For the Sake of the Call
Copyright 2005, Joshua Wood
There's nothing more precious than knowing you're where you're "supposed" to be. As people, and more specifically as people of faith, we are always searching for the niche, that perfect fit, that will assure us we've found what we were put on this earth to do.
For some reason, many Christians aren't content until they have been given not just a "calling," but an intense emotional experience to accompany it.
If only I could feel it...
There is this widespread misunderstanding that God only communicates his will through miraculous signs and wonders. Yes, God does use what we call miracles. But often we miss the basic miracle that God is communicating with us at all because we're looking for our burning bush or Damascus road experience. We want the heavens to part for us as they parted in the days of the Bible.
We're a special effects people demanding a laser-light show from a God that prefers the simplicity of a still, small voice.
We look at everything in terms of God's call. And we almost always mean an intense emotional experience.
For example, a majority of Christians would refer to their salvation experience as the moment when God broke them down and brought them to their knees.
I'm glad he did, but they don't see the gentle awakening of their soul, the awareness of God and their need of Him leading up to that emotional moment.
People refer to their calling as that vocation, career or ministry they are most emotionally drawn towards. They say things like "I just felt it in my heart that I had to do this." Or: "My heart was broken and I was brought to my knees... and that's when I knew I had to do this..."
Again, I'm thrilled that they've found their calling (if indeed they have), but what if they had never had a tearful weakness in the knees? Would they still have recognized their calling? Would it be the same calling? Or would they have searched high and low for some other emotional experience to ascribe "call" to?
What are you getting at, Josh?
If God uses our emotions to guide us into his plan for us, then I say "great!"
But if we assume that our emotions are the voice of God, or that if there's no emotional response then it can't be God, then we're going to surely miss the voice of God the majority of the time.
Just recently I was in a ministry situation and the leader of the group was discussing the roles of the individuals in the group. This is a group that requires specific talents and passions for the members to participate. The discussions centered around the contemporary understanding of "call." Statements like, "I don't expect each of you to be called to this specific ministry to participate."
But what about our specific talents and passions?
Isn't giving me certain abilities and placing me in a certain situation a calling? Doesn’t God expect me to use all my abilities and passions and interests and intellect to his glory?
Sounds like a calling to me.
Yet, we're so wrapped up in our desire to have the assurance of an emotional response (as if we could ever be sure when our emotions are our guide) that we often miss the most basic truth that God is not stupid and he does not waste time or effort.
He did not give me a certain passion and not call me to use it to his glory. He did not give me a certain talent and not expect me to train it and develop it to be used to his glory.
Oh, and did I forget to mention the role the Bible plays in guiding Christians into appropriate lifestyles? And we're so lazy. We'll spend hours fixating on finding God's calling while we miss a world of opportunities that the Bible defines as our calling.
My favorite is the "I'm currently not involved in ministry because I'm waiting for God to show me where he wants me."
I think emotions are fine. They're also God-given. They have a very useful role. But when our emotional reaction is the litmus test of the yearning of the Holy Spirit, then we are listening to the wrong voices.
Stop basing your life's direction on how you feel God wants you to live it. He's given us more than enough information to know how to live the life he's called us to.
And if he wants something more specific, he'll tell you. You may or may not feel it, but you'll certainly hear it.
Lucky for you, I felt called to write this.
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I liked the last line.. Thanks for sharing your message. God bless, littlelight
Very well written and you were clear in what you were saying. I agree with you that we miss God's voice so much. He's not in the emotions, He's speaks in that still small voice in our spirit. God bless and keep writing.