God calls on flawed people to spread a message of hope to a flawed and broken world. So, ready or not, you must respond. But how?
Writing has always been a passion of mine, ever since I was a little girl. Instead of focusing in class (especially math), I would usually be found secretly doodling or writing out some random thoughts and feelings. Basically, whatever seemed to come to mind. Over time, I found putting pen to paper to be soothing and rather cathartic. Then I grew up. And, well, writing was put on hold.
Seasons came and went, and while I journaled and occasionally took to a writing frenzy, it was still nothing more than the usual rant of my innermost thoughts and messy scribbles, so I wouldn’t dare share that with anyone. Besides, every time I did actually sit down to write, it was quickly interrupted with other responsibilities or never given the time it truly needed, and honestly deserved. So, for many years, writing seemed to become a thing of the past, especially when I was knee-deep in the early stages of motherhood.
It wasn’t until a few years ago that God laid it upon my heart to write again. After all, my children had grown a little and were heading off to school and I did have the time, so that was no longer that excuse. But, I couldn’t help but think, What do You want from this, Lord?
While God opened doors and gently tugged at my heart, I completely froze! I felt so underqualified. Writing had been a hobby, my little secret, but definitely not something for others to lay their eyes on! The vulnerability of it all was just too raw. So, I hesitated… and stalled a lot.
Maybe you have been there, or maybe you are there now? God has shifted things in your life and landed you here, in a new and unknown season. Perhaps none of it makes any sense, leaving you to feel as if you somehow misunderstood God. Well, if I can assure you of anything, it is this – God calls on flawed people to spread a message of hope to a flawed and broken world. So, ready or not, you must respond. But how?
What Is “God’s Call?”
Let’s rewind just a bit and actually address the issue at hand. We’ve all heard it before, mostly in church or in fellowship circles, but what exactly is “God’s call”? Better yet, you may be wondering how you know if God is even calling you. It can seem rather complex to understand, but let’s lay it out simply. God’s call is the process in which He is drawing near, inviting you to be a servant of Christ. We see how many were called by God throughout Scripture and chosen to live out a certain purpose. So, in order to gain a better understanding, let’s take a look at a few of them:
God called on Moses to lead His people out of Egypt (Exodus3:7-10). Abraham was willing to sacrifice his own son, Isaac, yet through his obedience, God saved his son, and made him the father of a great nation (Genesis 22:1). Jacob answered the call to leave Laban and start a nation (Genesis 31:11-13). Paul was chosen to be a servant and spread the gospel (Romans 1:1).
While the calling in the Old Testament differs a bit from that of the New Testament (and that is a whole other article), what we must understand is that God’s calling is mostly in reference to embracing the victory of what was done for us on the cross. The general calling from God is to reach out to us, as His children, inviting us to live according to His plan, so we can become more like Christ - more holy (1 Peter 1:15). Whereas the more specific calling is one that God may invite us to do good works in His name (Ephesians 2:10).
The truth is that we will have multiple callings in our lives as we ebb and flow out of various seasons. But, please understand this - every single believer will have a calling for their life. That means no believer will be excluded, as God is faithful and calls each of us into fellowship with His Son (1 Corinthians 1:9). God may have called you to marry your spouse, start a family, or move to a new city. Maybe He has called you to serve in your church or start a ministry. All of these are callings from God, and it is up to us how to respond to each and every one.
Respond with Prayer
When we feel God is calling us to do something, or there is a transition in our lives that causes a shift and change of course, we must seek discernment and wisdom. If something is being laid on your heart, open up your heart in prayer and dig into His Word, rediscovering the stories of those who have not only been called but chosen to fulfill a certain purpose. Yes, there is a subtle difference between being called and chosen, but they do go hand-in-hand.
Matthew 22:14 tells us that many are called, but few are chosen. While this was in reference to a parable of a king who sent out invitations to his son’s wedding with no response, this story paints a picture to be the similar call of our God. It’s an invitation. But, we must respond with a certain RSVP, if you will, and show up. We must accept the invitation, and “choose” to whole-heartedly follow Him. However, that being said, that doesn’t mean we will do so perfectly.
