I Feel Called...Now What?

October 19, 2016

They’re there.  You want to push them away and pretend you don’t constantly feel them.  You can’t quite seem to figure out why they won’t leave you, why you can’t stop them from happening.  You make a lot of excuses for why you don’t acknowledge their presence.  But you can’t deny them, even if you tried.  These feelings, these heart tugs, these constant nudging’s that won’t go away, want you to finally surrender.   Give upPut up your white flag.  Answer the call. 


You’re scared.  You wonder if you’ve heard God correctly.  You don’t even know where to begin.  To put into motion all of these things He has laid so heavily on your heart.  But you want to.  You want to be obedient, willing. 


Oh friend I have been there many times.  I have felt the heart tugs, the Holy Spirit’s constant nudging to obey the call He has given me.  But fear gripped me.  Satan’s lies about my inabilities and unworthiness called louder than ever before.  I stood frozen, unsure of what to do next.  Have you been there?


This past weekend I had the privilege of leading a breakout session at our women’s event on calling and purpose.  I titled our session, “I Feel Called…Now What?” because so often we feel a call that God has laid on our hearts, but we aren’t sure what to do with it.  



I want to take a few moments today to share some of the things I’ve learned along the way to encourage you.  Now hear me out, I’m no expert on this.  I come from a place of personal struggle on the topic and as I shared these resources with our group on Saturday, I noticed it was something many of us deal with on some level.  






Find a mentor.

Surround yourself with like-minded passion people.  I know it sounds strange right?  But that’s no typo.  Look around you. Who is doing what you want to be doing?  Who can help you navigate your calling?


Years ago I was with our Acteens group at a teen conference and I spotted a fellow writer and blogger in the crowd whom I had long admired.  I waited around for the right time to go up and introduce myself to her.  The opportunity finally presented itself and I briefly talked with her about how much I enjoyed her blog and how her posts spoke to me.  Then I confessed to her that I felt God calling me to begin writing again and perhaps start a blog too.  With excitement on her face she encouraged me to go after that call, then gave me a few helpful startup tips.   


I would never have expected it, but right then and there we formed a relationship.  Months later after I had started blogging, she asked me to guest post on her blog.  I was elated!  She introduced me to other writers with similar callings and I found myself in the midst of a wonderful community of women who helped me flourish as a new writer.  In that season I was blessed with several new friendships and several mentors who helped me grow and have a better understanding of my calling.


Is there someone that can help you grow in your calling?  Is there someone who is already doing (in some form) what you feel called to do?  Someone you can look to as a resource?  If you don’t have this yet, pray that The Lord will put these people in your path. 


Some of my mentors have been in my life for a short time while we worked on a project together. Some were my age, some older, some through an online community.  Mentors can come in a variety of forms and seasons of life. 


Let me also stress this: find a biblical mentor.  Someone who is in The Word and can speak encouragement and life to you based on the foundation of God’s word.  This will help immensely as you figure out and pursue your calling.



Equip yourself.

Part of pursuing your calling involves knowing your strengths and weaknesses.  What are you really good at or what have people told you are good at?  Perhaps you are talented in music or making things.  Maybe you are a great writer, teacher, or organizer.  Maybe you are someone who is great at recognizing other’s needs.  If you're not sure, let me encourage you.


Grab a spare sheet of paper next to you and jot down 3-5 strengths you have.  It doesn’t have to be formal or fancy.  It can look like this:


Strengths I have:
1.       ________________________
2.      ________________________
3.       ________________________
4.      ________________________
5.      ________________________





Now take a few minutes and think of 3-5 of your greatest passions.  These are the things that set your heart ablaze.  They give you those heart tugs we talked about earlier.  Serving, human trafficking, children, discipleship, youth, music, missions.  It can be anything. 


My passions:
1.       __________________________
2.      ___________________________
3.       ___________________________
4.      ___________________________
5.      ___________________________



Take a look back over your lists.  Do you see similarities?  Do you see where some of your strengths collide with your passions? 


If you’ve never done so, I highly encourage taking a spiritual gifts test. Spiritual gifts are different in that they are gifted to us by God when we become believers.  The tests don’t usually take a lot of time and can help guide you as you assess your strengths and gifts.


