Monday, August 29, 2011

Finding Your Calling

When I became a Christian in 1976, people told me right from the start that God had a plan for my life. I was made for a purpose. There was a reason why I was alive. There was something that God wanted me to do. In other words, I had a destiny and a calling to fulfill. That made me special and unique in the sight of God. I soon learned that all of us are special and unique because we all have a calling that is tailor-made for each one of us. Over time, my views concerning a calling have not changed.

But finding your calling is by no means an easy process. It can be downright difficult. Why? Because we have to get ourselves and what we want to achieve in life out of the process of God using us to fulfill His purposes. It has taken me years to discover my calling and purpose. So what have I learned along the way?

Your view or opinion of a calling will depend on how you see God. Is he a personal God involved in our daily lives, active in the affairs of this world? Or is he a distant God who created the universe and turned it over to man? If God is a distant God, that means you really have no purpose other than to do what you think is right. And, frankly, that’s a recipe for disaster. As far as I can tell by studying the Bible, God is clearly involved in the affairs of man and desires a personal relationship with his creation. The Bible says that when we diligently seek Him we will find Him. If he is a distant God, he would be inaccessible.

Many Christians also believe that only some have been called, but that’s not true either. Galatians 1:15 says, “But God had special plans for me and set me apart for his work even before I was born.” NCV Isaiah 49:1 says, Before I was born, the Lord called me to serve him. The Lord named me while I was still in my mother’s womb.” NCV Sounds to me like we all have a calling; however, our view of a calling is rather narrow. It depends on how we view the world. For some of us, the world is divide into two parts, secular and sacred; therefore, a calling must be sacred, such as being called to the priesthood or becoming a pastor or a missionary in Africa. That would exclude a career in film or television or becoming an electrician or even a politician. But God has no division. Everything in life is sacred. That makes finding your calling even more complicated.

However the one thing that is not complicated, if you are a follower of Christ, you are called to spread the Word of God. The how part of spreading the Gospel takes into consideration your unique calling as well as the part that you will play in the Body of Christ. Therefore you can be a missionary working in Hollywood producing mainstream films as well as working as an engineer in NASA. We each have a specific, unique skill set to fulfill the mission of spreading the Word of God through our vocation. How do we get started in discovering God’s will for our lives? Am I called to be a media missionary? Should I go to Hollywood or make independent Christian movies? I believe the question we should be asking ourselves is what is God’s will and where is He at work? If we are going to know God’s will, we must have a relationship with him that is authentic and personal. Unless you spend time with him, you cannot know his character, his motives, or his purposes. Just like in dating, you spend time with a person to get to know him/her. God is no different. By reading the Word, spending time in prayer and meditation, and spending time with fellow Christians who have a committed relationship with Christ, we start to understand who God is.

You cannot accept Christ as your Savior, walk away, and expect to understand your calling. By developing a personal relationship with God, you will come to know what you believe and why you believe it. In doing this, you will realize that God’s first plan for your life is to turn total control over to him. For most of us, this is a difficult concept to accept. We will resist and fight this. We will try to make a deal with God. We will turn over some parts of our lives in order to get what we want. In other words, we try to bargain by saying, if you let me go to Hollywood and make movies, I will give up this or that.

As time goes on we either do one thing or the other. We give up more control of our lives or hold on to our control. But if we are willing to allow God to control more of our lives and the decisions we make, he will invite us to join him in his work. We will reach a point where we really want to know what God’s will is. God will begin to speak to us through the Holy Spirit, through his Word, prayer, circumstances and the Body of Christ to reveal his purposes and his ways.

God will do whatever is necessary to get our attention. We will have to decide if we are willing to make the adjustments in our lives to do what he is doing instead of what we want to do. Some people call this a crisis of faith. I believe that it is when we totally surrender to the will of God that are willing to give up our passion and our dreams in order to do and accomplish the will of God. For some of us, that might mean accepting the fact that we are not called to go to Hollywood and make movies. It’s at this point that we truly experience God by obeying him. He then accomplishes his work through us. In the end, you might very well be called to be a media missionary to go to Hollywood and make movies and TV shows. The question is, are you willing to give it up to serve God. That’s the central issue that surrounds the crisis of faith.

Discovering God’s calling and plan for your life is always a process. It will take time and sacrifices, but, in the end, you will ultimately have to readjust your life and join him in his work and not yours.

Another thing to consider in discovering your calling is the intersection of your passion, your dreams, and your strengths. When the three come together, this can help you understand what God’s plan is for your life. But looking only at your passion and not considering your dreams and strengths can be misleading. Passion speaks to the heart. For example, when I was in high school, I had a passion to be a ball player. In my heart I wanted to be a major league baseball player. I certainly had the passion, but I lacked the talent. It was not my strength. It was my dream because it is all I thought about. Dreams are a matter of the mind. But, again, I lacked the talent. Only when the three come together can we begin to see how God is working. You must look at the complete picture.

Finding God’s will is dependent on a life focused on God, his activity, and our decision to deny self. No one can tell you what God’s will is for your life. Only you can find that out by diligently seeking him and being purposeful in how you live your life.

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