I can’t count the number of times I’ve been asked a question such as this one. Whether it is a girl I’ve met at a Redeemed Girl event or a Facebook message posted in the wee hours of the morning, so many women today are struggling with the issue of calling.
Here’s the truth: Our generation wants our life to mean something. We want to live for something bigger than ourselves… something glorious…something grand. No one these days just wants to punch a time card and pick up a paycheck. We want to live life to the fullest. For those who know and love Jesus that includes doing something BIG for Him.
We hunger for significance.
So in our minds, something significant for the Lord must naturally include a grand, burning bush moment.
Often I hear stories of great callings:
- A supernatural light illuminating the night sky.
- A series of not-so-random signs pointing to a specific mission field.
- An overpowering moment in church that led to the big moment of “surrender.”
None of that really happened for me. No “burning bush” moment for this girl. My calling to serve Jesus was and has been more organic. The call has been part of my day-to-day, step-by-step, listening to the leadings and promptings of the Holy Spirit.
From the time I surrendered my life to Jesus at age 25, I knew one thing for sure:
my life is not my own anymore.
Before Jesus, I called the shots. Or so I thought. I was the Captain of my Destiny. (Of course we all know how that worked out for me.) I was charting a course towards destruction. But thankfully Jesus redeemed me and brought me out of darkness and into His glorious kingdom. Not only did He change my life for eternity, He changed the trajectory of my whole being. One that was formerly focused on living for myself to one that was focused on living for His glory. With this new direction came a new destiny. I belonged body, soul, mind and spirit to my Redeemer.
Much like the disciple Peter, who was just minding his own business, fishing on the Sea of Galilee, when Jesus walked up and said, “Come, follow me.” The primary calling for Peter was to simply follow Jesus. (Matthew 4:18-22) The same holds true for you and me today. Our primary calling is not to an occupation, but to a Person.
As I’ve followed Jesus, He’s led me to do different tasks and to use different spiritual gifts along the way, but first and foremost the call has been to follow Him. What I’ve discovered is that God works in seasons. He “calls us” to serve Him in different ways in different seasons.
- There was a season Jesus called me to sit under great teachers and simply learn the Bible.
- There was a season Jesus called me to plan events for a Bible study class in my church.
- There was a season Jesus called me to go to seminary.
- There was a season when Jesus called me to step out of my fear and teach a Bible study.
- There was a season Jesus called me to start writing books for women.
- I am now in a season that Jesus has me sharing the Gospel on college campuses, speaking at women’s’ events and leading Redeemed Girl Ministries.
- But I am also in a season that I’m loving and raising two little boys by being a bonus mom. This means that I’m daily washing laundry, cooking dinner and waiting in line at carpool so that these two precious young men grow to know and love Jesus. This act of service is just as important in the eyes of God as being an evangelist.
Bottom line, our service to God will change throughout our life. Our primary response to God is “yes” to His will…whatever that might be. All of our callings are predicated by the first and primary Call… to follow Jesus.
I’m not called to be an evangelist.
I’m not called to be a Bible teacher.
I’m not called to be a writer.
I’m not called to be anything…or anyone…I’m called to follow Jesus.
So… when I’m following Him
He calls the shots.
He sets the agenda
He shows me where to serve.
He anoints and empowers me with His Spirit.
He tells me whom to love.
He gives me the words to say.
He shows me moment by moment where, when and how to be His hands and feet.
The calling is to follow Jesus.
And wherever He leads…I go!
I hope this relieves a huge burden off of some of you to have a “big burning bush moment.” Sometimes God burns bushes, sometimes He just says, “Go.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Understanding that the call is to “simply follow Jesus” proves a great protection. It is super easy to make an idol of our callings. We are often tempted to find identity in being “famous” for Jesus or in being the most radical in our peer group, which can lead to two pitfalls: pride or envy. We can get puffed up with pride when we falsely believe our service is better than someone else’s or we can get envious when we compare our “calling “ to anothers. Bottom line: all callings are equal because we are all called to follow Him. Anything that takes our eyes off Jesus and puts our eyes on ourselves bears the potential to detour us. (see 1 Corinthians 12: 1-19 for a fuller explanation on spiritual gifts.)
Finally, Simply following Jesus keeps us dependent upon Him and in tune to His voice for daily direction. There’s not a day goes by in leading RGM that I don’t confess to God that I have no clue what I’m doing and I desperately need His help. He simply reminds me to abide in Him, rely on His Spirit and seek His face. (John 15:1-5)
We would love to hear from you. I know in this introductory blog post about calling didn’t address all the questions. Post a comment in the section below. Let us know your questions about following Jesus or your thoughts on knowing your place in God’s Kingdom.
For more on “Knowing My Calling” listen to these podcast teachings from our series, Questions Girls Ask.
Marian Jordan Ellis, RGM Founder & President