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Four Myths You May Believe About Your Calling

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!

Four Myths You May Believe About Your Calling

Image: StuMinGames

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.

Myth #1: It’s About You  

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.

Myth #2: If It’s Uncomfortable, It Can’t Be Your Calling

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.

Myth #3: Choosing Wrong Can Thwart God’s Will

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.

Myth #4: Your Calling Is Settled

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!

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Two reasons to smile today: First reason was the hour I spent at the park pushing my 5 year old on the swings, chasing him around the playground and hearing him laugh at the top of his lungs. Second reason was the reaction on the faces of the suburban moms as a 6’3 tattooed ex-con looking white guy chases a screaming black child through the park as the child screams “don’t touch me, go away”. Moms were horrified; they seriously pulled their children away from us as we played.

Our first year of parenting we started with a Kindergartner, First Grader, Fourth Grader and a Freshman. With four kids that had three different school start times and three different release times, my wife and I spent a lot of time finding creative ways to kill sometime between drop offs and pick ups. Since our youngest, Darrien, got out of Kindergarten at least an hour before his siblings we spent time feeding ducks at a local pond, we went to the “In Door Zoo” which was a big pet shop that had birds, reptiles and fish, we wandering stores looking for the cheapest and most expensive things in that store, we ate a few late lunches, but by far his favorite after school dad time activity was the park.fatherhood is helping kids develop how they view the world

My little man has endless energy and even after a day of school and an hour of park time he still had energy to burn. So my job at the park was to try and burn as much of his energy as possible with out passing out in a pile of bark under the swing set. Each park trip was full of similar activities like swing pushing, slide sliding, and playing chase. Chase was always the best way to burn energy, swinging whipped me out, but not the boy. Sliding was fun but not an energy burn. But chase meant he was running and climbing and jumping and screaming all over the park as long as dad could keep up.

My favorite parts of park days were hearing Dino laughing and screaming at the top of his lungs enjoying playing with dad. But almost as much as I enjoy hearing him love life out loud was watching other parents freak out at me play with my son. See l am a six-foot 3, 330 pound, shaved head, goateed, heavily tattooed white guy who looks more like a biker or gang member than I do a dad. Darrien at the time was a tiny three-foot something, 30-pound, skinny mini-guy who is African American and looks nothing like me. Get a good mental picture of those two physical descriptions and now picture me chasing him while he screams, “Get away, don’t touch me, help me, ahhhhhh scary guy!”. As this fun is happening all over the park the other parents are freaking out. There was not one other dad at the park and there wasn’t one other African American at the park either. So the crowd of white moms had no idea how to deal with this. They looked horrified at me, they pulled their children away from the areas we were playing, one lady just looked with her mouth hanging open with a finger in the air like she was going to say something but she never did. I so badly wanted to stop and look at these moms and yell, “I’m coming after your child next!” just to see how they would freak out. But I have a feeling that would not have ended well.

One specific day as we got in the car to go and get my other kids from school Darrien looked at me and said, “Why weren’t the other parents and kids playing with us? Was it because I’m brown and you’re white?” I was so bummed that he noticed the other parents’ response to us and I was so mad that he thought it was because of our different skin colors. He might have been right, but I hated that he was right. So I needed to answer my son and explain why things were the way they were. And what came to mind wasn’t a lie, but it wasn’t going to be from the scared mom’s point of view, my response was going to be from a loving fathers point of view that was investing in a young man.

“Son some of those kids wouldn’t play with you because they were jealous. Did you see any other Dads at the park? Nope. All the other kids wished they could be with their dads, they wished they were as lucky as you. The moms didn’t want to play with us because men play tough and girls and ladies can never play the same way dads and sons play. The ladies just wanted to watch us be crazy manly guys. And buddy you are brown and I am white and everyone can see that. But if they take time to watch a few minutes they would see how our laughter doesn’t have a color, they would see our smiles are the same, they would see how when you hug me you don’t care what color I am and when I hug you I don’t care what color you are. If they don’t like that we are different colors it’s because they have problems, not because we have problems.”

