Posts Tagged ‘vocation’

Finding Your Way

August 13, 2016

“How can I find out what God created me to do?”  Many of us struggle with this issue.  I imagine many of us think God’s plan for our lives is something we have to struggle to find out. In reality God is already working in our lives, planning ahead of time what we are to do and preparing us for it as well.   Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are God’s workmanship, created for a life of good works which God has already prepared for us to do.”   I believe we can rest assured that God will put those opportunities before us that lead us to what He would have us do.  Another clue is what we are talented at doing.  Since God created and awarded all of us with certain talents, they will match what we are to do.  The third thing is what gives us joy.  God is no sadist, and a clue to our calling is the kind of work we love.  It would be rare that God would expect us to make a long term commitment to something we hate doing (it would be only if He changes us first).  So in short, God won’t let us get too far off the track.  If our hearts are in the right place, the place where opportunity for good, our talent and our joy intersect is our “sweet spot” –the place we belong..

My Unique Calling

March 8, 2011

A few years ago I heard the question asked in a bible study “What is God calling you to do that only you can do?”  When I thought about that at some length it became apparent to me that there are indeed some vocations that only some people can do with great effectiveness.  When I look at those things only I can do, it certainly narrows the field of possibilities, clarifying my choices.  For instance, if I am in a field where a license is required, only license holders can do what I do.  If specialized life experience is required to have credibility, only those with that life experience can do that job credibly.  If certain education is required, only those with that education can do it, etc.  Expanding on that thought, where should I minister as a vocation or avocation?  I can look at my background.  Do I belong to an ethnic group that gives me credibility with that group?  Do I speak a language that allows me to minister to those who speak that language as their first language?  Do I have membership in a group that gives me an entrance to its meetings?  Do I belong to a professional group that gives me voice with them?  Do I have a unique life experience or even a disability that gives me insight into and fellowship with certain groups of people?  All these questions can give me insight into a certain vocation, ministry or calling where God may be leading me because I would be doing something “only I could do” with credibility and maximum effectiveness.

Doing my Best

March 8, 2011

Once in awhile I like to examine my life and see where I’ve come and where I’m headed.  I want to give God my very best.  Of course, I never reach my goals, but we tell students to always reach high, because even if they don’t make it they’ll travel farther than if they reached for the low pickings.  With that in mind, here is my meditation.

Am I giving my best to God in my prayer life?  Do I give God some quality time each day, and do I speak honestly to Him whatever is on my heart?  Do I remember to thank Him for who He is and all He has done in His world and for me personally?   Prayer “on the hoof” is part of “Praying always”, but if thats all I give Him, its superficial.  Do I have an appointment with Him each day?

Am I giving God my best in study and thinking?  So many of us think our education ends when we graduate, but in reality that was always supposed to be the doorway to learning on our own.  Do I really study the bible?  Do I read commentaries so I understand the context and history better?  Do I read learned authors?  Do I study and form opinions about the great issues of the day?  If I spend my time on inane activities and entertainment, I am not giving my mind the food it needs to serve me well, and I’ll live a shallow life.

Do I do my best helping others?  Do I take time to notice what is going on around me?  Do I notice what is going on in the world?  Am I doing something about what I see?  I may not be able to do much about suffering in far off lands, but there is suffering going around me in the people I see every day.  Do I look beyond the surface in the events happening around me in the workplace, in my neighborhood, and in the people I see every day ?

Am I doing my best with my finances?  The money God has given me is His, and He has made me manager of it.  Am I managing well?  Am I conserving and growing what He gave me so that I can financially support worthy projects and help others, or do I use my money mostly selfishly?

Am I giving my best to serve God’s work?  Do I use all the gifts, time and ability He gave me wisely to serve His work in the world?  Its great to serve in a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving, but if he gave me the ability to manage things, maybe my best service is to be on the board of the ministry that runs the soup kitchen.   If God gave me counseling ability, maybe I should be counseling the patrons of the soup kitchen on a weekly basis.  It all depends on my gifts.  I can’t be what I’m not, but I can be the best me that I am.

Am I giving my best in sharing the thoughts, faith, hope and encouragement God has given me?  Do I offer words of encouragement and hope to those who seem to need them most, whether spoken words or written words?  With texting and e-mail, instant messaging and all, its so easy now to offer someone some words of support.

The way I read the words of Jesus, I think he looks at our lives through two lenses.  One is how much we love Him.  We show that in two ways–our prayer life and our love for others.  The second lens is what we did with what He gave us.

No, I don’t meet my own standards, and for that the skeptic would call me a hypocrite.  But I really do believe these things, and I want to be faithful in trying to attain them.   My reach exceeds my grasp, but may I never stop reaching until I meet Him in Heaven.

Knowing my Ministry

February 17, 2010

When I wonder what is my calling, I have to remember that it may change over time.  I am first of all a servant of Jesus.  Whenever I see needs in the lives of the people around me, or needs in the ministries I support, I am receiving a cue from Jesus.  In filling these needs I have noticed, I will be walking in the ministry He has prepared for me.

