Are You Ignoring Your Call?
Ever notice how some people seem to know from a very early age what they should do with their lives? They feel driven to write or to paint, to kick a soccer ball or to study primates, to fight injustice or to discover the laws governing the universe. Think Pablo Picasso, Jane Goodall, Patrick Mahomes, or even Stephen Hawking. They will sacrifice time and money, reputation and relationships, and sometimes even their health for the sake of this defining passion. If they were prevented from pursuing their desire, their life would seem to them to be hollow.
When people talk about calling or vocation, they often have this sort of thing in mind. A calling defines who we are, and being who we are makes life worth living. But we know that most of us will not experience a world-changing calling. And if we think only that type of calling matters, we'll live an unfulfilled life. But the real world is full of cashiers, plumbers, teachers, construction workers, bus drivers, and more, who all live rich rewarding lives. Those who feel their lives are worth living are those who don't find meaning in their jobs, but in the opportunities those jobs offer to help other people.
What seems to be the difference between a fulfilled person and one who is unfulfilled is whether he or she has a purpose in life. Being true to ourselves gives us the clarity of purpose. How can we be our true selves? Being our true selves is not doing whatever we feel like doing or saying whatever is on our minds or having everything we want. We are our true selves when we live into our essence. Being our true self is something we grow into or, conversely, something we fail to do. Of course, becoming ourselves involves shedding old ways and old assumptions. We were created in the image of God. So, to be our true selves is to love what God loves how God loves it. It involves taking on patterns of behaving and thinking that initially seem anything but natural to us, like forgiving people who aren't sorry, or giving to those who haven't earned it, or loving our enemies.
In other words, becoming your true self involves changing who you are. That’s what growth is, after all. When a potential becomes an actuality, an old actuality passes away. Think acorns and oak trees. Or, better yet, think Simon Peter and Andrew. Remember Andrew? He was a follower of John the Baptist, and when John pointed out the Messiah, he followed Jesus. He spent awhile with Jesus and went to find his brother Simon, to show him the Messiah. That's the bulk of what he did - but what an important job-- what if he hadn't done it? Remember, Jesus met Simon and changed his name to Peter, the Rock. Peter's work was the foundation of the church, but both jobs, his and Andrew's, were callings.
Jesus called Peter to be somebody, to be the image of God in whatever circumstances he found himself. In this Jesus showed us how to love in our ordinary lives. Whatever our jobs may be, whatever activities may fill our days, we can make our lives an expression of love. We can pursue our calling. We can strive to love what God loves how God loves it. If you want to find your calling, follow the example of Jesus. Take every present moment, no matter how mundane or stressful or baffling, as an opportunity to love.-- excerpts taken from "How to Find Your Calling," by Jake Owensby, Ministry Matters