What is your calling in life? That question can stump a lot of people. Some have tricks and tips to confirm their path. Others will sit and wait for the “voice” of God before moving.
Christian calling is kind of like the Sorting Hat in Harry Potter. If you recall, the Hat is tasked with divvying up fresh students into a particular house where they will remain for the rest of their schooling at Hogwarts. Potter and his friends are part of the Gryffindor house. We also learn in the movies (perhaps the books too?) that as the Sorting Hat makes a decision, it may relent to the desires of the student. Potter was slated for Slytherin, but his desire changed the outcome.
This is an apt metaphor for God and your calling. You see,
the Sorting Hat knows best and has a wonderful plan for your life, but if you think and will hard enough it will give you what you desire. The Sorting Hat is thinking, I had a plan for you, but if you want this other thing so much we’ll go with that.
I remember early in my pastoral vocation talking with a friend who had a major life decision in front of her. It was the proverbial fork in the road. I put on my pastor hat to tout the party line of, “which one do you think God is in? What clues do you have? Have your prayed about it? What will be best for your kids?” In my linear way of thinking there was only one answer. She threw a wrench in my thinking and shifted my view of calling ever since.
“I don’t think there’s a wrong or right answer. Whichever we choose, God will be with us.”
She’s right in that God is big enough for both, big enough for any of the decisions we make, even the bad ones. (God doesn’t magically disappear when we make a bad choice.)
Stuck on Calling
I know more Christians who are stuck versus ones living out the fullness of calling. Many are too content in their daily routine to push into a new season, or are stymied from action because they want to make the perfect decision. Here’s an excerpt on calling from my book Thrive,
Because the cost to follow Jesus is great, often Christians pray hard for visible signs or audible calls from God to confirm the dreams and ideas they have. More often that signal doesn’t come. Search Amazon for titles on “hearing the voice of God” and a plethora of titles will emerge. We long for the audible voice of God to confirm our calling and direction. But what if God has already given us the answers and pieces needed to begin?
Perhaps our prayers should be less about whether or not we should start down an unknown path, and instead requests for confirming signposts as we go.
Signposts along the way? We have some basic and essential teachings from Jesus to follow. Living those out may be hard, but it’s not unclear how we are to live (the Beatitudes being a great place to start if you’re grasping for answers at this point.) At the top of my head we have a calling to bear witness of Jesus (Acts 1:8), a Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20), and a Great Commandment (Matt 22:36-40). That’s more than enough to guide our day-to-day.
Sometimes we make life more complicated than it has to be.