The Struggle of a Calling
Pressure is a real thing, and we need not underestimate its power. I believe one of the greatest pressures placed on a follower of Christ is the pressure to discover one’s “calling”. I am a freshman at a Christian university, a recent alumnus of Cornerstone, and have been following Christ since I was seven years old. The idea of a calling is something that has occupied my mind for as long as I can remember. I understand the importance of it. You will not be fulfilled until you discover what the Creator created you for. Ephesians 2:10 tells that we are all called to honor Christ in good works. It even goes as far as stating that God intends for us to walk in those good works. But, finding out what those works are for each of us specifically is where we run into trouble. We know that we are handmade uniquely by God (Isaiah 43:7). But for what? This process is a true struggle. I am experiencing it in my own life, and it would not be foolish for me to assume that many of you reading this are too. Or at least, that you have.
Let’s be real, struggling does not sound like a good or benevolent thing for God to allow us to experience. But in all of human history, people have struggled. They have struggled with relationships, wars, human nature, scientific discovery, political processes, and day-to-day life. However, through those struggles have come some of the most revolutionary ideas that really represent goodness and truth. Jesus even struggled with God’s calling on His life. He knew exactly what it was, but in a moment of struggle prayed that, if possible, God would take it from Him (Matthew 26:39). What we learn from history is that this struggle is actually good. It is not something that I enjoy thinking about. But, when I live in the light of this truth as a believer, I better understand the process of sanctification in my own life. It does not make it easy, safe, or enjoyable. But God did not call any of us to a life of ease or safety. See, those good works He has called us to do often involve turmoil, patience, and thankless jobs. They also invoke the working of the true joy God so desperately wants to give of us, if we will just simply walk in Him.
If we could do the Good Life on our own, there would be no need for Christ.
The struggle with our personal calling can often cause a deep turmoil because it involves a lot of factors. See, we rely so often on people, even the most Christian people I dare say, to affirm us in our walk with Christ, that we lose affirmation from the Holy Spirit. I have been there. Well, I am there now. I know the importance of fellowship, but I also know that human opinion cannot affect how I hear God, or it will turn into what I want to hear. God can speak through people, but the moment people try to speak as if they are God, they begin to step into a weight of glory they cannot begin to carry. We also rely on the factor of our own doubt caused by the enemy's attacks. These can swing one of two ways. Satan will, inevitably, try to make you doubt your calling in hopes that you might stray from it. For he knows he cannot take a believer’s soul, so he does everything he can to make them ineffective for the kingdom of God. Or, he will try to keep you in a place you are being called out of to achieve the same ineffectiveness. He will convince you that God would not call you off the path you are currently on, because that would mean you have to be uncomfortable for a while. We know that would be the end of the world as we know it.
The issue with this struggle of a calling is that, at least I have found, it relies too much on ourselves. See, we stay worried about what we can do. What are our skills? What are our fears? What are our vocational hopes and dreams? But this idea of finding our calling was never about us in the first place. It is about our walk with Christ. What if walking with Jesus was about Him and not our future plans, goals, talents? What if we quit caring about the chaos that ensues around us and focused solely on the one who was willing to bear the wrath of God to save us? In order to do that, we would have to quit worrying about our achievements and failures. We would have to truly submit to Him. That is the only way to find your “calling” in a real sense. If we could do the Good Life on our own, there would be no need for Christ. But we can’t, and that is beautiful. It is beautiful because God loves through it all. He has a love we cannot even comprehend. He loves us with a love that is totally foreign to our fallen nature. Christ was willing to be perfect in every way we aren’t on His behalf. We have to walk in that. Then, and only then, can we really achieve our calling. Then we can do those good works. Then we can see the joy in the struggle.