“What is my calling?”
Ever ask yourself that?
If I were to make a list of all of the callings I tried on and wore for a season; gymnast, actress, singer, personal shopper, and cake designer, would be just some of the hats you would find in my closet. And for years I believed that these hats, tried and tossed, represented failure. Just an embarrassing list of wrong numbers and missed calls.
Where I learned that my calling in life was going to be something I sought after, achieved, and then only had to sustain, I don't know. But we all do this, don't we? We choose our calling and give it a deadline. We plan the age we will be married, number of children we will have, the job we will be offered, the house we will own, we even plan the dog. And if any of these goals are not met by a certain age, we fall into a pit of despair. And while there, we invite the devil over for chips and salsa, and together we look at everyone else who has achieved their goals, we search up every friend we've ever had who has found their calling, husband, and dream job, and we keep on looking and eating and comparing until the chip bag is empty and the salsa jar licked clean and we can hardly stand the nothing we have amounted to and so we go on and open a bottle of wine or a take a spoon to a carton of Cherry Garcia while standing in front of the freezer, because the devil promises it will make us feel better and because I mean, really, at this point, the only calling God has for us is clearly not coming from Him, but from Ben & Jerry's!
Oh, sweet Lord, have mercy on me and my run on sentences. This hits close to home, is all, and I am just so fired up.
Why? Because of the insane pressure. Have you felt it? Seen it? It is so thick you can dip your tortilla chip in it; the world and its relentless preoccupation to know your calling. And not just know it, but attain it. Right now. If you have ever gone through the college application process with your child, you have witnessed this firsthand. If you are a college student, or fresh out of the dorm, I will bet you are experiencing the anxiety of “not knowing” this very moment. I feel for you. I really do. My stomach twists and tightens every time someone asks my child, “What do you want to do?” My guess? They want to run far away from you and that question. Because they do not know the answer. And not knowing scares them.
The struggle to know your calling is more than real. It is terrifying. But it doesn't have to be.
If you struggle with knowing your calling, or are raising precious souls in search of where they are supposed to be, let me assure you, you are not alone. In fact, most of us have no idea what God is calling us to do. From the young girl with a new job in an unfamiliar town, to the new mom who just changed her 400th diaper, to the woman walking away from an unhealthy relationship and starting over, to the empty nester with, “now what?” echoing in her brain. You are in good company, sweet sisters, and exactly where you are meant to be. And I will tell you why. Actually, Saint Paul in Philippians 3:12-14, will tell you why.
Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Is it any wonder that the answer to our biggest life questions are always found in Scripture and never in an ice cream carton? Paul understood that while we hope and pray to arrive at our goal, the meat of our story is not in the grabbing hold of it, but in the pressing on and through to it. He assures us that while we may not yet have hold of it, the key is to quit worrying about the past, to show up for today, and to continue moving forward towards tomorrow. The prize will come, but it waits for us at the finish line, and there is more race to run. This stretch of road you are on? Good or bad, rough or smooth, it is your present calling. It matters. It is necessary. It is a piece of the crown. Don't worry about your timeline, and definitely don't worry about your friend's timeline. The prize is for who runs the race well, not who gets there first.
Listen up. I know you want to skip past the uphill miles and uncertain roads, and get to the good stuff. But here is the thing: this is the good stuff. The place you are in now? That is the spot you have been called to. It is just one of the many hats you will be called to try on, and whether you wear it forever or toss it after a year, God will use every single thread to weave it into your story and bring Him glory. Your prize is waiting for you at the finish line, and it is worth everything. Ignore the pressure to know, and press on in the unknowing. God knows your calling. And that is all you need to know.
With you in the struggle,
PS I have been making an effort to make Scripture my first go-to when in need of comfort, answers or encouragement...not the kitchen! I would love to know your Scripture go-tos. Email us and we will share it in our Instagram stories!
“A bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench.” Isaiah 42:3
I sat down to write an inspirational reflection on resolutions for the new year. But within five minutes, my seven-year-old's head got slammed by a door (his sister needed PRIVACY), the one-year-old wanted to sit on my lap as I typed, the sixteen-year-old's basketball carpool left without him, and the timer started going off telling me dinner needed to be taken out of the oven. This lovely collection of events made me decide that my New Year's resolution is simply to keep my head above water.
How are you feeling as you head into 2014? Are you tired? Are you in greater need of encouragement than of someone raising the bar and encouraging you to try to reach it? If that's how you're feeling, I want to remind you of the gentleness of the Savior we love and serve. Centuries before Jesus's birth, the prophet Isaiah spoke prophetic words about the Rescuer who was going to come to save us all. “A bruised reed he will not break,” wrote Isaiah, “and a faintly burning wick he will not quench.” If your heart feels bruised, if your life feels like a “faintly burning wick”, then this promise is for you.
So many of us have an image of God as one who sets a high standard, and gets disappointed and perhaps angry when we don't meet it. Is this really who God is? I don't believe so. God knows our limitations. He is very familiar with our weaknesses. While people in our lives may have unrealistic expectations of us, God sees the whole picture and the degree to which we are trying. And when we're weary, He comes to us with arms of comfort, eyes of understanding, and lips that speak encouragement. When we are weakest, He asks that we rest in His lap and lay our head on His strong shoulder. He doesn't want to see us broken; He came to restore us.
This is the heart of the gospel. God saw the chasm that sin created between us. He knew that no matter how hard we tried, we'd never be able to achieve the perfection required to be in His presence. Instead of telling us to jump higher or try harder, He stooped down, and said, “I'll do for you what you can't do for yourself.” Jesus, who had never sinned, allowed all the sins ever committed to be placed on His shoulders. He paid the price of sin so that we wouldn't have to.
Jesus's sacrifice cleared the way so we could have a personal relationship with God. This is a privilege offered to everyone, but enjoyed by relatively few people. Do you know about Jesus, or do you know Him, personally? I don't ask this question as a rebuke, but rather as an invitation. He's inviting you to draw closer.
Once we know Jesus personally, we never need to be lonely again. We no longer have to worry about being perceived as too emotional when we pour out our hearts. We don't have to worry that our private concerns will be gossiped about if we share them with Him. He is the most intimate, true friend, connecting with us- body, soul, and spirit.
Because of Jesus, we can let go of the “try hard life”. We can rest in His all-sufficiency. We can ask the Holy Spirit to run through us like sap in a tree, nourishing us and doing in and through us what we can't do for ourselves. Now that I think about it, that sounds like the best New Year's Resolution of all.
In the words of Jen Hatmaker, “What do you need to ask for every single morning? Patience? Forgiveness? Empathy? Dig deep and figure out what you have the least of and need the most, then storm the gates of heaven for it every morning. Help me today, Lord. We'll worry about tomorrow tomorrow.”
“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God…be glory… now and forever!” Jude 1:24
Happy New Year!