When I was 13 I decided it was time I figured out what I would do with my life. I wanted to know what my calling was.
I should probably start thinking about what I want to be when I’m an adult. I know a lot of money is what I want. [ No one said my grammar was great then…or motives]
I want everyone to know who I am, but not get mobbed. I want to meet famous people. I want it to have to do with music and concerts. Jobs that fit this description include DJ and back-up dancer. Of course there is always the option of becoming an interior decorator.
Perhaps you didn’t know at 13 what you wanted to be either. Perhaps you still don’t know. Our constant struggle is that we all know we created for a purpose and if we don’t know what it is, we feel like we’re a failure at life. I encourage you to change your thinking if that is the case. God has a plan for your life, too.
Besides my blossoming DJ career never panning out, at least I was beginning to think about what I would “do with my life.” In the 7th grade, I became slightly more practical and decided I would become a TV news reporter after watching Fox News one night. Never mind I had braces, was painfully shy and couldn’t even tell you who the Vice President was – I was sure it was my destiny.
I decided I want to write a book one day. That or just publish this diary. For a while I am going to stop writing about the shallow areas of my life and instead write about my spiritual walk.
Although I wouldn’t have labeled it a calling the day I wrote that, somehow I was beginning to understand the concept of doing something with my life that had spiritual implications, instead of a job that would make me money or famous.
I already mentioned that in college I majored in Communications so I could become a reporter. I ended up working in that field for five years after school when eerily similar to my first epiphany, one night I was watching the news again when Robert Gibbs came on, former President Obama’s first White House Press Secretary. Although I really didn’t know anything about him personally, I decided I wanted to move to D.C to be a press secretary for a Member of Congress.
Fast forward a bit and I did become one. You can read more about that story in full detail in Learning to Surrender My Career to God.
Unlike my initial dreams of becoming a DJ or TV reporter, I considered this job part of my calling, but not my life purpose. It was more like a piece of a large puzzle that would eventually all make sense.
The True Meaning of Calling
Many of us view our calling as something we want to do, something that will pay the bills and God will bless. For some people it is a little flashier, but for others it may just be living life day-to-day in His will that brings us our greatest purpose. Regardless of who you are, our real calling is to follow Christ with all our hearts, minds and souls.
There days we, especially women, have more options available to us than ever before. We can be a doctor, missionary, writer, or even President of the United States. While this may feel liberating, sometimes we can feel overwhelmed by all our choices too.
Practically speaking, there are a few ways to figure out what you should be “doing with your life” although, I’d caution you that it is not an exact science, or magic formula. Ultimately, it’s God’s plans that will come to fruition, not just our desires. Our job is not to beg Him to give us what we want; it is to seek out His plan for our lives and pursue it with everything we’ve got.
Here we go.
1. What are you good at?
We call these gifts, talents and abilities. Write down all the things you think you’re good at, no matter how obscure or pointless you think it is. (For instance, I like to think I’m OK at writing, pretty good at budgeting and excellent at making tacos.)
Then ask others what they think you are good at. Sometimes we want something so bad we are blind to our real talents and strengths.
Remember, God has given you abilities that are special and unique for YOU.
2. What are you passionate about?
Are you passionate about a certain political cause, kids, international development, music or something else? What do you care about the most or what issues are most important to you? Write down what you are willing to fight for. These are your true passions.
For me, God gave me a passion for women trying to figure out how to apply their faith to real life.
3. Who are you?
Here is where you brainstorm what makes you…you. How did you grow up? What is your personality like and what careers best suit it? Do you believe in God? What do you believe in? What is your day-to-day life like?
Notice any themes from all three sections in your own lists? Any places items from all three lists cross? Chances are you’re beginning to understand your calling. Maybe you just realized you want to run for public office someday, or maybe that you want to be a stay-at-home mom. In an upcoming post I will talk about how to take what we think is our calling and put it through a “biblical filter” to discern if it may be God’s will or not.
Putting it All Together
If we truly want to know God’s plan for our lives, we must first be willing to surrender it to Him. That includes all jobs, ambitions and desires. I remember when this thought first struck me. Was I willing to give up all my claims to these and instead, accept whatever God had for me? What if God wanted me to become a missionary? Or what if He called me to a boring career where I would make no money? The irony is the more tightly we hold on to “our career” and don’t allow God to work, the more difficult we are making things for ourselves.
God knows what’s best. Do you trust Him? I understand that what’s on the other side may scare you. But if we are following Him, He will prepare us for His plan and change our heart to joyfully accept it.
So where did I end up? Obviously not as a DJ or backup dancer (SAD!). Since I first thought about my calling I’ve been an ice cream scooper, campground bathroom cleaner, reporter, Communications Director for a Member of Congress, and writer.
Where do my talents, passions and personality intersect? I believe in writing about my faith to help other women become the women THEY were meant to be. I’m still not sure what that looks like but then again God’s not done with me yet.
Did you realize something you didn’t about your calling before?