If you ask people in ministry about their “calling” they give you the answer about what they now “do” for Jesus. You know what I mean. We are “called” to be youth pastors. However, I believe that “calling” is a far more transformational experience than any “one thing.”
I remember once having a conversation with the office manager in our ministry, “I don’t really get where this idea of calling comes from? Everyone is always talking about it. I can’t really say I know what it is.”
This got me thinking about how often we categorize this idea. We often site God literally “calling out” to Samuel in the middle of the night to be a prophet or Jesus “calling” the disciples to follow Him as our Biblical examples of the concept. Therefore, it obviously has to do with being in the service of ministry. What is funny is that in both of these examples the “point” was that these men would be willing to be close to the Lord following Him where He goes. In the process they would have words to speak and tasks to perform.
The problem of course is that we get caught up in the tyranny of the “or” instead of the grace of the “and.” We think we have to be “called” to be one thing: Pastor OR Homeschooler OR Stay-At-Home Mom OR Missionary. The issue with this way of thinking is there lacks space for any “extras” that the Lord might have for us. We can ONLY be a part of this OR that.
I know what it doesn’t look like:
We wouldn’t be about miracles OR healing OR feeding people OR taking care of the broken. We wouldn’t be preaching in the church OR on the streets. We wouldn’t care about one people group OR another. We wouldn’t decide we have to be an evangelist OR a Mom OR a worker OR a this OR a that.
Instead, in being with Jesus we become willing to move with Him, realizing He uses each experience to transform us more into His likeness. In my own journey I started out with the Lord showing me a generation of youth who did not know Him. This led me to be a youth pastor in a rural setting then He brought me to the suburbs. Then He walked me through the door of an inner city ministry and planted me there. In the midst of this He sent me a partner in my husband. He moved me from singly being with him to serving Him with another. A little while later as we continued on He blessed us with children. I thought this meant I had to choose my kids OR youth ministry. Instead, He reminded me that my husband and children are part of the journey with Him. He showed me how to not focus on them OR others. While this lesson was in process He called my family to move into the community we serve and be neighbors to the hurting and broken. As I reached out to the students He showed me that I couldn’t be about youth without caring about their parents. He showed me that I was believing that only “some” parents would truly engage with their children. Along the way I realized the power of family ministry. Now he challenges me with what the definition of family ministry is WHILE being a wife AND raising four kids AND being a part of a local church body AND learning to be closer to Him. See what He did there? Embracing my own calling is far more than any one “thing.”
Recently, someone asked me what I want to “do” next. It was a hard question to answer. I could tell them about my passions, and the cry of my heart. However, I realized that to fit these ideas into a job description was not my “calling” at all. It’s about the willingness to be molded by the Lord as I go with Him it includes the word “and” far more often than the word “or.”
What about you?
How do you embrace YOUR calling?