I knew I had to address Darrien’s concerns. But I also knew that I had the responsibility and freedom to frame my answer in a way that could empower and encourage Darrien. So I chose to highlight the fact that we were having great father-and-son time. I chose to encourage the idea that we were doing exciting manly things that only fathers and sons could to together. And lastly I wanted him to know our relationship and our love was defined by us, not by anyone outside of our family.

My job as a father is to help my kids develop the lens they will view the world through. I could have shown Darrien that since we are not a “traditional” family, the world will treat us differently and because of how they view us we will live lives that are constantly responding to someone else’s opinions and feelings. But I don’t want my kids to give that much power and influence to someone else. So looking at the same situation I hoped to show Darrien that he has the power to live above other people’s opinions, that he gets to choose his own narrative.

Now let me make something clear, I am not saying that I am going to tell my kids they are the best player on the team when they aren’t. I am not going to tell them they are talented singers when they aren’t. What I am going to tell them is they get to decide who they are, not someone else. My kids will choose who they want to be, my kids will not be defined by other peoples opinions and preferences. I don’t have the ability to change their pasts or to rewrite their story, but I will encourage and empower them to choose their futures.

As parents we have the opportunity and responsibility to not only help our kids discover who they are but also cast a vision of who they can become. We can’t sit on the side lines watching as schools, teachers, coaches, friends, and strangers tell them who they are because of where they came from. Parents we need to love our kids where they are at – regardless of the past they came from – and love them enough to help them become the best “Them” that they want to be.

Our children’s past will constantly remind them of who they were

Their current surroundings will try to tell them who they need to be

Our job is to lead them, guide them, empower them, equip them

And walk with them to help them become who they will be.

To learn more about Mike’s Unorthodox life, Unorthodox ministry, and Unorthodox takes, check out Unorthodoxman.com. And, to join the Unorthodox Community, visit our Facebook page.

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Reflections of Grace Slider2

Most of us deal with fear by trying to be someone we are not.  We try to transform our image by presenting ourselves as someone other than who we really are.

I did this for years.  I called it the Imposter Syndrome.

Many of us try to reinvent ourselves, seeking healing and transformation over and over again, through impersonating who we want to be, not who we really are.

This is most often because we don’t love and accept ourselves.

But in the end of this masquerade we find that only as we let go of the false picture and embrace who God created us to be can we really see ourselves as lovable and valuable.

  • Even with all of our quirks.
  • We find a new self by embracing our original self finally, and let God reveal how unique we really are.

Whenever I was asked to be a public speaker I would have a slow build of panic right up until I actually stood (or sat) before the people.  If panic could light up a room, the room would have been glowing when I walked in.  On the outside I would look cool as a cucumber.  But on the inside I was trying to just breathe through my panic.

Years ago, through a publication of a women’s ministry newsletter that I sent out every month, I was invited to be on a Christian television program through Trinity Broadcast Network.  I was so honored and excited.

But as the day approached and I had to drive four hours to the Tustin, Ca. studios, my panic began to rise.  I had set my alarm for early that day, but my anxiety had sent me an earlier wakeup call…I simply could not sleep.   I imagined all kinds of scenarios.

  • I would sound like an idiot.
  • I would forget all I knew.

People would laugh at the poor girl trying to make a name for herself.

It went on and on and try as I might I could not get it to stop.  I even tried to imagine the worst that could happen to me if I failed and tried to convince myself I wouldn’t die.

  • But it didn’t help.
  • I would think to myself, “In four hours I will be in a TV studio sitting before millions of people staring at me.”  This is where I would tell a world full of women, “You are beautiful and you have a gift and a calling right in your own homes and your personal lives that God wants to use.”
  • Lord knows I tried deep breathing, focusing on scripture, begging Jesus to let this cup pass from me, everything I could think of.  But I still felt like I was going to throw up.

