If you’re a second generation Asian who grew up in the States, you’re probably very familiar with this dream. It’s the promise that studying hard to become a prestigious professional such as a doctor or lawyer will be the solution to all your problems.
But after going down this path that was laid out for you, you probably realized one huge problem.
This dream was never yours.
It was the dream of your parents who were never able to get the success you got because they were busy working countless hours for you just to get by and put food on the table.
They wanted to make sure you were able to survive, so they overcompensated by lighting a fire under your butt and making sure you worked harder than ever.
You followed the rules. You studied like your parents told you to. You got into the good school. You got the stable job with the nice benefits and now you’re an adult doing what all responsible adults should be doing.
But for some reason, there’s an itch inside of you for something more.
You can’t help but ask yourself, “Is this it?”
You thought you’ve gotten your life all figured out, but for some reason, you now feel more lost then ever.
You find yourself daydreaming a bit too much about what life would be like doing something else.
You begin to lose sleep desperately trying to figure out what you are missing out on what God wants to do with your life.
You begin to dread waking up each morning having to go into a job you know is not helping you grow.
And as every day is passing bay, you feel yourself drifting further and further away from where you want to be.
And this is when the reality hits.
You’re stuck and you don’t have the slightest idea what to do about it.
To drop everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve in order to pursue something else seems ridiculous and irresponsible.
But deep down, the truth is still there. You’ve been living the life someone else wanted you to live, not the one God wanted you to.
However, there’s an even harsher truth.
You probably haven’t done much as you should in taking action to live out your true calling because it’s much easier to live a life someone else wants you to.
The biggest paradigm shift for me was yes, while my mother was a bit controlling over me and at times I blamed her for feeling so lost with my life, the real reason I never discovered my calling and lived it out was that I was too afraid to do so.
It was easier to dream of a great life rather than do the hard work it takes to achieve it.
And the scariest part is once you take ownership of the one life you have, you have no one to blame if things go wrong. At least following someone else’s path gave me the right to blame them.
Discovering God’s calling for your life often lacks the detailed how-to instructions and this is why many end up confused about what it is. And because they’re confused, this often leads to inaction. At least the Asian American Dream gives a specific roadmap on how to get into a good school and how to get a good job, but that’s not how God works. His plan is so much bigger than we can ever comprehend.
1) God’s Calling For Your Life is Not a Formula
“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” Hebrews 11:8
When God called Abraham, He never gave him some sort of detailed map. In fact, to the average person at the time, it probably seemed like he was just wandering around aimlessly because the promised land wasn’t obtained until a few generations later many years after Abraham’s death.
I’ve realized that for most of my life, I was desperate to find my true calling, but I was too afraid to live it out even if I knew.
God’s calling is more of an absolute direction that you should steer your life towards.
It involves stepping into the unknown and trusting in a God who always delivers on His promise. This is where your faith must come in because it will be a scary journey at times.
2) God’s Calling Isn’t Meant to Give You a Sense of Safety and Security
God called Abraham when he was 75 years old. Imagine being at his age and having retired in Florida somewhere for several years and God calls you to drop all your things and leave. There’s no map or any sort of detailed instructions except to just go.
If we saw anyone doing this during our day and age, we most definitely would consider the person out of his mind.
When God calls you, He never asks you to settle, but instead asks you to keep moving forward.
This is because He is calling out the person He has always created you to be and in order to let this person come out, it can only occur when we give every ounce of ourselves to Him.
I never met Abraham, but I’m pretty sure he was afraid when God called Him. It definitely showed in his actions when he went to Egypt and told his wife, Sarah, to pretend to be his sister so that they don’t try to kill him.
Connecting intimately with the Creator of the universe helps convict us that serving Him fully is what’s most important even more than some of the deepest fears that strike us in our lives.
I think Franklin D. Roosevelt was spot on when he said “Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”
When living out God’s calling becomes more important to us than the fears that hold us back, that’s when we will find the courage to take the faithful actions necessary.
3) God’s Calling Isn’t Always About What You Are Doing, But it Has Everything to do With Who You Are Becoming.
Deep within yourself, there are things God has crafted you with that enables you to become the person you were meant to become.
The reality though, is that life is hard and some of us spend most of our lives in survival mode just to pay the bills and put food on the table, but the best way to honor God with our lives is to utilize everything he has given us.
If we bury our passions and talents because we’re too busy for them, we will never become the people God intended us to become.
God created us with great intentions with a unique set of skills and a burning fire for certain purpose, but until we take the time to intimately connect with and cultivate them, we will never find our true calling.
So take a moment to slow down today and ask yourself, “Am I moving towards the life I was created to live or is the way I’m living causing me to drift away from it?”
Present this as a prayer to God and give Him the space to help you uncover what makes you most alive and then take action to work with what He gives you.
Then you’ll be on your way to living out your unique calling.