This is the final post in a series on finding your calling. Click to read part one and part two.
Right about now, you might be thinking, God has a plan for my life. Awesome! And He’s sent His Spirit to draw it out of my heart. Great. This all sounds good in theory, but I am about to pick a career and I need practical advice. What should I actually do with my life?
That’s a great question. Maybe this will help: My father and one of my other mentors are engineers by education, but they spend every day not being engineers. One of them has never worked a single day as an engineer. The other only worked as an engineer for a couple years. It would be easy to assume that they missed it, that they took the wrong path and wasted their college years. However, looking back, they can both see how crucial their engineering degrees have been to their journeys. The essential thing wasn’t that they followed their original career path. It’s that they allowed God to direct their steps.
Romans 8 tells us that those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. Children get the benefits of direction, protection, and provision from their parents. God is the perfect Father, and if you humble yourself by doing what seems impractical and maybe even a little scary—being led by His unseen Spirit—you will see God’s power, favor, and direction manifest in your life. God, by His Spirit, will give you the peace that transcends all understanding, meaning it guides you when you lack knowledge, direction, or insight. This peace will help you navigate the toughest decisions life throws at you, including things like What job should I take? or Whom should I marry? or What should I get my degree in?
Maybe you’ve already made some of these decisions and you’re thinking, I definitely missed out on my calling, and that bus isn’t making another stop in my life. The good news is that God is an expert at redeeming time. He can take years of waste and turn them into a springboard for purpose and promise. So humble yourself and give Him what you have. Invite His Spirit to govern your mind and direct your path. I promise you, it will be worth it!
Today, at twenty-seven years old, I am doing things that I would have deemed impossible ten years ago. God has stretched me way outside my comfort zone. The last ten years have been a journey of trust—and a lot of surprises. I can now say with a bit more confidence that I will do whatever God has for me. I have chosen to trust in God, taking comfort in this promise:
The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall,
for the Lord holds them by the hand.
Psalm 37:23-24 (NLT)
God doesn’t just care about the big details. He cares about every detail. And, truth be told, it is obedience to His direction in the small details that prepares and positions you for success in the big decisions.
Thinking about your calling as the “big thing” God will someday commission you to do is, strangely enough, thinking too small. You may not know what you are supposed to be doing fifty years from now, or even next month, but God wants to direct your steps in this moment. Your obedience to show kindness to the cashier at the grocery store today is just as much a part of your purpose as being an architect or a CEO or a parent or an engineer ten years from now. You may never hear a voice from heaven declaring your destiny, but you can tune into the still, small voice of your Companion—the Holy Spirit—instructing you on what you were made to do right now.
The decisions you make now create the landscape of your future. This means that the most important thing you can do to fulfill the destiny God placed inside you is learn to hear—and obey—His voice today.
There’s so much more to say about your purpose and the journey on which God will take you to fulfill it. I encourage you to spend time meditating on these verses: Jeremiah 29:11; Psalm 37:23-24; Psalm 139:16; John 14-16; Romans 8:1-15 and 1 Corinthians 2. As you reflect on God’s Word, His Spirit will begin to speak to you. Remember, you won’t get everything at once. It will be a process. But the Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth (see John 16:13). He’ll tell you everything that you need to know (which is sometimes different than what you want to know) to fulfill your calling. But have patience and trust Him: your calling is not a one-day discovery—it’s a journey worthy of a lifetime.
Many people are doing something different than what they thought they were called to do—but they’re dead center in God’s will for their lives. I encourage you to talk with someone whose life and faithfulness you respect and find out what this process was like for them. Thanks for going on this journey with me!
This is the second post in a three-part series on finding your calling. Click here to read the first post.
We’ve established that God has a plan for your life. He’s plotted your purpose down to the detail. So what does Scripture tell us about that purpose? Proverbs 20:5 says, “The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out” (ESV).
Notice that Scripture likens purpose (destiny, calling) to deep water. When I think of deep water, I think of the unexplored ocean depths—the places where gigantic sea dinosaurs may still exist.
