Do you know what your calling is? Do you have dreams to do amazing things for God? A lot of us do. We’ve felt a nudge; we’ve heard a voice deep inside or seen a vision and believed God had invited us onto his team.
But the “calling” isn’t unfolding like we’d hoped or planned.
Mine doesn’t look anything like I thought it would. And it never has. I’m with you, girlfriend.
Does that mean I missed God? No, I’ve decided when my understanding of God’s plan doesn’t materialize as I’d thought it would, I’m exactly where he wants me to be. Just read the Bible to realize it’s kind of normal for the “call” to not be normal.
By chance I misunderstood God, he can take my wrong turn (which I took in faith) and use it for a better plan–He’s a good, kind, grace-giving, faith-loving God like that who uses the weak and foolish things of this world. Oh, somebody say “Hallelujah!” There’s hope for us all.
When the Calling Rubs Spaghetti in His Hair
I love author and speaker Jill Briscoe. (Be sure to click on the link on her name that takes you to her website.)
At 83 she speaks with wisdom and grace like few speakers I’ve heard. If you need encouragement in the “calling” department, I suggest you watch her message from the 2018 Virtue Girl Talk Conference.
The other day, I sat on my couch talking to God about where I am right now on my calling journey, and I realized I’ve come full circle. I’m teaching 6th graders how to spell again rather than shepherding a congregation or speaking to women all over my part of the world. How did this happen? Rather than going forward now that my kids are raised, I feel like I’m going backwards.
It’s a very familiar place of needing to pray for God to help me love where I’m at and the ministry he has given me. It’s the same prayer I prayed as a stay at home mom changing dirty diapers, saying “no” every other word, vacuuming up Cheerios, shampooing spaghetti out of the baby’s hair, and desperately praying to sleep at least four hours straight.
Your Calling Comes When You Get Saved
Jill teaches that our calling comes when we get saved. All of us who have said yes to Christ have been ordained to tell others about Jesus. That is our calling. To that Jill says, “Your ministry is between your feet.” In other words, wherever we are, we have a ministry to the people around us.
I remember the restlessness of those years when my kids were small. I felt like I wasn’t doing anything great for the Kingdom buried under the piles of laundry and mundane days of Sesame Street and Blues Clues. But now I know I was right where God wanted me. My “calling” at that time in my life happened to love to play with the spaghetti when he ate it with his chubby hands. I think he wore more of dinner than he ate. But I remember holding those tiny hands and praying for them to help people one day. That was my ministry.
Our Specific Callings Change
I’m sure there are exceptions to this rule, but I believe our specific callings will change throughout the seasons of our lives. I call this “Dreams for a Season” in my A Mary Like Me: Flawed Yet Called book. Just like seasons, our callings and dreams change. If you’re not happy with the one you have right now, don’t worry; it will change. But don’t quit or try to run away.
In her message Jill admonishes the crowd to “Let God use everything.” She also gave these powerful instructions:
- Go where you’re sent.
- Stay put.
- Give everything you have.
How many of us want to run from our jobs right now? Does it help you stay to envision your place of work as a ministry field? Maybe this is your Africa or China. You don’t have to go overseas to be a missionary. Your job may not be glamorous. It may be challenging. The people you work with may be down right rude and hard to get long with, but God has you there to bless somebody. Come on now, who ya gonna bless?
It All Comes Down to Trust and Obey
The last few lines of my notes I took from Jill Briscoe’s message were her words, “After obedience the courage was waiting for me.”
Do you want to be courageous? Bold? Strong? Then obey him right where you are.
My friends, are we willing to minister where no one sees? In a world where fame and platform reign, are we willing to trust and obey wherever the Lord calls even when it feels like we are going two feet back rather than three feet forward?
It all comes down to trust.
Bible Reading Plan
This week’s plan is about trusting God right where you are and allowing him to use you right there for purposes laced with eternity.
Scriptures and Prompts Printable Available
John 15:16-17: You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.
- I think we feel we’ve got to have it all together to evangelize, but there’s something we have to do before we can minister to anyone. We have to love them. Write a prayer naming specifically the people you need help loving in your life. That’s where ministry starts.
1 Thessalonians 5: 24: The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
- He. Will. Do. It. Through. Us. Take a deep breath. As you slowly breathe it out, close your eyes and picture Jesus doing your job. Write down what you see. The context of this verse is about sanctification–being made holy. Jesus will transform us as we do what he’s called us to do. Faith doesn’t make things easy, but possible.
God Chooses the Least Likely
1 Corinthians 1: 28-29: God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.
- Oh, hallelujah! I need to write this verse on index cards and put them up all over my world to remember that God does not call the qualified, but he qualifies the called. Lean on him my friends! If you are feeling out of your league, it’s okay. If you know that God has put you there, then dig in deep and let him be your wisdom, strength, creativity, and success. Write a prayer thanking him for your struggle and dependence on him.
1 Peter 2:21: To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
- The context of this verse is suffering and persecution. None of face what the first century church did, but do you have a coworker or family member who always takes jabs at your faith? If so, take some time to write down how Jesus handled persecution. Keep in mind some of his final words while dying on the cross, “Father forgive them, for ___________________________________________________________________________.” (Fill in the blank.) How does this help you handle those hard people?
Isaiah 65:1: I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’
- I love this verse because it reveals the heart of our God. Who is the least likely person in your world to accept Jesus? Write a prayer for that person and ask Holy Spirit to show you how to love them to Jesus.
Philippians 3:14: I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
- Press on. Stay where you are until God moves you on. Who could you bless where you are? Who could you invite to church or small group or Thanksgiving dinner?
Esther 4:14: For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
- We always glorify Esther’s position, but Esther really didn’t want to be where she was. Though she was placed in a high position, she was not free. Her life was always on the line with this fickle king who at a moments notice could have her vanished or killed. I don’t think any of our jobs compare to that. List some good things about your job and how God could use you in that place.
Join Me Thursday Night!
Let’s get together this Thursday night at 7:20 ET ( promise to be done before football starts) to dig into these scriptures and talk about how we can minister right where God has us. Come be encouraged. Put on your stretchy pants and brew a cup of something warm. Gather your Bible, journal, and let’s do some Bible study together! It’s a virtual Bible study group via Facebook live. Follow on Facebook to get the notification when I go live.
I’m praying for you. Thanks for stopping by!