Connecting to Your Calling
Maybe you’ve settled some of life’s biggest questions. You know why God made you. You’ve bought into the idea that life is about people, since God made people in His own image and loved them enough to die on a cross for them. Through Jesus’ life and teachings, we know we’re here to worship God and to love and serve others.
We’ve settled the “why” question. We’ve taken our best shot at personalizing God’s purpose. (For me, it’s to love, serve and challenge.) Now we have to decide the “who,” “what” and “where.” At least we have to start. We pursue our calling within our purpose. I’ve had hundreds of conversations about calling. I’m not sure anyone understands it. Andy Stanley is one of the most successful preachers in the universe and he can’t tell you when or how or even if he was called.
I’ve seen lots of preachers “called” to larger churches with higher salaries. Not so many “called” to smaller churches and less money. Many of the conversations I'd participated in had left me confused and cynical about calling.
Until a friend said this: “Calling is connected to design.”
When God designs something, He always gets it right. It’s we humans trying to bend it, rationalize it, stratify it, and formalize it that screws things up. As Bonnie Ware said while observing people at the end of their lives, “They regret spending their lives fulfilling other people’s visions instead of pursuing their own dreams.”
In his secular but insightful book The War of Art, Stephen Pressfield says, “This idea that ‘you can be anything you want’ is crap. We were each designed to do one thing. Find out what that is and go do your work.”
Popular blogger Seth Godin says, “Your work is your art. You are the irreplaceable unique person who can do this.”
I know all this sounds like self-actualization gobbledy gook, but it’s true to a large degree. If we’ve been designed by God, and if we set out to love and serve people and to do so through the skills, talents, experience, passion and interests He’s placed in us, we can’t miss.
Purpose is about why you exist and what God designed for you to bring to His Kingdom. Calling is about what to do, not why you’re doing it. He purposed me to "love, serve and challenge," and I’ve lived out that purpose as a business guy. I could have lived it out in the same way had I been "called" to be a lawyer, a teacher, or a programmer.
God didn’t make everyone apostles, or teachers, or doctors or Wal-Mart greeters. Nor did He make everyone challengers, encouragers or connectors. He’s more brilliant and creative than that. Purpose is bigger than calling. It’s broader. It’s more transportable from one calling to another.
Some people have a single calling in life. Others have several. As I said, I don’t understand too much about calling. I just know that some people seem to have a destiny--a job to do--a task to throw themselves into. I believe purpose trumps calling.
Just as you have a unique fingerprint and a unique DNA pattern, I believe you have a unique purpose. I’ve found great fulfillment in life as I added these two phrases to my purpose statement:
“My purpose in life is to glorify God by loving and serving others, and by challenging them...to be all they can be and to give all of themselves to Jesus Christ.”
If I’m to glorify God in this life, I have to point people to Jesus. To encourage them to go "all in" with Him and let Christ live His life in and through them. He receives us "just as we are," but that doesn’t mean He wants us to stay that way. I believe God wants us to fully explore our potential. Learning. Growing. Giving. Loving. He wants us to fully develop as human beings and then "present ourselves to Him as living sacrifices."
There are two directions for our lives and our energies. Two that matter.
I believe our "calling" connects with our design but always has the end-goal of pointing people to Jesus.We can be doctors, lawyers, gardeners or cashiers. We can thrive living out our purpose doing any job. But at the end of the day, it must point back to our Savior if it’s to be meaningful, valuable and eternal.
Godspeed as you pursue finding and living your purpose.
Taken from the ebook Finding Your Purpose.
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