Living Out Your Calling
It's that time again. Clarity Church I'm coming for you on Sunday morning - teaching at my church. I'm honored and overwhelmed that my pastor and friend trusts me with the people of our church. I know it's a blessing and a privilege to use your gifts. And I don't take it lightly.
We're wrapping up our New Year/New You series. When I was presented with the options, I jumped at preaching this one. The big idea is that we all need to take a little risk to follow God's call. I feel like I should be a pro at this topic. But for some reason, my inspiration on this one is eluding me....
Maybe it's because the first two messages in the series were about clarity and focus and those two thoughts are messing with my theology of twenty years. For example, is God's will a blueprint or a game plan? A blueprint is done to exact specifications (like the load bearing wall on a house). You need this thing. A game gives you several option to choose from (like a quarterback can throw to the wide receiver, the running back, etc). To be honest, combining a seminary education with my life experience, can I say both?
I've lived my life with the blueprint idea in some ways. Doesn't God have "the one" - my knight in shining armor waiting for me? Does God want me to have this specific job or move to this specific neighborhood? That's blueprint. The game plan would be I can choose one of two jobs. The main goal is to choose the one where I will bear good fruit for Him.
My job in teaching on Sunday is to bring it all together. Now that you've thought through who God is and his will, how do you live this out? No pressure.
While I have some thoughts on calling and stepping out in faith, it's not quite coming together. So, if you'll keep reading, you can be my guinea pigs, if you will, for my random thoughts on calling...
1. Your calling is not a job
Much like the blueprint vs. game plan idea - this has been a game changer for me. The year I graduated from college - I, like Moses, was waiting for the burning bush. My calling was my job and I had no idea what that was. I eventually got a job in the import/export business. But to be honest, it felt like work and not a calling. I continued searching to one day find my calling in a job.
Eventually, I thought I found it in my job at the church I worked at. I was doing ministry for a living. Twenty plus years later, in the middle of life coach training, I realized that my job is never my calling and my calling doesn't have to be about my job.
What I realized is that my calling was more like a life message. A life message is less a motto and more something you become and embody in everything you do. And what I found as I was struggling in my business and wondering if I'd made a wrong turn is that I could live out my life message in any job. While being a life coach. While working at the World Market. By being a copywriter. And you can too.
Can we agree to stop looking for the perfect job (mostly because it doesn't exist) and start living out the message God has put on our hearts? I've discovered mine ties into inspiring people to be courageous with their faith. Nothing coming to mind? Start with the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20)- that's one we can all live out.
2. Start Small
The best place to start is right where you are. If you're a dreamer like me, that sounds like a death sentence. I want to start new things. I want to change the world in big ways. But starting small right where I am? No thanks.
Jo Saxton was speaking at the IF: Gathering one year and she said one little sentence that has had a profound impact on my life.
There are days when I love this. I love my life. And I'm excited to be living out my calling in this life. And other days - I am wishing for something more.
I have a client who likes to tell me that i'm going to famous some day - speaking on big stages. That's been a dream of mine for a while. And yet, as I've walked through this self-employment journey, I've realized that I can have the greatest impact not on a stage speaking to people who don't know me. Our greatest impact is our people. Those people that you live life with. Those people who have seen you at your best and at your worst.
The fact is...that our greatest impact starts in small spaces. Our office. Our home. Our neighborhood.
3. It's not about what you do for God as much as it's about you say to God.
Say what? You read it right. What i'm discovering as I study and as I try to walk this thing out myself is that God isn't interested in me checking off a list of tasks He's assigned me. God is interested in my YES. Will I listen and obey even when it doesn't make sense? Will I say yes when I'm tempted to say no?
To prepare for my sermon on Sunday, I've been reading Greater by Steven Furtick. In the book, he talks about this with a little math equation...
I don't know about you, but there are plenty of occaisions when I desire full understanding before my full obedience. I've often focused on the tasks I'm doing for God instead of the YES or NO I'm saying to God.
At the end of my days, I want to know that I said YES as much I could to God and his plan for me.
4. Step First
As I speak this Sunday, we're talking about Joshua going into the promised land. Before they could get there, the Israelites needed to cross the Jordan River at flood stage running wildly. God told them it would be okay, but they would have to step first.
Personally, I prefer to step second. I never want to be the first to go. I want to make sure God will move before I move. I want to make sure the step I take is safe and secure and will mean something. And if I'm really honest, I wonder if I can serve God from my recliner cuddling with my dog? Anyone?
The exciting part of the Israelites' story? They stepped. The river stopped. They crossed into their promised land. Our job is to say yes. God's job is everything else.
I don't know about you, but my random thoughts are kind of convicting. Am I willing to start small? Am I willing to stay in a job when it's not my calling because I have a larger message? Am I willing to say YES every time?
When it comes to the kingdom of God, there's risk. We risk everyday to trust God beyond what we feel, beyond what we experience, beyond pleasing other people.
When it comes to my sermon, I think I might ask the Clarity peeps one question. "What is your Jordan River today?" And I'd like to ask you too. What is that thing that you're waiting on? Confirmation that God really is asking? More skills to make the journey? More faith to believe God will part the river?
One foot faith, just like Joshua and the Israelites, steps first. You do the stepping and God will so the showing up. It's that's simple.
I'd love to hear from you! Yes you! And I'd love to hear about your own proverbial Jordan River. Comment here or send me a message through my contact page.