Forget About Your Calling
*The irony is not lost on me that if you scroll through our feed you will come across a blog titled, On Finding Your Calling. Consider this a foot note, not a contradiction. My biggest issue with the term “Calling” lies in how its definition has become distorted over the years.
If you had asked me what I wanted to be as a little girl, I would have told you decisively and consecutively that I wanted to be a runner, a singer, and an artist. I ran my first race in elementary school, received my first easel and plump set of oils around the same age, and music has been in my family and my life for as long as I can remember.
A lot of times when the topic of a calling comes up, one of the first questions we get asked is what we wanted to be as a child. Perhaps because it was an unadulterated season of our lives that had not yet been polluted by doubt and reason. And I think there is a lot of truth to this theory. However, I also think there is a level of toxicity behind the pressures placed on Millennials to “find their calling” in the workforce and in life. What originated as a longing to find purpose and our “place” in the midst of a bigger story being told, we have inadvertently put an almost insatiable amount of pressure on ourselves to reach a very specific destination.
For those of us “lucky enough” to feel assured in what our callings are, how can we be absolutely certain when we have reached them? And for the rest of us, the concept of a calling feels like a cruel game of hide and seek with God while we waste years of our lives away trying to discover this elusive concept. If I’m being honest, I’m guilty of both mentalities.
Today, if you were to ask me what I am passionate about, I would tell you creativity and worship. Not a whole lot has changed since I was a wide-eyed little girl with big dreams and journals filled with poetry and drawings. But for years, I have lived under this self-inflicted pressure of precisely how my life ought to look and how those desires ought to play out. It plagued me in choosing a major, has caused unnecessary amounts of discontentment in my past job pursuits, and even induced an anxiety and hesitancy when deciding whether or not to try for children. Instead of seeing my calling as a unique instrument and life as a blank collection of sheet music, I was constantly questioning whether or not I had missed the mark, when all I was actually missing was the beautiful life in front of me.
Since these discoveries, I’ve since had to shift my mindset to allow room for freedom and mistakes. If my calling didn’t begin until I landed that dream job, did that mean life up until that point was just about buying time? Could somehow the seasons of growing and waiting and learning and becoming and “figuring it out” be just as critical in living a life that is full and filled with purpose and joy?
I think too often, despite our best intentions, we wind up idolizing the very instruments God has given us to worship Him with.
At the risk of sounding counter-cultural or even contradictory to the Christian narrative, I want to remove some of the pressure you might be experiencing in this season. I believe there are guidelines set in place to help us reach our fullest potential as humans, but I also believe there is inexplicably more freedom than we give ourselves. In each season, if I can answer a couple of questions for myself, I can be assured (as much as any one person can) that I am where I’m supposed to be:
Am I using my gifts and my passion to love others well? (1 Peter 4:10)
Am I pointing others to Christ in the process? (Matthew 28:19 - The Great Commission)
If I can answer these questions, it no longer matters that I am still in process, because the truth is, I always will be to some extent. I think too often, despite our best intentions, we wind up idolizing the very instruments God has given us to worship Him with. Let us never forget that the job we obsess over, the house and kids we so desperately want, and the talents we’ve been blessed with were never meant to define us. They were always tools to help us paint the most honest, beautiful picture we knew how.