Our Early 20s Concept of “Calling” is a Prison
“The term calling is mostly a human construct, it’s a way for us to describe a bunch of fragments and make things not feel random. Calling in a Biblical sense is more general that God has called us to Himself, and what we want that to mean is that we have a specific path that we’re going to understand from the outset, that we can guide our lives by it and not waste our time on things that aren’t apart of it. And that’s a human construct. I can’t think of any example in the Bible where people were given an itinerary for their life, then their life followed that itinerary.” -Steven Furtick
I feel that the word “calling” is a word that gets bounced around in evangelical churches a lot. It’s a word that we get hit with time and time again when we look at interviews of those we look up to. I’ve even asked people in interviews, “how did you know you were called to be a singer, actor, etc?” But maybe you and I have been thinking about “calling” differently that doesn’t align with the Heavenly view of “calling.”
With calling comes the pressure to get it right, to know exactly what we’re supposed to do and follow that path, which is kind of like a prison, and God doesn’t want us imprisoned to mentalities. For example, when American high school students graduate high school and enter university, we are to know exactly what we want to major in at 18, even at 16 and 17 years of age we’re pressured to know our majors. But many change their majors 2 or 3 times when they start university. It’s impossible to know your calling at 18. It’s impossible to know your calling when you graduate from university. Oftentimes we major in something and work in a totally different field. My degrees are in History and International Relations and I’m working in Communications. But how did that happen, by God opening up the doors He wanted me to go through and so far, they haven’t been in the fields of History or International Relations.
So then, if we Steven Furtick’s analysis on the word “calling” is parallel with the Bible, then we should be looking at calling as surrender, being faithful to God, and getting into alignment with the plans and purposes that God has for our lives. Where God leads us at 20 years old may be totally different than where He will lead us at 40 and 50. The quote from Mother Theresa comes to mind: “we have not been called to be successful, but faithful.”
Quite frankly, all God has CALLED us to do is be faithful to HIM. Whoa, now that’s a loaded sentence and it should take the pressure off of trying to be on a specific path, getting your singing career, medical career, parenting, CEO career, entrepreneur career, your blog, nannying career, preacher career, tech career- or whatever it is you’re doing 100% right.
Let’s look at Joseph in the Old Testament for a second. He saw something in a dream in his youth, he was the center of attention, he was the stalk of grain that the other stalks were bowing down to, and the stars, sun and moon bowed down to him- which represented his parents and brothers bowing down to him. Now, when that actually happened that his family was bowing down to him, Joseph was 38 years old, and it wasn’t as glamorous as his dream. Joseph was at the center of the dream he had in his youth, yes, but not to receive glory and be the star, but serve his family. But when he was a youth, he was disillusioned about his own importance because he saw the dream as glamorous.
Our youthful dreams are what drives us because we want to be this or that, walking one certain path. But life happened to Joseph- getting betrayed, prison, and he was lied on. God allowed Joseph to be disillusioned so that he could see that he [Joseph] could see that he was the center, not for glamor, but to serve.
We have been called to be faithful to God. God is always working and at various times He is doing something new, changing our “calling”. If we seek God first then at the right seasons He will guide us, and He may even completely change what we have been doing to something completely different. It’s the Holy Spirit that leads and guides us into where we’re supposed to be, and into what we’re supposed to be doing at certain seasons of life.
Let us reflect on this for 2019.