As a Life Purpose Coach I believe that we are all called, have gifts and talents, and are incredibly loved by our Creator. Everything that we encounter in life prepares us for the next season in our calling.
I also believe that every one of our gifts are as important as the next persons. We are all working towards the same goals and each and every one of us are highly loved and valued by Jesus!
What I’ve discovered over the years is that many women have an incredibly difficult time discerning what that calling is. The trials of life and the many mixed or misunderstood messages they have heard from various teachers have left them feeling like they never measure up to what God has for them to do. For these struggling women, certain myths about calling are getting in the way of discovering what God truly has for them.
If you’re feeling lost trying to discern God’s calling for your life, consider these myths that may be tripping you up.
The process of discovering your calling may necessitate some serious self-reflection, but make no mistake: It’s not really about you. Calling is not about self-fulfillment. It is a discovery of your preciousness, your beauty, and your gifting…a plan set up for you from before you were born to fulfill… and the revealing of it is directly related to what you have experienced in your life through every trial and every experience, both positive and negative, to prepare and train you to be able to see others come to know who He is through your life.
Calling is a revealing and fulfillment of God’s will for your life.
Many people experience a special sense of satisfaction that comes from exercising their God-given gifts, talents, and passions, but that sense of fulfillment is a byproduct of being in God’s will, not the goal.
To discern what God’s will may be, you do need to look inward. You must seek to “know yourself” in order to discover God’s unique creation in you. Sometimes we can’t see outside of ourselves and being in community with other’s who know you can help to get a better picture. This is why we need each other.
And sometimes we miss the obvious– thinking it couldn’t possibly be important enough to be a calling. I have had women come to me in their season of child rearing, crying because they just don’t feel important to God because He has not revealed to them a calling. And there beside them stood their children.
Do you know raising children is one of the highest callings there is? To raise a child to love and honor God with their own lives is the calling of a Mother. Yes, one day those babies will be on their own and you will be free to pursue other gifts and callings, as each season of your life reveals more and prepares us for the next season.
Nope, not even close. Figuring out your calling isn’t an instant ticket to a smooth life and career. As a matter of fact sometimes we get so stuck in our comfort zones of dysfunction, we would choose to stay there, because at least it is familiar, right?
Knowing what you are meant to be doing is really just the beginning of what may be a long and arduous journey of hardship and defeat. Some of the most successful, inspired people throughout history have pursuit of their paths that has included feeling like a failure….but rest assured,
Not one of your failures is wasted…it is all a part of the plan, and what makes the difference is that you
DON’T GIVE UP!!
For most of my life I struggled with what I was doing, even when I was very busy doing “the work of the Lord”, the way I saw it…
God is never finished with us and even while I was so busy, make no mistake, He continued to reveal to me those places I kept hidden that needed to be healed. I fell flat on my face many times.
I faced plenty of hardships and failures at work and in my personal life. These challenges helped me grow and learn more about God and more about how God created me to serve him, eventually leading me into Life Coaching much to my surprise. Now that I am a Life Coach and have been for many years, I continue to enter into places of so much pain I sometimes question where He is taking me now.
Your calling is most of the time a stretch assignment. Moses is a great biblical example:
He had no doubt about what God wanted him to do. God spoke to Moses through the burning bush, giving him clear marching orders about his next steps.
Isn’t this what we all kind of wish for when we’re searching for our calling?
But Moses’ calling didn’t sound all that great to him:
“But who am I that I should go?”
Moses questioned God, voicing the fear,
“I’m not important enough.”
But God answered, “I will be with you.” Then, Moses continued pressing back, asking, “What if they do not believe me?”
“I’m not impressive enough!”
In response, God provided him with miraculous signs. But it still wasn’t enough for Moses, who came back with the worry, “But I am slow of speech and tongue.”
“I don’t know what to say.”
God assured Moses that he would speak through him.
Moses was called to a task God designed for him, but it clearly didn’t feel good. He tried every way he could think of to convince God that he was the wrong man for the job, and then finally, when that didn’t work, he came right out and asked God to “please send someone else.”
Your discomfort doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re on the wrong path.
I know women (and men too) who seem to agonize endlessly over every major choice in their lives, calling included, because they’re afraid of choosing wrongly. It’s good to want to make the best choice you can, but at some point you just need to make a choice and go from there. If you find yourself worrying excessively about your calling, ask yourself whether this is really about discerning God’s will or whether you may be trying to control God’s will.
