If he wants you to be an artist, that’s what you’ll be, even if you decided to get a Business degree instead of Art degree. If he wants you to work in this or that field, talk with so-and-so, build certain relationships, then you can’t make a decision that will inhibit him from making those things happen.
God has placed in you specific desires, hopes, dreams, passions, and I think he expects us to pursue those. I wasn’t made to love reading for no reason, and LeBron James wasn’t made 6’ 7” for no reason. Just live your life with Christ in mind. He’s going to get his work done! It is in his interest to use a broken people to make miracles happen—nothing you can do or would do would stop that from happening. So take the pressure off. Pursue God, love him and love his people. Talk to Jesus regularly, consult him on decisions, and make known to him your worries and feelings. But don’t feel like you have to know everything right now to be useful.
See, I think God ends up leaving us in the dark on purpose. He told Abraham to go to a land, without saying what the land was. And so Abraham went. Why would we expect anymore of our Father for us? So follow the gifts he’s given you, the people he’s put in your life to love, the places that capture your heart, and follow them to the glory of God. Test your intentions. Look deep into your heart for sin. Navigate this world knowing you are still a sin filled human, but don’t let that control you.
Tempered by wisdom, carried out with faith, and approached with a degree of skepticism, we can trust that every one of our decisions will turn out for good. I think the Lord made us intentionally for certain purposes. Purposes that you can’t mess up, or get wrong, or miss out on. No matter your qualifications, no matter how much or little you’ve prepared, no matter how much you feel like you’re just “missing something.” You aren’t. Pay attention, pray, listen, and he’ll put you where he wants you.