Keep in mind.  Passion is a wonderful thing, but it must be met with skill and purpose.  If I don’t put the work in and equip myself, I’m like an artist who wants to paint a picture but doesn’t know how to hold her paint brush. 






Equip yourself and evaluate yourself.  What areas do you excel at?  What areas can you improve on?  Ask yourself these questions often. 

Attend conferences, training's, or read blogs that relate to your calling.  If you want to run your own non-profit one day, you could take a class on obtaining a 501(c) (3) status or go observe other non-profit directors at work.  Whatever this may look like for you, find those helpful resources, do your research, and prepare yourself as much as you can to serve in the way you desire to.



Gather your army. 

A little backstory to share with you.  Before our women’s event this past weekend, I found myself full of nervous energy.  I was anxious of how everything would turn out.  I felt prepared but also nervous about leading a breakout session and I just needed someone to speak encouragement and pray over me.  I texted my sister in law and told her how I was feeling and asked for prayer.  She not only prayed for me, but shared some reaffirming words that my soul needed to hear.  She is in my army. 


An army includes people who can pray specifically for you and for your calling.  It can be family members, friends, church community, and mentors.  It will look different for everyone.  



These are the people that help you, encourage you, and go to battle in prayer for you. 


Do you have people around you that lift you up?  Pray for you?  Pray for your ministry?  Do you have people that help you with projects, events, etc. that are in this work with you?



I know some of you may be thinking, why do I need an army?  How can that really help me?



You need an army friend.  Because there is a real live enemy out there waiting to derail you, waiting to shift your focus off of God, off the Kingdom work He has called you to.  He is ready and more than willing to attack.  Gather your army, your spiritual army, and be ready to fight back. 


Gathering your army is important because at some point, you’re going to want to quit.  You’re going to want to throw in the towel and give up.  Your army can give you that encouragement to keep going and keep pursing what God has called you to do.


It’s important to have an army of believers around you, and it’s just as important to be in someone else’s army.  Be that person who is praying for other ministries, other callings of the women around you.  If you haven’t experienced some of these relationships yet, pray that God will reveal these people to you. 



Stay disciplined.

I know you've heard it before but it's worth mentioning over and over again.  It’s going to be very hard to pursue your calling in the fullest sense if you are not in God’s word.  As believers and followers of Christ, we need to be in the Word of God.  We need to continue to learn more about God and who He is.  We need to continually have a relationship with Him that includes letting Him speak to us and through us from His Word. We also need to be able to recognize Satan’s lies.  We can only do that when we are grounded in the foundation of God’s truth.



Some final thoughts on calling.

It’s not going to look like everyone else’s and often we want so badly for it to.  We want to model our calling after what others have done or the ministry they have.  And while many of us will share the same passions and similar callings, each of us has a special calling that is unique to the work God wants us to do.


Your calling will probably lead you to some scary, messy places.  But that is how we reach others for the sake of The Gospel.  At times it will push you out of your comfort zone.  It will take you places you never imagined.  Isn’t that scary and beautiful all at the same time?





Pursuing your calling is a life-long process.  God gives each of us purpose, but He will continue to call us deeper in our relationship with Him. 



Maybe for some of you, you aren't sure what God is calling you to do.  Maybe for some of you something is holding you back from pursuing your calling.  Don't worry friend.  Keep being obedient, it will come in His timing.  


Whatever stage you are in with your calling, I hope you are encouraged to keep going.  I would like to end with three simple questions that I think can help you no matter what stage you’re in with your calling. 




Reflect:  
What’s stopping me from pursuing my calling?


Respond: 
I think God is calling me to:


Act:  
One way I can pursue my calling is:




So you feel called and you wonder, now what?  Now my sweet friend, you begin.  You take small steps.  You reach out to someone, share your dream.  You take a class, attend that conference or retreat everyone is always raving about.  You center yourself on the foundation of God’s truth, His word. 


You just start.  It doesn’t matter what you do really, just that you start.  It’s not going to be perfect and it’s not going to be easy.  But you can trust that God is going to work it all for good and for His purpose.



"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28 (NIV)

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