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Mar 22 2015

HOW TO DISCOVER YOUR CALLING

How to Discover your Calling“Z, come on, baby! It’s time for your bath…Z…I’m not kidding, come on!” If I’ve yelled it once, I’ve yelled it a thousand times. Our routine is that I tell him it’s time, and he whines. I start the water, and he hides. So I call a few more times, and he finally shows up, usually by jumping out of hiding and trying to scare me. Anything to get in one more moment of playtime. The irony is that once he’s in the bath, he never wants to get out because he has so much fun playing in the water. So why doesn’t my child just come when he hears me calling? I’m going to go out on a limb and say you’ve been there.

I’m guessing at some point in your life you’ve also been on the other side of a calling. You knew God was calling you to something, but perhaps you delayed in answering. Maybe you’re delaying, still. I wish I could say I can’t relate to you. It would be nice if I could tell you that I’ve never missed that boat. “Follow me because I have this down pat” would be a much easier post to write. That, however, would make me a big fat liar, so I’ll be honest instead. I’m grappling with this daily, more so than I ever have in my life. Mid-forties and still wrestling with purpose–weren’t we all supposed to have this figured out by the time we turned twenty-one? Not following God’s plan or his calling on my life isn’t so much a matter of not wanting to be obedient. It’s much more a question of “what?” and “how?” than anything else. At least, that’s how I was approaching it, but I’m learning there is a simpler way.

Last month in my prayer journal, I wrote this:

Lord, I realized something. One of the reasons why I learn spiritual lessons through raising Z so much more easily than I do any other way is because that is where my heart is soft and fertile. I’m a bit jaded elsewhere, unfortunately, but I’m open-hearted and open-minded where he is concerned. It’s amazing to me how You meet me wherever I am. You pursue me. I love parenting Z, so You meet me there. I love writing, so You meet me there…

And then I felt like He dropped this thought into my heart: Maybe you love it there because that’s where I am.

That idea rattled me, so I spent a lot of time thinking about it. We talk about the Lord calling us to something, and we fixate on the word “calling,” but for the first time I thought about the significance of the tiny little word “to”. Let me give an example to illustrate why it matters. If I call my son to eat, it’s because I’m in the kitchen with dinner ready. I don’t call him to eat dinner when I’m in the shower. If I call him to get in the car so we can go somewhere, it’s because I’m at the door and ready to go. I don’t call him to get in the car when I’m sleeping. In other words, when I call him to something, my presence is already there.

I thought God was finding the place where my heart is most open so He could teach me, but I believe it is more a matter of my heart being most open there because that’s where He is and where He is calling me to be.

Where is your heart most tender and receptive? Where does it feel at peace? There’s a good chance that you feel safe there because that’s the place to which He’s calling you.

Old Comfortable ShoesThere are many inspirational quotes and philosophies that will tell you to do the thing that scares you. I believe in that too. Facing your fear is what takes your calling to the next level, but it’s not the place where you first discover it…or even rediscover it. For example, writing is one of my “safe” places. It feels comfortable like a pair of old shoes. Stringing words together soothes my soul. There is nothing scary at all about that.  Starting a blog, on the other hand, and putting my thoughts in public view? Where my words could either inspire or flop completely? That is where I faced my fear in order to take one of my callings to the next level. Do you see what I mean?

So where is your heart still tender and not cynical? Where is it at ease? Perhaps you’re drawn there because that’s where God is, and He wants to speak to you in that place. Let yourself go there without having it all figured out. Spend some time in that safe, cozy place, and settle into it like a pair of old, comfortable shoes. Linger and listen. You might find that your calling is easier to discover than you think, and maybe God wants you to lace up the old, comfortable shoes again for a reason.  Life’s road is often hard, and those old shoes might be the friend that helps you stay the course.

From the heart of Dixie Mama… always say grace.

 

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