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10 Things I’ve Learned about Calling After Years of Trying to Figure It Out

10 Things I’ve Learned about Calling After Years of Trying to Figure It Out

In the church we hear the word calling a lot but don't always understand what it is or how to find it. As someone who has spent years in ministry, I've learned that people often confuse and complicate what it is God is trying to move them towards. After years of walking in my own calling and helping others find their own through discipleship, I’ve gained a little more clarity on calling and understanding God’s will and plan for our lives.

Here are 10 things I’ve learned about calling after years of trying to figure it out.

  • 1. Your Calling is about God

    1. Your Calling is about God

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    It is so tempting for us to think that our calling is about us, but it is not. Just like the Bible, our lives, and the whole of History, our callings find their source and truest fulfillment in God. Yes, we play a part, but our role is to say, “How glorious He is, our God who sent His Son so that my sinful soul could taste merciful salvation!”  2 Timothy 1:9-10 proclaims, “We are made in His image and the strength we will need to fulfill our call comes from Him alone. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”

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  • 2. Your Calling Will Impact the Lives of Others

    2. Your Calling Will Impact the Lives of Others

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    God will not call you to live a life that is egocentric. He will ask you to earnestly love and serve others. Jesus himself told us, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”John 15:12 Calling should move us outward. It propels us into love one another with deep devotion, desiring that others know they are not alone in their struggles, walks with Christ, and life in general.

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  • 3. Your Calling is Not More Important Than Another’s

    3. Your Calling is Not More Important Than Another’s

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    It is a dangerous and arrogant game to play when we begin to think that one calling is greater than another. We are all God’s children and he plans our paths with perfection. A life of high purpose is not a life lived in comparison with others. It is a life offered in reverent submission to God, and spent reaching others with the love of God. The analogy God uses to explain this most clearly is in Romans 12:4-6: “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.”

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  • 4. You Shouldn’t Be So Concerned With “Calling” that You Forget to Do the Will of God

    4. You Shouldn’t Be So Concerned With “Calling” that You Forget to Do the Will of God

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    We sometimes forget that the majority of God’s will is not a mystery. He has given us a large portion of His will in His Word. In America, where we can get our hands on a Bible without much effort, we still walk around wondering about God's will for our life when so much of it is right at our fingertips, on our nightstands, and available in multiple translations. The Bible is rife with examples of this but 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 is clear, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” As well as Ephesians 4:1-2,  “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”  Follow the Word of God, and know that if something Jesus asks you to do (like sharing His love, reading your Bible, or extending hospitality) feels like a stretch to fit into your “calling,” that doesn't give you a pass to disobey.

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  • 5. The Assignment Can Be Different but the Calling is the Same

    5. The Assignment Can Be Different but the Calling is the Same

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    Year after year of walking out my calling has shown me that while the assignment may change the calling remains the same. Calling is not an event, a place, or a time – it is part of a believer’s created purpose. Our calling will help direct us to the works God has for us to do. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

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  • 6. Time Pursuing Calling Should Not Overshadow Time with the God Who Calls

    6. Time Pursuing Calling Should Not Overshadow Time with the God Who Calls

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    If we study the Bible only for what we can teach others instead of to hear what the Lord wants to teach us, we begin to sever the strength that sends us forward. We need to invest in the relationship that sees into our most secret places so that we can hear the voice that leads us. It is only in the intimate closeness with the Heavenly Father that we can find the quiet stillness that reminds us that we are chosen children.

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  • 7. You Don’t Have to Know Your Call to Serve Christ Powerfully

    7. You Don’t Have to Know Your Call to Serve Christ Powerfully

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    People sometimes put off serving the Lord because they do not know their specific “calling”, but that is not an excuse to rob the body of Christ of the gifts the Lord has placed in you. When we begin to serve – even if unsure of our giftings and callings – we begin to see and experience where He makes us useful. We can feel it when the Spirit begins to move, and we are no longer operating in our own capacity. We begin to see where we fit, what our calling might be, and how we can glorify our Jesus. The first step to finding your calling is to simply be one who serves the Lord. Jesus tells us, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last…” John 15:16 Start working in the eternal places. Go and bear fruit. A willing heart will quickly find the will of God.

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  • 8. Calling Does Not Equal Doing the Thing I Fear Most

    8. Calling Does Not Equal Doing the Thing I Fear Most

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    I am shocked at the amount of times I have heard people express the sentiment that they are afraid to serve God, because they are sure He will send them to do the things they hate most. We need to stop stressing that God will ask us to be something that we are not, and trust that what he asks us to do will help us to become who we truly are. There are times when God will call us to things we would not have chosen on our own. He may and will call us to hard things, but He also calls us to things that will bring us great joy! Do not resist stepping into your calling out of fear, but step out in faith so God can show you what He has called you to out of love.

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  • 9. Fulfilling My Calling is Not Always Fun

    9. Fulfilling My Calling is Not Always Fun

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    After we acknowledge that calling isn’t primarily things we dislike or fear, it is also prudent and necessary to remember that boldly walking out our calling will test the boundaries of our comfort. There will be times when sacrifice, and putting our flesh to death is required. We must always live before God with open hands and say, “Anything you want, Lord Jesus; Here am I, send me.”  

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  • 10. Calling is a Part of Me but Not Who I Am

    10. Calling is a Part of Me but Not Who I Am

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    Confusing calling with identity can be disastrous. We can’t look to calling to define who we are; God has already revealed the deepest thing about who you are, is that you are His. Find help to grow. Be a Learner. Work hard. Run the race. And God will get you to where you need to be. May you, press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14 There is no greater joy for our souls than to exult in being His, and seeing Him glorified.

    Chara Donahue is a freelance writer who is working on her first book. She enjoys doing biblical counseling, speaking to women, and savoring coffee when her four kids are out playing with dad. She holds an MSEd from Corban University, is passionate about seeing people set free through God's truths, and is the founder and editor of Anchored Voices. Get in touch with her on Facebook or Twitter.

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