It’s funny how a still, small voice can cut through the noise of a thousand screaming voices in my head. The world pulls at my heart from every direction, each tug proclaiming it’s preeminence. Each one with it’s own argument. Each one pretty convincing.
I’ve always felt the call of the Lord on my life, yet I’ve also felt the “call of the wild.” I’ve never questioned that God has a plan for me, yet it seems I’ve more often lived for myself.
There was a time when I believed God’s call on my life was clear. I knew what I was supposed to do. Someone once said that life is what happens when you have other plans. Life happened. Thereafter I would begin to feel a call again. I assumed that I knew the mind of God, but always found myself experiencing, once again, the shock of having the carpet pulled out from under me. I tried to latch on, like someone swept downstream tries to grab anything to get out of the water, but still the call was elusive.
I am determined to know nothing beyond God’s love for me, the cross of Jesus, and the fact that God has a plan for my life; and one for yours too! I will not force anything to happen. I will trust that God will point me in the right direction when the time comes. I refuse to sit in the back seat whining, “When are we gonna get there?”
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11, ESV). God wants so much more for us than a day-in-day-out, make-money-to-pay-bills, lather-rinse-repeat existence. He has called each and every one of us to greater things! So how do we figure out what He has planned for us? That is the million-dollar question.
While I can’t tell you the exact way that will work for you, I can give you some tips that can help position you to hear from God on the matter.
1. Know that God loves you.
This is paramount. If you do not believe that God loves you infinitely more than anyone else ever could, then you will never be able to find your high calling. Because if you don’t unconditionally believe that he loves you and wants the very best for you, you will never be willing to take a chance. Jeremiah 31:3 says, “The LORD appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you” (ESV). God was speaking to Israel, but the same love and commitment exists for you and I as well. He loves you! Let that sink in.
2. Seek to know your calling.
This may go without saying, but if you aren’t looking for it, chances are you won’t notice it even if you trip over it. Matthew 7:7-8 teaches us to “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened” (ESV). The verbs in those verses are present continuous. Ask, and keep on asking. Seek, and keep on seeking. Knock and keep on knocking.
3. Learn to trust God with the little things in your life.
You will never be able to trust Him with the big things in life, i.e. Your calling, if you can’t trust Him with the small stuff. Jesus said, “do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? …But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you” (Matthew 6:25,33, ESV). Paul affirmed this in his letter to the Philippians, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (4:6, ESV).
4. Develop lifestyle of prayer.
I’m not suggesting that you need to lock yourself in a closet and spend four hours per day in deep prayer and intercession. But there isn’t a single good reason why you can’t continually include the Lord in every part of your day. You don’t need to wait until there’s a great need for which to ask Him. He is interested in being a part of even the little things in life. He’s your brother, and He wants to be your best friend. Talk to Him as you would a best friend!
5. Learn to recognize His voice.
This can only come by following number 2 above, and above all else spending time in His Word. God does not contradict Himself. Ever. You wil always be able to rule out all of the other things that pop into your head when you understand this concept. We interpret the Word of God with the Word of God. The voice of God in your spiritual ears will ALWAYS line up with the written Word of God, the Bible.
6. Learn to instantly obey God in the little things.
This is key. You will never find your true life’s calling without this simple act of obedience. Think about it. How can we expect God to trust us with great responsibility if we are not faithful in the little things? Luke 16:10 tells us, “One who is faithful in very little is also faithful in much” (ESV).
7. Do what your hands find to do.
Volunteer. A lot. You may not realize that you have a gift for something if you never try. If there’s a need for help at the church, meet it. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10, ESV). Look back at point 6. Be faithful in “very little things.”
Once you find an area where the Lord has gifted you, narrow your focus. Then… lather, rinse, repeat. Keep up the work until the Lord moves you to bigger things. Seeking to “go big” before God has opened the doors is futility. Do your work joyfully and faithfully and you will find your calling.