I think of “calling” as the intersection of passion and skill. We all want to know what God is calling us to do with our lives—what college major we should declare or career we should pursue. We wonder if participating in missions is what He wants us to do, or maybe it’s to be a stay-at-home mom someday.
The conversation is confusing, but mostly because of how we discuss it. Calling is not a cosmic blueprint, a plan God has from beginning to end. Rather, it’s a journey. Calling becomes clear in small steps, not always in big decisions. We find God’s will by walking each day in step with His Spirit.
As we walk this path, there are a few ways to tune ourselves in to God’s voice and learn the calling He has for our current season (because calling can change!).
Notice Your Natural Gifts
The first way to see the direction God in which is taking you is to look within yourself. What are your natural, God-given gifts? What are your skills? What do people recognize in you as talent? While skill can be learned and developed, sometimes it is innate—and these gifts tell us much about God’s intentions.
Find ways to cultivate your natural gifts. Take classes, get a mentor and pursue opportunities to learn. Be a good steward of what God has given you and let Him bring the return.
Don’t Base Decisions on Feelings
Disney tells us to “follow our hearts.” College advisors (of which I am one) will often tell you to major in what you “want to do.” Unfortunately, basing decisions on our feelings is a foolish path to take. Our hearts are deceitful and our emotions change. It is far better to base your decisions on prayerful consideration, the advice of wise mentors and the facts about your intended career or life path (salary, debt payoff, job availability) than to base it on what you feel like doing at the moment.
No matter where God calls you, there will be bad days. There will be days you don’t like where you are and you struggle to be content. But if it’s where God has you, He’s going to use you—if you surrender to His Will in that place.
Ask Him to Guide You
Ask the Lord to tell you what choice to make, then listen for His direction! It may come in the form of a friend’s comment, a book you read or a sudden opportunity. Many times God uses multiple people or instances to get our attention. Be ready to hear His voice and be willing to go where He is calling you—even if it’s not what you planned.
Be Open to His Unexpected Will
I recently made a big decision that is not what I expected to choose. Though it was difficult, I know without a shadow of a doubt that it’s what God is calling me to do for this season of life.
We tend to put God in a box. We think He operates on certain time frames for our singleness, our work, our marriage or kids—but He doesn’t. Every life is different, and every one of us has a journey to walk with Him. And because calling isn’t about the destination, the time frame doesn’t matter. It’s about what we learn on our current road.
Be open to the unexpected. If you want God’s will, you have to be ready to say “yes” to something hard. But you’ll have peace in the process! His presence will go with you—because where He calls you, He always goes, too.