Your choices are important, but, when you are seeking Him with your whole heart, no choice you can make is outside of God’s sovereignty. Seriously… it is NOT that easy to miss God. Do you think He is not able to transcend your humanness, and lead you right into His perfect will…even when you think you are the one making the decisions?
If you had asked me 20 or 30 years ago where I would end up, I never would have foreseen the course my life would take. I now look back and am just amazed by God’s providence over all of it.
Discovering your calling isn’t something you do once, or even twice. It’s not something you get to check off of a list and move on from.
The life of a Christian entails a constant process of discovering your calling. Just because God has called you to a particular purpose at a particular time doesn’t mean his plans for you are the same in every season… each season of our lives has a new calling that builds on the last one… nothing stays the same forever.
Looking back at my own life, I can see God shaping and shifting my calling over the years.
Each chapter of my life God continued to call and lead me through one season to the next. Some of the things that happened to me to bring me to this place today is astounding, painful, challenging, and sometimes unbelievable. In every phase my calling has looked and felt different, but God has been a consistent foundation throughout. And even when I was in total denial about my own issues that needed work, His will was accomplished in other’s lives through my calling. Astounding to me.
Who knows what the next chapter of life will bring?
Everyone’s calling is going to look different—and each season will bring a new process of discernment. Just remember, God is in control. He loves you and me, and his will for us will always bring us closer to him.
May you begin your discernment journey with courage and humility!
Every week, we share stories about the amazing ways God is at work around the world. We hope that you’ll be encouraged by these stories and inspired to greater involvement in God’s Great Commission to go out to the world – near and far – and train, instruct, and baptize people in Jesus’ Name. This week, we start off by hearing from Bill who shared the Gospel in many places throughout Myanmar:
We visited 28 different sites during the course of the week. Each day, we had no idea who we were going to talk to: they could be Christians, non-Christians… we didn’t know what kinds of questions we might encounter. It was really exciting to see God orchestrate each and every conversation.
So each day we would get back and discuss our day, and it was amazing to hear the stories and realize that the exact right people were at the exact right spots to answer each particular question. It was so encouraging to see that, even when we thought we were arranging certain schedules and plans, God is really the one who knows what is going on.
It was also exciting to see changes in people. You might see somebody become a Christian, but it’s not common to see the Holy Spirit transform them. You could usually recognize the Buddhists there pretty easily, because they looked so empty. Buddhism, is really a hopeless religion. What they strive for is to eventually live a life where in the next life you simply cease to exist.
On Friday, a Buddhist lady came in and she just looked very empty and unreceptive. Her baby, however, had a huge smile and I kept connecting with the baby throughout the day. Also, as the day went on, we noticed her disposition softening as she repeatedly heard the Gospel. About a half-hour before we were going to pack up to leave that day, she accepted Christ and the joy that was shone from her face after praying was incredible! It was just amazing to see the Spirit working within someone’s heart like that and transform her from somebody who was so downtrodden and empty to being filled with God’s love and hope!
But her husband, who is a Buddhist, wasn’t there that day, so she had a lot of trepidation about going home and facing his reaction to the fact that she had become a Christian. But, when we told her and the other people that we got to know that they were now a part of the family of God, which spans the globe and that there are other family members praying for them, it spoke to their hearts like nothing else.
So, we need to pray for her and the other new believers, that they would become solidly grounded, and when opposition and persecution faces them, that the local churches will be ready and able to take them in, comfort them, encourage them, and continue to disciple them.
All the world’s religions – except Christianity – basically have no hope. You don’t see hope in the faces of Hindus, nor Buddhists, nor Muslims. They may hope that they live a life that is good enough to get them into Heaven, but as we all know, if you try to live a life that is good enough to please God all on your own, you’re destined to fail. But we have hope through Jesus Christ.
Next, we hear from Christy who visited Peru and saw many people receive Jesus:
We noticed people on the first day of our visit “accepting Christ” simply because they wanted to make the Americans happy. They wanted to be polite and obligatory since we were standing there asking if they would like to pray and accept Jesus into their lives. But then, when we would invite them to the follow up meetings, they wouldn’t show up and we wouldn’t see them again. So, as we went out again the next day, I was a little discouraged. Yet, as I prayed, I couldn’t help but sense that God was telling me, “Relax. Just let me handle it. Don’t worry about whether or not you think their prayers are sincere or not. Trust me.”
So, later that day, we met a woman who was with her little son, just out on the street as she was about to hail a cab. She seemed receptive to talking with us, but her little boy was a big distraction. In fact, as soon as I said the words, “Jesus is the only way”, he ran at me and tried to kick me before his mother was able to stop him. As I kinda expected, she agreed with us and accepted Christ then and there. So, I told her that we didn’t want her to agree with us out of politeness. If she had any reservations, we totally understood and didn’t want her to take this lightly.