Remember Jonah, the prophet who ended up in the belly of a big fish because He didn’t obey God’s call? God called him to preach to the people in Nineveh, but Jonah was afraid and eventually hardened his heart towards the people. While God still showed him grace, we see that we can prevent ourselves from living out our calling as His chosen people. We must also note that the enemy is always eagerly looking to destroy what God calls us to and is waiting to pounce, using distractions, fear, and excuses, among a slew of other things to throw us off track.
Friend, if we really want to heed our calling, we must be in tune with our Savior by getting quiet and seeking to understand His will for our lives. Psalms 46:10 commands us to be still, but furthermore, it reminds us of Who God is. God will be exalted among the nations and earth. God is proclaiming that our efforts are nothing apart from Him. There is no use in striving to do this life through our own futile attempts, as it will only backfire. We must let God touch our hearts in the gentle way that He always does, revealing His purpose through certain callings. So, get still, quiet, and lift your heart in prayer.
Respond with Surrender
How do we truly surrender to God’s will? You may have heard the phrase, “Let go and let God,” but what does that mean exactly? It sounds simple enough to let go of all your plans and let God in, but allowing Him to guide your every step and direct your decisions takes a leap of faith.
There is no recipe or step-by-step guide here, as each and every one of us is on a different journey in our faith and walk with God. And, because our God is so relational, our surrender will be personal, tailored, and unique. However, there is still a simply sweet way you can connect more closely with God and seek to gain more insight into His calling for your life.
Reclaim and get in touch with your inner child! Yep, it’s really that simple. Have you ever noticed how easy it is for our children to just pick up faith and run with it? As they hear about God and excitedly scream, “Yes! God loves me!”, Matthew 18:3 tells us that we must humble ourselves, like little children, and completely rely on God for everything. So, will you hand over your heart (and life) to God and ask Him to just take over? Soften your heart, open your hands, and receive His rich goodness. Let Him show you how to be His humble servant.
Respond with YES!
All that is left is one word – Yes! Will you say yes to God? Noah said, “Yes” and saved his family from the massive waters of the flood. Abraham said, “Yes” and inherited a nation. David said, “Yes” and won a fight against a giant. Rahab said, “Yes” and saved her family’s lives. Esther said, “Yes” and saved her people. Mary said, “Yes,\” and bore the Savior of the World! God is inviting you to just say, “Yes!”
Saying yes comes with trusting God and knowing that His plan is so much better. And, yes that will most likely come with some (or a lot) of hesitancy, fear, or feelings of inadequacy. It will surely come with a target on your back from the enemy. You can bet that in saying yes, it will not be easy; the task may seem difficult, too challenging, or even unachievable. It may force you to go beyond your means and push you well past your comfort zone. It may be a calling that others don’t understand and comes with opinions that will have you second guessing. But remember that God calls on many…but few choose to answer!
So, when you don’t feel equipped for a certain calling, stop, pray, surrender, and trust. God is with you. He is for you. If God is calling you to something, there is a purpose behind it. Being obedient to God takes practice and a constant pull on our heartstrings because our flesh will want to lead us away, and the enemy will want us to halt all good. But we must be “all in” with a whole-hearted “yes” so with whatever we are being called to do, we can give glory to our awesome God!
My Prayer for You
Father, You are so good and faithful to us. We thank you for the way to draw near and consider it an honor to be called to do things in Your holy name. Please grant us the discernment to hear Your voice and distinguish Your call, helping us surrender all, so we can respond with a resounding "Yes." We love you so much, and thank you for the opportunity to grow in our faith as we submit to Your will. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/People Images
Alicia Searl is a devotional author, blogger, and speaker that is passionate about pouring out her heart and pointing ladies of all ages back to Jesus. She has an education background and master’s in literacy. Her favorite people call her Mom, which is why much of her time is spent cheering them on at a softball game or dance class. She is married to her heartthrob (a tall, spiky-haired blond) who can whip up a mean latte. She sips that goodness while writing her heart on a page while her puppy licks her feet. Visit her website at aliciasearl.com and connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.