“Does everybody have a calling on their life? If so, what is my calling?”
Like the whole idea of purpose, both the world and Christianity have done a good job of confusing the concept of calling. Or making out like it takes a Master’s degree to figure it out.
And like with purpose, I have good news: figuring out your calling is easier than we’ve been taught.
Yes, everybody has a calling on their life
In fact, most people have more than one calling on their life. First, they have a calling related to the spiritual gift that has been given them. A popular list of spiritual gifts from the New Testament book of Romans looks like this:
- Service (or hospitality),
I know what you’re thinking: “But not everybody is a follower of Jesus!” True. But what is God’s will? That all will come to repentance, right?
So I believe that God places in every person a spiritual gift in preparation that one day they will enter into Truth. I’ll get back to that in a moment.
This gift-related calling is one that God places inside you before you are born, and stays with you your entire life. It may manifest in different ways at different periods of your life, but it is always there. When and how it manifests depends on the skills and knowledge you have gained combined with your circumstances at any point in time. It also (and heavily) depends on how yielded you are to God.
Which brings us back to what non-believers do with their spiritual gifts. Some do nothing. Others operate in their gifts under the power of the devil by starting and leading a cult, or by becoming engaged with demonically-inspired religions such as New Age or Wicca.
Still others recognize and use their gift in a secular way. For example, one given the gift of teaching outside the knowledge of the Kingdom of God often ends up in a classroom setting. A person with the gift of administration will probably end up in management in a corporation, perhaps even heading a corporation.
You might be thinking how sad it is that so much power for God is lost because the lost don’t use – or they misuse – their spiritual gifts.
I think it’s even sadder that many people who profess faith in Jesus don’t use their gifts. Indeed, don’t even recognize them. Reading the articles I linked to a few paragraphs ago will help, if you are one of those.
Let’s move on with how to know your calling.
Your spiritual gift provides an overarching, lifelong calling that looks different at different seasons of your life. In addition, most people receive what I call “mini-callings” throughout their lives. These callings consist of walking out your purpose to create in service to others. They may be purely situational, or they manifest as a passion that a person develops.
A situational calling is easy to fall into. You look around you at the situation you are in and ask, “How can I be of service here? What can I create that will be a blessing to the other people in this situation?”
It may be as simple as creating a friendship with another person. It may involve giving of your finances or skills. It may consist of investing your time to counsel or share your knowledge with other people.
I believe God places a number of situational callings in everybody’s lives, one at a time over each person’s lifetime. If you’ve been wondering what your calling is, you’re probably walking in such a calling right now. The reason you haven’t realized it because you’ve been taught that a “calling” looks like someone preaching from a stage, or a writing bestselling book, or a living in poverty in a Third World country.
Passion-driven callings arise from an intense desire to serve or create in a specific way. Such a desire results either from an innate talent – such as music, construction, or the visual arts – or from a painful experience. The person may have personally experienced the pain, or they empathize strongly with people who have experienced the pain. An easy example of this is a woman who has never been raped, but who knows the fear of becoming a potential victim and understands the horror of this kind of violation and therefore dedicates her life to helping rape victims to heal.
Passion-driven callings are easier to recognize than situational callings for one of two reasons (if not both): the calling raises the person to a place of precedence in society, or it causes the person’s whole life to revolve around it.
All that leads us to the next question…
How do I know what I’m called to do?
You figure out your calling in two ways. First, you study the situation you’re in right now. Are you somehow being a blessing to the world around you in this situation? Then you are doing what you are called to do – at least at this time in your life.
Second, you follow hard after God. You spend time with Him every day, especially in silent prayer, and you live in each moment. As you learn to focus on each moment, aware of what’s going on around you and inside you, you will learn to be led by the Spirit, know which step to take next. The Father loves you, so if you are being faithful to communicate with Him and follow His command to love and serve, He will be faithful to lead you in the right direction.
In other words, stop worrying about “missing” your calling, and get busy being the Father’s love to the world around you! If you do and you’re not in your calling right now, you’ll eventually walk right into it without even trying!
Blessings to you.