What am I here for? What makes me special? How should I spend my money and my time?
Great questions; with a million possible answers.
Go on a retreat. Declutter your home. Start a business. Meet your soul mate. Buy something you’ve always wanted. Move to the country.
These are good things; but not enough to give life meaning. And that’s Christianity 101, right? Life is about getting to know Jesus more; and making Him known to others. But what does this look like in the day to day? Most of us aren’t ordained preachers or heads of corporations. Some of us work and some stay at home. Some are single and some have families. Some are wealthy and some are struggling to get by. Some are young and strong; others feel that the best has already passed.
Some have obvious talents and a clear ministry field; but for others, God’s purposes are a complete mystery. So what does it mean to have a ‘calling?’ How do I know what God wants me to do with my life?
- Know that you are here for a reason and shaped in a particular way.
- Find your passion; and live it out. The things you love doing and really care about. The things you’re good at.
- Plan out your priorities. If, for example, you’ve got three under-fives (I think this is possible – yes) or you’re caring for elderly parents, then this is a big part of your calling.
- Ask God to show you.
- Ask your friends — the ones who know you and know God.
- Say yes to random or odd opportunities, even if you’re a bit scared of them.
- Where is the need? Don’t do something if you really can’t bear it, but there’s something to be said for serving because no-one else is doing it.
- Break it down. You don’t need to know God’s 20-year plan. You just need to follow him today.
- Don’t romanticise other people’s lives and callings. The grass is not greener on the other side of the fence.
- Look very carefully at all the reasons God may have placed you where you are. He’s good at his job, so there will definitely be some!
- As a default: stay where you are and bloom where you’re planted. If you’re changing nappies and going to playgroups — do it in His strength. If you’re studying for a doctorate or contributing to the Human Genome Project, do it for His glory. If you’re stuck in one room, keep going. One of the most gifted evangelists I know is a friend who is usually too unwell to leave her house. But she’s opened it to others and is available in a way that no-one else is. God is using her in very powerful ways.
- Expect that your calling may change and don’t despise it. There was a period in my life when I was able to travel, speak and write more widely than I do now. But at the moment my ministry is closer to home and one that’s just as valuable.
- Don’t mistake your calling for your identity. Your identity is in Jesus and is completely apart from anything you do or say or are! This frees you to serve without being defined by it.
- Ask – are my gifts blessing others, especially the church?
- Remember that fulfilling your calling is not about performing perfectly. It’s about playing your part in the role God has for you right now.
Stuck for ideas? Here are some of the ways you can serve your church…
praying; volunteering e.g. for sound system or notices; welcoming team, the music; stuffing envelopes; financial giving; leading or participating in small groups; cooking meals for those who can’t; visiting; praying (so good we can do it more than once); encouraging others (e.g. telling your vicar specifics about how the sermon helped you); listening; cleaning; giving lifts; making sure there’s enough loo roll; helping with social media; inviting friends out; inviting friends over; sending cards; sending text messages; opening your home; grieving with those who have lost someone; taking photos at events; sharing any books or websites you have found helpful; telling your story; directing traffic in the carpark; collecting empty cups; encouraging another single person or mum or visitor or someone you know is struggling.
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17