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  Eph 2:10

What Do I Want

September 21, 2009

When it comes to the world of work, I think our default setting is “What do I want?”  We ask children from a young age what they want to be when they grow up.  However, while what we like and what we are good at are similar most times, questionnaires and tests to find out what we like may be asking the wrong question when we are trying to find out our vocation or calling.  It is indeed useful to know our talents and gifts, but the next question ought to be, what kinds of things are God and his people doing around me.  When I see a field of work or organization or ministry that grabs my passion, then I need to ask what is my fit in that place.  What can I do to advance the work of this entity with the gifts and skill sets I possess.  We ought to be asking, “where can I be the best I can possibly be for God?”.  We love God and the more we love Him, the less we want to give him mediocrity.  Asking how to give Him the very best development of everything He has given me, is a different question than “What do I Want?”  Its a God-centered and God’s work centered question rather than a “me” centered question.

Finding your calling

February 25, 2008

The fifth most important thing in life is to find your calling.  I do really consider this to be one of the top 10 most important things in life, because its one that a lot of people miss, and I think they go through life with a low grade grief because of missing it.

How do you begin to find your calling?  Well, how come we named it a “calling” anyway?  Its something God made you to do, and in a sense He “calls” you to be doing it.  The word vocation comes from the latin word for “call”, because in those days life was more about God and less about “me” than it is today.  Still the “call”, even though it comes from God, is meant for you and is specifically for you.  God tailored you for it.  He gave you abilities, interests and passions, so you would fit the call.  Therefore, the three questions to ask yourself are:  “What am I good at?”  “What do I love to do?” and “What do I really care about?”  One of these days when our “best self” is driving, its good to think about the answers to these questions.  I say when our “best self” is on the job, because to get good answers you have to have somebody good doing the answering.  Days when I’m selfish, vain or otherwise full of myself are days when I am not going to get good answers to the three questions. 

If I ask myself “What am I good at?”, I’d better be brutally honest with myself.  Better yet, I should ask a few other people who may have a less biased and therefore more realistic answer.  I had thought myself quite good at music and art and fancied myself famous one day in one or both of those fields.  That was until an art professor told me I should buy a camera instead, and the music director told me I had no sense of rhythm and no voice either.  Quite a disappointment, to be sure, but then my motive was wrong.  I mostly wanted to be famous, and thats never a good motive.

The second question, “What do I love to do?” might be somewhat easier.  There are two pitfalls here, though.  The first is that a lot of people are martyrs at heart and think nothing worth doing is valuable unless you suffer in order to do it.  These people feel God’s will is always to be doing something very difficult and sacrificial.  What a pathetic view of God!  I’m sure He’s very disappointed!  In fact, a Christian author, J.I. Packer says that where our interest and delight collide with our duty, that is where we find our calling.  If God wants me to do something and He wants me to do it for more than a couple of weeks, and He would like to see a good job done, then He will make me with the ability to do it, interest in it and enjoyment in doing it.  He’s the smartest of us all, and we ought to give Him credit for it.

The other pitfall is we think we like to do a thing and actually we just very much admire the people who are doing it.  We think they are so wonderful and we want to be as wonderful as we think they are, so we want to do what they do.  As I said, I loved music, and I so admired good singers.  It wasn’t until the community choir director (not at all as nice as the choir director at church who put up with all sorts of things) told me I sounded like a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, that I realized I didn’t actually like singing all that much–I just wanted to be like the singers I admired.  If you’re not sure of the difference, just try out the thing you think you would like doing and see what happens.  You will either love doing it and be good at it, or you won’t.  And, by the way, you’ll never love doing something you’re bad at, at least not for long.  Frustration is quite a joy killer.

Speaking of cats singing, we used to lie awake on summer nights listening to the cats singing through the open windows.  After awhile my father would yell out “Oh for crying out loud, she said no!”  Of course, this has nothing to do with our topic, but since it was cute and we did mention cats, I decided to include it.  Now we’ll go on to our third question.

What is your passion?  What do you really care about?  The answer to this might come out of your personal experience, something you have seen or something you have read about, but you will realize you care about it very, very much.  It might be needy children, or the sick, or seeing people succeed in business, or seeing a house constructed, or seeing a field harvested.  Whatever it is, you will care deeply, and it will be part of your package.

Whenever you find a place where the three answers intersect, you will be in the general vicinity of your calling.  For instance, if you love animals, you’re very good at science and you care very much about the welfare of animals, you might be a veteranarian.  If you also love the outdoors, you might be a park ranger.  In my case, I loved children and homemaking, I was good at homemaking, and I felt strongly about being a homemaker, so that is what I did and never outgrew it until my dear husband died after the boys had grown.  That is when I began writing.  I love writing, and I only write about things I feel passionate about.  Am I any good at writing, well you will have to answer that for yourself, won’t you?  The wonderful thing about writing is who can say when its good?  Its rather like beauty, in the eye of the beholder.