The first time I read Paul’s book, Quarter Life Calling, I wept. The impact of having words to finally express the frustration, dissatisfaction and defeat I had felt for the last 2 years was such a relief. That was 2 years ago almost to the day and I can’t believe how much God has done in my life because I trusted him to lead me where He needed me most. After dropping out of college, I fell into a deep depression and anxiety ruled my life. I suddenly felt like my life had no meaning and that my dreams were never going to be reached after failing to pursue a Bachelor’s degree. Grief ruled my life and I thought I would never find the “right” path that would lead to my calling and purpose. Paul’s book was an invaluable resource in this journey, however there are a few things I wish I had known before stepping out in faith to pursue my calling.
1. Your Calling is Not About You
We ruin many good things in life because we make them about us. At times, I was pursuing my calling because I was trying to fill a void that only Christ could fill in my heart. I was trying to inflate my ego by finding that “thing” or that innate born talent that no one else could possess. Dropping out of college was a shock to my ego and confidence and I frantically began searching for purpose and “the next big thing in my life”. When pursuing your calling, be sure to check yourself on the daily that you’re pursuing such a high honor for the right reasons. Daily meditating on Scripture, seeking wise counsel of those you trust and reflecting on why you are asking such big, but important questions are imperative for making sure you’re pursuing your calling and not something else. You don’t have worth because of your calling or purpose, you have worth in God’s sight, merely because you were born.
2. The Mystery of Calling is a Journey, Enjoy It
When I look back, the angst and irritation I felt on this journey were essential to acting upon my convictions, but sometimes they overshadowed the goodness and the gift of the process this journey can be.
When you learn to fall in love with the process of growth, you learn to fall in love with life and the very place God has you in right now.
More than anything, it’s a journey to truly trust God, have more assurance in your faith and believe in the hope of God’s creation. You will meet new people, begin relationships you may never thought you would have and impact the lives without knowledge that you even did anything. There is camaraderie waiting for you, you sometimes just need to go find those people to go on this journey with you. Just as God sent out Paul with Barnabas, you’re not created to go on this journey alone.
3. Your Calling May Very Well Not Be What You Think It May Be
Never once did I set out to end where I am today specifically, but I’m so happy and grateful to be here. My expectations for life are so very different from the results, but they’re 10 times better than I ever dreamed they could be. One of the exercises in Paul’s book is to ask people what they think your strengths are. I was stunned at the results and realized I had some rethinking to do. Many told me that I was gifted at tasks that I considered lowly and boring, however once I realized how I could serve people with my strengths, those strengths no longer became boring and lowly, but an honor to serve people with.
One person’s calling may be serving HIV patients in Swaziland Africa while another could be living in Ohio and being the best father they can be. The Comparison Game is a losing game where we rarely come out on top. Always remember that your calling can change with the ebbs and flows of life, just as the seasons of life come and go. Success and calling are so different and unique for each person, consider it a gift that no season is the same and that our heart’s desire can change for what God yearns for us to experience.
More than anything, where God may lead you to go, remember that we already each have the highest calling, and that is, “to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3).
Although we each have individual and unique callings and gifts, God has graced every single one of us with the gift of His Holy Spirit and challenges us with the pursuit of the highest calling: serving Jesus Christ and those around us daily.