Then we were hit with a whole slew of questions: I’m actually afraid to accept Christ, because what happens if I mess up and sin again? What happens if I disappoint God? My translator assured her that none of us are perfect, and God even says in His word that all of us fall short. That’s why He sent Jesus; and Jesus’ sacrifice is big enough for all of our sins. By the end of our conversation, we verified that we had answered her questions and she prayed with us to accept Jesus as her Savior. But that night, she didn’t show up to our follow up meeting. So the next day, we went to her house and brought our discipleship materials with us to give to her.
Now, one of the questions in the follow up materials is a true or false question: It’s only necessary to believe that God exists to spend eternity in heaven. Very quickly, she answered, “No. That’s not true. You not only have to believe that He exists, you have to accept Him as your Lord and Savior.” It was such an incredible blessing to see that the Gospel had really sunk in and she had really thought it through and accepted Jesus instead of just placating us.
Every week, we share stories about the amazing ways God is at work around the world. We hope that you’ll be encouraged by these stories and inspired to greater involvement in God’s Great Commission to go out to the world – near and far – and train, instruct, and baptize people in Jesus’ Name. This week, we start off by hearing from Tom who met a young Jewish girl living in the midst of a Muslim culture of Iran, and how she found Christ:
I met a young girl named Shirine, a young Jewish girl living in Iran. Now most people aren’t even aware that there are Jewish people living in Iran, but the truth is that they have been there ever since the Babylonian captivity, 2,600 years ago. She had spent her life going through all the Jewish rituals and traditions, but never felt herself drawn close to God or having a real relationship with Him.
One day, while at work at the nearby bank, a man she knew began talking with her about what had been going on with him lately. He told her about how great things were happening in his life and how much he was loving life at the time. She simply looked at him and said, “What are you talking about? We’re living in Iran. Our country is perpetually on the brink of nuclear war. How could you be loving life in light of all this?”
He replied, “Well, when I was a Muslim, I used to never have a good outlook on life. But when I committed my life to Jesus Christ, he changed everything. That’s why I have joy in my heart.”
Shirine answered, “You can get killed talking like that!”
He said, “I know, but I don’t care. Because has changed my life.”
He then went on to share the Gospel with her as their paths crossed throughout that day. By the end of the day, she had heard enough and accepted Christ as her Savior. So, here you’ve got this Jewish woman in her 20’s being led to the Lord by a former Muslim man in Iran!
He then said to her, “The next step is you need to be discipled in order to grow in your faith. We have a group of people that meet in an underground church that would be good for you. We’re meeting tomorrow from midnight until 5:00a.m. I’d love to bring you, but there are secret police that we have to look out for, since they could drag us all to jail if our church is caught. So, I’ll drive by the street corner over by where you live, tomorrow night at 11:30. If you want, be there and I’ll slow down and open my car door. You can hop in and come with me to the underground church meeting.”
The next night, she met him just as he had described. They then drove around for about 30 minutes just to make sure that they weren’t being followed. Then they went on to a house, entered in and walked down to the basement. Shirine was amazed when she walked down to discover over 30 former Muslims clapping and cheering for her. You see, her friend had told them about her several months before and they had all been praying for her for months.
Shirine recalls, “When I saw these former Muslims just loving this little Jewish girl, I knew that I had found the right God because only He can do that!”
This story is especially exciting because it shows how God changes the hearts of people. It’s absolutely beautiful! Wouldn’t you love to have been in that room to see that illustration of the unity of God’s people in Christ!
Next, we hear from Marion as she shares about her recent trip to Israel:
I was invited to be on an intercessory prayer team. Our role was to meet all through the day and pray for the teams as they were out evangelizing. We’d come together each morning and just wait on the Lord to show us how He wanted us to pray. We’d ask Him to reveal to us the strongholds in the area – we were in the city of Nazareth. Even in Jesus’ day, the Bible tells us that He did not do many mighty miracles in Nazareth because of their unbelief. There are still strongholds of unbelief there today.
So we would pray against everything that would stand against our ministry each day. The Scriptures say that God has given us “weapons of warfare” that are mighty through Him for the pulling down of strongholds.
We also went to strategic sites in the city to again ask God how, specifically, to pray. There was one site near our hotel where some people were planning on building a new mosque. At that point, they had tents set up with people meeting inside. God revealed to us that, number one, the mosque was not to be built. So, we prayed fervently against the plans and against the very foundation of the Muslim worship center. And, we praise God that the mosque still has not gone up!