These deep waters require serious equipment and time to explore. At times I think it’s difficult to find my son’s bath toys amidst a myriad of bubbles, but my efforts pale in comparison to a journey into the Marianas Trench, the deepest part of the ocean. According to Proverbs 20, the discovery of purpose is more like journeying into the Marianas Trench and less like my efforts of bathtub exploration. In layman’s terms, the discovery of purpose is not easy and it requires time.
I like Proverbs 20:5 in the English Standard Version because it employs the word draw. This word implies a process, an effort that is so much more than a single moment or action. It’s a continual action and a consistent posture of the heart.
I also find it interesting that Solomon, by the inspiration of God, wrote that “a man of understanding will draw it out.” I have learned that understanding is developed with time and experience. With every day we live, we gather moments on the sands of time and collect experience from the orchards of life. In five years, you will know more about life, and about yourself, than you do today—and that’s okay! As you mature in understanding, you will garner a greater revelation of your purpose.
The wiser you become, the more you’ll recognize your need for understanding (it’s cyclical). As you ask God for understanding, He will give it to you, which will lead to a more comprehensive knowledge of your purpose (because God gives understanding to those who ask). As you mature in Christ (learn to trust God to a greater degree, which is the essence of godly maturation), His Spirit will draw your purpose from the depths of your renewed heart.
Think of your renewed heart as the place where the blueprints of your life are stored. The wonderful gift of salvation found in Christ has been personalized just for you. With this gift you received everything you need to live your amazing, purpose-filled life.
God knew that you would need His help reading these blueprints, so He sent His Spirit to help you unpack the wonders of your salvation. Scripture makes it clear that if we yield to God’s Spirit (make His voice the voice in our lives), He will give us love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, strength, direction, words to speak, and many other gifts essential to the discovery and fulfillment of our destinies. All of these amazing promises stem from our salvation in Christ. How amazing!
Have you learned to hear God’s voice? What has He told you about the blueprints of your life? No direction is insignificant; often the Lord will reveal His purpose one step at a time.
I’ll be writing about this again next week; check back then for my response to the question, “But what should I actually do with my life?”
Continue to part three.
This is the first post in a three-part series on discovering your calling. Click here for part two.
Purpose. Calling. Destiny. These are some of the most intimidating words in the entire lexicon. And there are some big words out there. Like floccinaucinihilipilification—try reading that in front of your English class. Talk about scary.
As a teenager I used to cringe when adults would use “the big three”: purpose, calling, and destiny. Often people would ask me, “Young man, what is your calling?” I would usually think, I am only seventeen years old. I don’t even know how to live on my own yet. How in the world am I supposed to know what my calling is?
Of course a response like this was never an option; what kind of seventeen-year-old with a “real destiny” would ever utter such a thing? When faced with these daunting traps of syntax, I would typically slither my way out by responding, “Whatever God has for me.” At the time I believed this was a copout. But now, ten years later, I can see that my answer was actually pretty right on. (Yes! Score one for the seventeen-year-olds!)
The truth is only God knows the full story of our lives; so trust, mystery, and faith will always be our companions on the quest to purpose—and God likes it that way. If we knew the magnitude and the significance of His plans for our lives, we would mess them up in our futile efforts to actualize His divine will (which, let’s be honest, is far above our finite levels of comprehension). So trust is a must in this journey with God.
You might be thinking, I know I should trust God, but what does that look like in regards to my calling? That’s a great question! And here is where I go to the ultimate manual of purpose, the eternal Word of God—a very trustworthy source—where we find three important truths in verses like Jeremiah 29:11; Psalm 37:23-24 and Psalm 139:16 (if you aren’t familiar with these verses, please stop reading this blog and take a minute to check them out):
– God has an amazing plan for your life.
– God sees the full scope of your life (knows every detail of it).
– God will always be there for you, helping you every step of the way.
Your belief in these three truths is paramount in your discovery of purpose. Why? Because these truths are the framework for everything God will do in and through you. However, if the enemy of your soul can cause you to doubt these things, then he can attack the validity and necessity of your existence. (And if you don’t believe you are worthy of a purpose, then you will never discover what yours is.)
The knowledge and application of these core truths will give you the strength to trust in God. And as you trust Him, He will begin to reveal the wonders and mysteries of your calling. Why? Because trust is the evidence of faith, and everything is received from God through faith.
Which of these three truths is the hardest for you to believe? Why?
Continue to part two.