Called Where You Are

By Kimber Harrison
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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.

  1. Consult the Bible. Does it comment directly on the issue? If so, then there’s your answer. If not, then…
  1. Consult wisdom. Is this a stupid decision? If no comment, then move forward to step three.
  1. 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.

Breaking Tortillas

food-salad-dinner-eatingBy Allison Myers

“…they broke [tortillas] in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts…” -Acts 2:46 

There’s just something about gathering around the table with people you care about that builds a unique bond. Tonight, I gathered around the table with some folks from my young adult group. They invited us into their home and fed us and invested in our lives in the simplest, most organic, but impactful way. I think one of the best ways to love people is to feed them.

Around this time last year, my roommate and I befriended some Mormon missionaries. I was taking a shortcut on the way home one day and ran into them in an alley (still not sure why they were there) but they asked if they could come by the house sometime. It was my birthday, and I was feeling extra loved and chipper that day so I said that of course they could. I also thought that there was a good chance that as Mormon missionaries, they would run into some really rude people, and I didn’t want to be one of them. We exchanged semi-awkward introductions and I proceeded to take the little postcard picture of Jesus that they offered me, as well as a couple of cards with their phone numbers and a copy of the Book of Mormon. I got home and quickly tucked the items away somewhere to collect dust. I thought briefly about the girls and how I would probably never see them again, but I was glad to run into some kind folks on my birthday.

A few days later, they showed up at our door. I still don’t think that I actually ever gave them our address and concluded that they must’ve knocked on several doors in order to finally find ours. Tenacity (something I genuinely admire Mormons for) at its finest and truest. There it was. It was time to decide. Was I going to open up the door and let them in and hear their spiel, or brush them off and tell them I didn’t have time?

I’ve never been good at turning people away.

We sat and listened to their teachings and heard a whole lot about what they think about the Bible, God, Jesus, and this guy named Joseph Smith. After that, we talked for a long time about what Ithink about the Bible, God, Jesus, and this guy named Joseph Smith. Throughout our time together that day I was a strange combination of offended, confused and surprised, and at the end of the conversation I had to make a quick decision: Because I disagreed with these people, should this be it? Should we call it quits right here? I didn’t have much of an interest in creating a relationship with these girls. After all, there’s really no way to truly be friends with people who think differently than you. It’s too difficult and there are too many opportunities to hurt feelings and step on toes and to be challenged in your own views. No one really wants that, so let’s just cut it off right here. That’s what I decided.

But then I reconsidered.

Because I don’t think that’s what Jesus would do. I think He would lean in. I think He would lean in to the questions and the difficulties and the conflict. I think He would forego sarcasm and sass and rudeness and I think He’d have raw conversation. I think He’d see a couple of people on the couch across from Him, who were trying to live out their own convictions in the best and most loving way that they knew how.

So I invited them over again. And we fed them. And we continued to do that about twice a week for the rest of the semester. We continued our hard conversations over sweet tea and tacos, and for some reason, that changed everything. I learned about their families and their hobbies and their hometowns. I learned about their dreams and aspirations and why we all have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest. It’s almost like we became friends or something.

I don’t think it was a coincidence that Jesus was often eating with people when teaching and ministering to them. In Luke, Jesus is basically always eating – so much so that He was accused of being “a glutton and a drunkard” by His critics. Meals were a recurring theme, and seemed to be central to His mission. I think that was an example set for us to follow. When we eat together, we’re sitting in our humanity, we’re admitting our dependence and we’re accepting a unique form of grace from God. In the simplest way, similar to sleeping, we’re acknowledging that we have physical, external needs that cannot be fulfilled from within ourselves. Our humanness is on display.

If you’re looking to build a deeper, more intimate community with people in your circle, I say, start by breaking bread (or tortillas) together. You don’t have to be a professional chef. It doesn’t have to be a five-course, five-star event. You don’t have to have a big, fancy house or an opulent kitchen with a gourmet, organic, free-range menu. You can break out the paper plates and the store-bought cookies. You can gather your people in your tiny IKEA-furnished apartment, butts on barstools and kitchen counters and living room floors. You can stop worrying about your less-than-eloquent prayers and remember that God prefers our feeble, authentic attempts and that He delights in drenching us in grace. So do it. Gather your home team, laugh, share, and embrace your humanity together knowing that God often does some of His best work over fajitas and Dr Pepper.

 

Christianese Grammar

By Allison Myers

Christian, the adjective v. Christian, the noun
The following post was written during my #100Daysof750Words project. This was Day 20.

So, I really enjoy Josh Garrels’ music. I was supposed to go see him in Waco tonight but I didn’t get to go and I am still very much in mourning. But my friend Erin sent me a video of a little part of the show and it kind of got me thinking.

Like I was saying, I’d call myself a fan. I don’t know him personally but he seems like a great guy? All speculation, of course, but anyway. People always ask me what kind of music he sings and I never really know how to label it. It’s sort of indie/folk with like a hip hop kind of twist? And I always say, “He’s a Christian, but he’s not like…a Christian singer, if that makes sense?” And then they kind of give me a weird confused look. I think he’s one of the few who really hone their craft and their art based on the fact that they’re a Christian who is a musician, and not a musician who is solely creating content and music for a specific target market. This is a hard topic to explain my thoughts on, but it’s just something I’ve been thinking about and thought I’d share it here.

This seems super nitpicky and annoying but here it is.

I don’t like the way we use the word Christian as an adjective. We have Christian Continue reading