I receive emails or I’m approached from by Jesus-loving women who wonder if they’re letting God down because they haven’t figured out their calling. Women who believe that they are supposed to be leading some ministry, starting a non-profit, married or killing it at motherhood – and they feel less-than in the kingdom of God because they’re not.
Maybe that’s you. You hear women say, “God called me to do _______” or “God called me to serve ______________” and you’re wondering, Why haven’t I figured out what God’s called me to do? Oh no, have I missed it?!
When Jesus called the disciples, this is what he said:
Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people.”
-Mark 1:17 NLT
Jesus called. They responded. Jesus priority was for the disciples to follow Him. Later, when Jesus sent the disciples out in pairs, Mark 6:7 notes that Jesus called them to him, then he sent them out. The Greek word proskaleó for “Jesus called” means that Jesus drew the disciples to Him first for relationship, then he sent them on assignment.
Through grace, we’re called into relationship with God. Popular opinion is that calling is about roles or performance. Yes, people received assignments in the Bible as teachers, apostles, etc. Now, callings can lead to assignments from God, but an assignment shouldn’t be confused with our calling to live as children of God.
My calling isn’t to stand on a stage, teach or write books. This is God’s assignment for my life right now. I’m grateful for this assignment, but it’s not guaranteed for the rest of my life. Some of my past assignments have also included pharmaceutical sales, working for my church and motherhood. The caution is for us to not turn our assignments into our identity. There’s a lot of confusion and pain that happens when we confuse calling with our identity, especially when a ministry role ends or a season of life changes.
When your calling is to know God, then whatever assignment God brings into your life stems from your abiding or connection to Him. When He brings that assignment to an end, you may grieve it, but it doesn’t shake or topple your identity because it always stayed in God, not some external place.
My calling is know God and from my relationship with God. From that identity, I’ll share the gospel, but how that happens isn’t dependent on my job or career. I tell my friends that I can live out the gospel as a child of God on a stage, on a plane, working at Target or in a hospital bed.
My friend, when you live as a fully-alive disciple of Jesus when you recognize that your calling begins with your relationship in Him…
not in your ministry role at church,
not in your career title,
not in how many people follow you on social media,
not in your status as a wife or mother.
Your greatest purpose is to know Christ. Period.
You are living out your best life when you are living hand-and-hand with Christ.
On Friday, I attended the memorial service of a dear man named Ray. He served weekly as a greeter at our church’s 9am service for at over fifteen years. I also knew Ray from my weekly Al-Anon group. Every single time that I saw him, Ray spoke a word of encouragement and always gave me a hug. Ray also served at Celebrate Recovery as a mentor.
Every person who stood up at the memorial service remembered Ray as a kind, gentle, committed follower of Jesus. What was Ray’s calling? He followed Jesus and from that relationship, God used Ray in powerful ways to encourage others, to listen, to be a friend and to grow in Christ. He never stood on a stage. Ray never had a big ministry. But he made a lasting and positive impact on thousands of people in his lifetime.
I wanted to share Ray’s life with you because I suspect that many, many of you are just like Ray. You love Jesus and you are serving others. However, you’re comparing what you do to what others are doing and it doesn’t feel big enough or important enough.
If that’s you, please pay attention – close attention to what I’m about to say:
If you’re following Jesus and you’re serving God from the heart in any way, then you’re in the sweetest spot of where you are supposed to be until God moves you somewhere else. Enjoy that assignment. Celebrate joining God in His work. When other ask you about what your calling is, you can say this: Jesus called me to follow him and right now, I’m exactly where God wants me to be.
I hope that this devotional encourages you today. If you’ve got a story to share or something in today’s devotional helped you, drop a comment and let me know!