Taking your calling seriously

Did you know they use a piece of white plastic pipe from B&Q rather than an actual scroll for your graduation photo?

I was outraged when I found out. I was also damp, because it was raining, and rapidly losing my patience with the photographer who was encroaching on my personal space again to adjust my ‘slightly wonky’ glasses for the third time in as many minutes.

‘Is this adulthood?’ I thought to myself as I gripped my plastic pipe and tried to smile for the camera, ‘because if it is, I’d like a refund’.

From childhood to university graduation, your life is likely to take a predictable and well-trodden path.

From School to potential gap year and then off to university. It’s pretty much mapped out for you. Until the moment that you’re stood, gripping a plastic pipe and trying to smile for the camera, wearing a slightly-too-big-for-you gown and an overwhelmingly fluffy hood. Then, it seems...

it’s up to you!

In the Christian world, we often talk about ‘calling’.

  • What’s your ‘calling’?
  • Where is God ‘calling’ you to go?
  • What’s he ‘calling’ you to do?

In my final year of uni, and immediately after my graduation, I wrestled a lot with the idea of ‘calling’. What was God calling me to do? Continue studying? Get a job? Volunteer?

Every option came with an extensive list of pros and cons, and where I felt God was calling me very much depended on what kind of day I was having.

(More often than not, God seemed to be calling me to take a nap.)

Having spent some time in the Bible and having thought more about the idea of calling over the past year, however, I’ve reached a (possibly controversial) conclusion:

primarily, calling isn’t about you.

Bear with me. Calling, I think, is primarily about who calls you. Calling is about our relationship with God. We are called to be disciples of Christ. We are called to participate in his purposes. We are called to be the church. We are called to be stewards of the earth.

From this primary calling – this call from God to be his disciple – comes everything else I do.

How do we work it out in our daily lives?

What I do, whether I’m a banker, a nurse, a vicar or a barista – is done in the light of God and who I am in him. This takes the pressure off finding my perfect job on day one. Wherever I am, whatever I’m doing, whoever I’m with, I’m a disciple, and God is working out his purposes through me.

Taking my calling seriously, then, means taking whatever abilities and opportunities God has given me, and looking to serve him and others in my work. It means knowing that my work matters to God because I matter to God, and because he has called me by name and claimed me as his own. I just have to start somewhere. Even if my glasses are still ‘slightly wonky’.

 

Want to think more about calling and what it looks like to be a Christian in the workplace?  Changing Light is a 3-part course run by LICC for those beginning or in the first few years of their working life.  If you're graduating this summer or have graduated recently then its designed for you.  Find out more here.

Nell Goddard graduated in Theology from Durham University and is now a writer for the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity, where she also project manages Changing Light. She blogs over at alianore.co.uk, and her first book was published in June.

Pippa Elmes

Ministry Training Leader

Pippa supports those in church based student ministry to do their job really well. She loves challenging churches to work with students and equipping them to pioneer new mission opportunities to reach students.                     

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