Whilst at university there can feel a growing pressure to know what on earth you’re supposed to do when your three years are up. What job do I do? Where do I live? How can I make a difference in the world?
When I went to university I studied Performing Arts - what are you supposed to do with that degree? As a Christian, the drive to know where you ‘belong’ can become even greater with the church talking about your ‘calling’ in life.
"The fact that you’re reading this and want to make a difference is pleasing to God. It is then from this place that we can discover what we are called to."
Whether we have faith or not, we all want to make our mark in the world. To have accomplished something which made a difference. However, the first thing I want to say about calling is this: whatever you’re called to and wherever you’re called, you are first called to know how deeply loved you are and to love others. Where and how you do this will look different but this is first and foremost your calling as a child of God. The fact that you’re reading this and want to make a difference is pleasing to God. It is then from this place that we can discover what we are called to.
So how do we discern our unique calling?
Firstly, stay close to God. As long as you keep in step with Holy Spirit you will follow God’s will for your life.
Secondly, trust his timing. For some calling comes early – they seem to know their whole life. That wasn’t my story. It wasn’t until I was 31 that I heard God call me to plant a church. Stay faithful to where you are, the people around you and what God has placed in your hands.
Lastly, stay in your own lane. It can be hard when you see people around you moving ‘forward’ and you feel like you’re not. Trust God and don’t look to the left or the right. No one ever ran their best race by looking around to others and comparing. Looking at others we trip. By fixing our eyes on God and what’s in front of us we run – we run well.
With these points in mind here are some questions to ask:
Where do you see fruit? What is God doing around you? Are you someone who has friends coming to you for advice and guidance? Are you always the organising and doing it well? Look at where you are seeing fruit from your labour and you may well find your calling.
What breaks your heart? Right now there are things happening all over the world which break our hearts – human trafficking, inequality of education, friends and family not knowing Jesus. The calling which is as unique to you as you are to him is what breaks your heart.
What brings you joy? Finally, God is a good God. Sometimes we can think our calling is meant to be had but in truth, sometimes the place we find the most joy is exactly where we are supposed to be.
Frederick Buechner once said: “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.”
Where do your joy and the world’s hunger meet?
For more on calling, head to acalllessordinary.org