Each day, we also asked the Lord how we should pray for our team. There was one woman who was on her first trip with E3 Partners with her husband, with five children back at home in Tennessee. It was really hard for her to be so far away from their kids. So, we felt that God wanted us to pray for her peace and that while she longed to be with her own kids, she would be open to ministering to the local children there in Israel – and that’s exactly what she found herself doing in the days that followed and she had great success in leading them to the Lord!
We also had a wonderful surprise while in Israel. One of my former roommates had come from Texas and before she had left, God told her that she would be praying for the healing of someone who had trouble with their legs. But, as the trip progressed, my friend had no idea who that might be. I knew of a couple of women there who were having leg problems. One of them was Elaine – a member of our prayer team. Elaine was actually paralyzed for a time. She had been to Mayo Clinic and had sought medical advice from America’s top physicians, but no one could ever give her a diagnosis. When she came with us to Israel, she was able to walk, but definitely not at full speed. Well, sure enough, God instructed my friend to pray for Elaine and when we went to Masada the next day, Elaine was able to walk, climb stairs and keep up with everyone without any struggle at all! That was just the beginning of her healing process and she is now at complete full speed, thanks to God!
Every week, we share stories about the amazing ways God is at work around the world. We hope that you’ll be encouraged by these stories and inspired to greater involvement in God’s Great Commission to go out to the world – near and far – and train, instruct, and baptize people in Jesus’ Name. This week, we start off by hearing from Stephanie who just returned from sharing the Gospel in Albania:
This was actually my second trip to Albania and it was great to go back and minister to the people who we met last year. I think that I was more relaxed this year because I knew what to expect, compared to last year when I was much more hesitant about sharing the Gospel. But this year, I was much more confident that God was going to do something amazing in and through me, so I just let Him have His way! Last year, I kept insisting that I wasn’t God’s mouthpiece, but this year I knew that He wanted to use me in that way, so I was much more open to speak about His Good News.
My most special moment was when we went to the home of one of the interpreters. We had the opportunity to share with his mother and we got to see her accept the Lord as her Savior. Witnessing our interpreter walk his mother through the sinner’s prayer was a very touching and tender moment.
It’s amazing what God can do when we allow Him to lead us out of our comfort zone and into the work that He has planned for us.
It’s hard and nerve-racking when God calls us out of our comfort zone, but He has tremendous blessings in store for those who will follow where He leads. If bringing the Gospel to all nations of the world was easy, everybody would be doing it. There are just so many barriers to be overcome: travel, language and financial barriers just to name a few. But, the Lord never promised that it would be easy or comfortable to serve Him. He did promise, though, to always be with us and never leave us!
Carla was sitting in church, opened up her bulletin and found a flier about an upcoming missions trip to India. This is her story:
I heard the Lord telling me very clearly to go. And I answered just as clearly. I said, “God, I can’t go. You’ve got the wrong person. I can’t go to a third-world country. I can’t leave my children…” I had my whole list of reasons why He had the wrong girl.
That following week, in my quiet times, God continued to very clearly speak to me through His Word about how He just wants me to be obedient and how He can work through my weaknesses – even though I’m not a trained evangelist. I’m not even a good travel partner. I don’t do well without sufficient sleep. I’ve never gone away anywhere and left my daughters behind. And then my husband threw me for a loop one day when he came home and said, “God has told me very clearly today that I’m supposed to go to India, too!”
God then supplied all the money that we needed for the trip. He also provided someone to stay with our girls while we were gone. And we went.
Now, as an American, it is very hard to share with people. Many people do not see their need for God or His mercy, grace and forgiveness. So, they often just tune you out. It made me wonder why he called us.
Then, I had my “light-bulb moment”. After lunch on the first day we were there, every person at the house that we shared with accepted the Lord! That’s when it dawned on me that it wasn’t about me. God’s love and His Word are all it takes to penetrate people’s hearts. You could see it in their eyes. They were eager to pursue God’s truth and renounce all their other gods.
It was so amazing and humbling to realize that God would use me in this way. Even my friends at home said that I was the last person in the world that they ever thought would do something like this. But now, my husband’s and my priorities have all shifted and we pray constantly for new opportunities to share God’s Word.
The work that Carla and her husband did in India was very significant because it glorified God and expanded His kingdom. For additional stories and information on how you can be with E3 Partners Expedition, go to e3partners.org.