The In Between of Living Out Your Calling
I write a lot about calling and purpose and living intentionally. My motive is to help other women with the things I've struggled with. Helping women answer questions like...
- What if I feel like there's something more for me out there but I don't know what that is?
- How to I find the confidence and courage to take the leap?
- How can I be certain about my purpose and calling?
The Excitement of Taking the Leap
My passion to help women has come out of my own journey. For years, I felt like there was something more - but I had no idea what that really was. And then, I spent the next set of years being afraid to take a leap and wondering if God would really catch me.
But there's something that people hardly talk about when it comes to finding clarity on your calling and living out your purpose. It's the land in between. The exciting part of taking the leap happens when you actually take the leap.
You know, quitting your job or starting that blog or moving to a new state or signing up for a new class to meet new people. Whatever your leap is - leaping is fun and exciting, especially for those of us who secretly like to change it up. (You know who you are - you've rearranged your living room about 10 times this year)
The Truth About Living Out Your Calling
But the truly hard part about living out your calling comes in the in between. That space where the newness of taking the leap and actually arriving at your dream can become a place you never really expected to encounter.
The space in between is challenging and filled with hard work. The space in between is filled with explaining what you're doing and feeling like you're lost at the same time. That space in between is filled with questions like "What have I done?" and "Did I hear you correctly God?"
It's okay to question in the space in between. It's okay to wonder if you're in the right place. It's not okay to quit because it's getting hard. It's not okay to give up on your calling and your dreams.
Just because you and I are good at something doesn't mean it will come easy. While God wants to use us - He also wants us to depend on Him when He uses us. And the only way to get there is to realize that living out your calling is work. It's perseverance. And prayer. And being still before God in the middle of leaping and arriving.
My Own Journey
I'm passionate about this part because it's where I am and it's where I don't want to be. You see, I took the leap almost 3 years ago. I heard God clearly. It's time to go. Start your own business. I'll be with you.
At the time, my calling didn't make total sense. It made sense for me to leave and shoot for speaking and writing (some of the things that came naturally to me). What didn't make sense was not having another job to land on and the know how to get out there and start getting paid to do all the speaking and the writing.
Coming from a long line of logical people, my leap was crazy and scary. I called it my reckless obedience phase. I would follow God even when it didn't make sense.
In my mind, the reward was victory. Requests for speaking would come flooding in. I would finally arrive at speaking and writing and doing what I love 100% of the time. All because I chose to be obedient to God.
I mentioned I'm in the in between phase. Three years in and I get some speaking engagements and some writing assignments. I have a core group of clients who attend coaching events and refer clients to me. But on some level, I've realized that living out my calling feels less like leaping from my last job and more like walking step by step as I learn to trust God to provide in the everyday moments of my life.
Recently, I was asking those same questions I mentioned earlier. What have I done? Did I hear God correctly? In the discouragement of trying to make it all work, I wondered if I should give up and change directions. And then I heard from a friend who has walked with me for years. This is your calling. Don't give up. Trust God in every area.
Wrestling With Your Calling
I've been wrestling with this idea for a few weeks. Am I really trusting God? Am I really asking Him to provide? To be honest, I fell into a 2nd business of creating websites and writing those websites. It pays the bills and has become my plan B if God doesn't come through.
And as I've wrestled, I've realized I've kept working at this other business to earn the money myself. If God isn't coming through, I'll make it myself.
The only problem: I have no idea what God would have done if I had just focused on my calling and trusted Him to provide.
As I wrestled last week, I went to church and Mr. Pastor, as I like to call him, was preaching through the book of Luke. Smack dab in the middle is Jesus sending the disciples on a mission - to live out their calling if you will.
In Luke 10, He sends them out 2 x 2 with special instructions. Don't take anything with you. Focus on your mission. Stay in the first house that I provide. Do your work.
Jesus knew there would be an in between in any mission. There would be times when the disciples would be tempted to take their own supplies to make it work. Jesus knew that they would stop focusing on their mission to start worrying about their needs. Jesus knew that the moment they faced opposition they would feel like quitting.
Mr. Pastor had a few things to say on this one....
Don't make other provisions and take nothing with you. Focus on the mission before you. Trust God to provide. Be obedient to what He's asking. Surrender.
Despite being willing to take the leap 3 years ago, I'm not so great at those things. I would prefer to keep plan B in my back pocket. I would like to take provisions with me as I step out. I would prefer it if everyone buys coaching from me.
Just like the disciples, we are called to go out on mission. I don't know what your mission is - God does. But I know there will be an in between. There will come a time when you are asked to be obedient to God even when it means leaving what is familiar and trusting Him to provide without a plan B. There will come a time that He will ask you to focus on the mission ahead and not others things you can do. There will come a time when you will be asked to be obedient to God without knowing the results of that obedience.
I'll tell you a little secret. As I've wrestled with these concepts the past few weeks, I've made a little discovery. The secret sauce is in surrender of your plan B. The magic happens when you start to hear from God again because you've stopped trying to make your own dreams a reality out of your own efforts. You experience God in a whole new way because His dreams are better than anything you could possibly dream up.
Walking through your in between is scary and hard and painful. You may wonder about your wrong turns. You may feel you are on the right road but it's become too challenging to keep up the same pace. Whatever your in between looks like, the point of it isn't torture (even though it may feel like it). Your job isn't to arrive - but to experience God in the midst of your in between.
I'd love to hear from you so we can walk through our in betweens together. What does your in between look like and what are you learning about God in the midst of it? Comment here or connect with me privately. I'd love to pray for you!