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3 Steps to Better Understand Your Calling

Posted on: December 7th, 2011 by Dr. Angela Bisignano

Beautiful happy woman running freely on the beach

Nothing in life compares to the significance of pursuing the high calling of God. Think about it for a moment. Do you know what God is calling you to? In our busy and hectic lives it is easy to miss it. How do we know what He is calling us to? There certainly are a lot of good things we can be doing with our time; yet, the more important question may be “Are we doing what God wants us to be doing?”

What is a calling anyway?

Any conversation about calling perks up ears. People are interested in discovering and living out their calling. But what exactly is a calling? Os Guinness defines it this way, “Calling is the truth that God calls us to Himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is invested with a special devotion, dynamism, and direction lived out as a response to His summons and service.”

Our calling is the knowledge that God first calls us to Himself; it is our best understanding of who He has created us to be; and what He desires us to do. It’s the very thing that if you are listening well, inspires, fuels, and gives your life meaning. Your calling is how you can make an everlasting difference and bring glory to God.

How do we find our calling?

There is no formula for discovering God’s calling for your life. We could never fit God’s ways into a box. Discovering our calling is a dynamic and personal journey with God. We deepen our understanding as we listen to how God speaks to our hearts. If you haven’t already started this wonderful journey, here are some ways to get going on this exciting adventure:

  • Live an Examined Life. This means taking time out to discover how God has created you. Be willing to look at yourself: where you have come from, where you are at now, and where you are going. This also entails understanding who you are not. Living an examined life means taking time to reflect, pray, and discover where God is leading you.
  • Clarify Your Giftedness and Passion. Learn how God has uniquely created you. There are fewer things in life that bring more joy and a feeling of truly being alive than pursuing a calling that matches your giftedness and passion. Understand what your unique abilities, strengths, spiritual gifts, and life experiences are all about. How can you use all of your giftedness to have influence and make an impact for the Kingdom of God? Use the Bible, books, assessment tools, sermons, or whatever helps you to become all God has created you to become. God made only one you, dare to make a vibrant contribution in this world.
  • Live an Intentional Life. Spend quality time with God. When you have a relationship with God He will reveal your calling. Be courageous and dare to go where He leads you. If God is calling you He will give you everything you need. You were created to be the hands and heart of the living God. Use everything He has given you to bring goodness and hope to a hurting and broken world and to bring glory to the King of Kings. Live a story worth being told.

I love the short story once told by Mark Twain about the man who died and met Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates. Knowing that St. Peter was very wise, the man asked a question that he had wondered about his entire life.

 He said, “Saint Peter, I have been interested in military history for many years. Who was the greatest general of all time?”
Saint Peter quickly responded, “Oh that’s a simple question. It’s that man right over there.”

“You must be mistaken,” responded the man, now very perplexed. “I knew that man on earth, and he was just a common laborer.”
“That’s right, my friend,” assured Saint Peter. “He would have been the greatest general of all time, if he had been a general.”

I think this story captures a deep sentiment that most of us have. We want our lives to count, to be meaningful. I don’t want to miss out on the high calling of God. I want to live my life to the fullest, to be fully alive and open to all that He is calling me to.

Do you know God’s calling for your life? How does knowing what God is calling us to matter? How does understanding your calling impact your community, sphere of influence, or workplace?