Have you ever wondered what God has called you to?
Have you ever wondered what that question even means?
If you have then you are not alone! Me too. I’m also absolutely sure that we are not the only ones to wonder and think about both of those questions either.
So, what does calling mean?
Well, the Miriam Webster dictionary says this –
‘a strong inner impulse toward a particular course of action especially when accompanied by conviction of divine influence’
For me, and you if you are a Christian, our divine influence is God.
Over the years, I’ve believed that God was drawing me toward, and convicting me to do several different things. I felt like these things were my calling. What God wanted for me. What God wanted of me. I felt drawn toward them and was sure that I was in the right places.
When I was a youth worker, I was absolutely convinced that that was my calling. That youth work would be my life’s work. That it was where God wanted me and where I wanted to be.
But it wasn’t to be.
At one point I felt so strongly called to leadership and ministry that I started the process of discernment and application to the Church of England to be an ordinand. Again I felt so sure this was what God wanted for my life.
That also wasn’t to be. In fact it turned out even being Anglican wasn’t to be.
I then started a successful career in the Health and Social Care sector becoming management and believing that was where God had put me and that that was my calling.
I didn’t know when I first got sick a few years ago that it would put a stop in my tracks yet again. I had to stop working and learn a new way of living. One that was not constantly full pelt. One that involved a lot of time at home. Or in hospital.
It was hard work to feel like something else I felt was my calling had gone.
What about my calling? What about the stuff God wanted me to do? That I wanted to do? What about my work? More importantly – what about what God was calling me to?
What about …
So many questions.
Do you relate to the ‘so many questions’ bit?
I have found myself with a lot of time to think about these questions. Even just in the last few weeks I’ve thought about all these questions of calling.
While I have been reflecting, thinking and praying about this whole topic recently I feel like God has spoken to me in a massive way. In a way that has changed how I view what calling means and what it means to be called to something.
See, before, I always thought my calling meant jobs involving certain groups of people.
Now I’m feeling like God is teaching me that actually being called to something in particular is a way of life. A way of living. Something that envelops every single part of who I am as a person and what I do, either in paid work or not. It’s about the people who I am drawn to and how I interact with those people.
It is not about being a youth worker, or a vicar, or a carer/nursing home manager.
For me, it is about the things I am passionate about and seeing that worked out in what I do. In everything I do.
For example for many years I wrote blogs and articles online about my own experiences of sexual violence, and how the church did or did not respond well to me, about mental health, about topics that people were not talking about publicly. My writing became popular because people related to it. I was speaking out stuff that others were not able to at that time. I was challenging the status quo. Something I do both online and offline.
That is a calling.
I champion equality, and seeing women rise up in society in everything I do.
I spend a lot of time supporting survivors of sexual violence.
I run a support service for women who face barriers in attending health screening.
These things are a calling.
It’s the people who are involved in those things that is what my calling is and I can live those out in any kind of job, or in every day life.
God is calling me to minister to women, and people who are on the fringes of society for whatever reason, NOT necessarily be a vicar.
God is calling me to always see the people who are unseen by the world. Be it young people, or the elderly, or women who cannot access healthcare for whatever reason.
I don’t need a specific job, or job role to be living out my calling.
Maybe like Miriam, in the Bible, I am called to be a sister to whoever needs one in the moment.
I know this blog has lots of questions, and I am not sure if I have adequately answered any of them to be honest, but I now know one thing, and its this –
My calling is to be faithful in loving and supporting whoever the people are that God puts in my way, and those may change as seasons change. Thats it.