As I nervously sat in the studio before I was to go on and watched the other guests being interviewed, I started hyperventilating.

  • I couldn’t breathe.  I tried distracting myself.  I couldn’t think of one thing I had planned on saying.  Not one!
  • Focus, focus, focus.

Five minutes before I was to go on I had this fight or flight thing hit me and I had to go to the bathroom.  I just knew if I didn’t go I would embarrass myself on national TV.

  • The horror of it.

As I got up to find a restroom I was immediately told to sit down and that I was on in 2 minutes.

  • So, this is it, I thought.  I am doomed.

“If this anxiety gets worse, I’ll be incoherent on national television.” I stuttered to myself.

The time finally came and the assistant told me to take my place behind the red line and sit down.

I went in terror.  Truly.

But an odd thing began to happened as I sat down.

  • The moment I sat in the chair every bit of terror left me.  Everything changed in me.
  • I sat down in that chair opposite the host, and became another person. It was like I set foot into the water and then it parted.
  • When the red light came on I was poised, confident, and answered the hosts questions with utmost confidence–as if I was an expert in the field of women’s ministries and like I went on national TV every day.

I was actually sorry when the interview was over.  I wanted to say more.  This was easy.

As I walked away that day, I thought, “WHAT IN THE WORLD WAS THAT?”

Why was I so scared?  Why do I do this to myself?

I was always terrified before going before anyone to say anything in a public setting because I didn’t feel good enough.

Image: Colter Reed

Image: Colter Reed

I felt like I had to reinvent myself for a national audience and be someone I am not, so I would be accepted.  I just knew if I did not, I was going to fade away into nothingness.

  • I didn’t feel beautiful on the inside.  I felt terrified.  Yet I was there to tell others that they were loved exceedingly just as they are.  I believed it for them but not for myself.

This story was just the beginning of being taught by the Lord to accept myself for who I am, and learning to let go of my feelings of failure and not measuring up to other’s standards.

I was the one He chose to share my story that day, not some nationally well-known speaker.

  • He also showed me that this feeling of inferiority began the day I became a childhood incest survivor.   At the point of my violation as a little girl I believed something was wrong with me and that feeling followed me all of my life until the Lord showed me how much He loved me.
  • For a parent to violate me I had to be really bad, I reasoned.  I truly believed it until Jesus healed and opened my eyes to the His truth.
  • Everything I did, until the day I had my eyes opened, was shrouded with the feeling that if I did succeed, I fooled everyone.   If they knew who I really was they would laugh me out of town.

How sad that so many of us are still hiding behind our masks of inferiority and believe that somehow we aren’t as special as someone else who looks like they have it all together.

Do you relate to this story?   Just let me say I know what you are feeling, but it is just simply not true.  Your perception of yourself is a trick of the enemy to keep you hidden away from fulfilling your true calling.  For you all have a calling.   Jesus has a plan for each and every one of us.

  • When you get a glimpse into the reality of this truth your life will change forever.

This is why I am a Life Purpose Coach today.  I watch Holy Spirit open the eyes of so many I coach with.  I never cease to be amazed at this profound and life changing process that coaching transforms in those who seek inner healing from childhood images of themselves.

It is as we learn to love ourselves, that we can truly love one another without pretending.

“And all of us, as with unveiled face, because we continued to behold in the Word of God as in a mirror the glory of the  Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own  image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of  glory to another; for this comes from the Lord Who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

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Reflections of Grace Slider

I was on an airplane journey was to Montana. I was to fly out of Burbank to Salt Lake City, then on to Montana.   I felt all grown up – big time ministry woman, hitting the skies.   I love traveling alone. I call these trips, “me and Jesus journeys.”

So off I went, feeling like the woman in charge of my own life.   I was shocked at the smallness of the airport, and when I asked the way to my boarding area, they laughed at me. I soon found out why. There was only one boarding area and it was right around the wall behind where they stood.   Okay, joke’s on me.

I walked around the corner and saw the plane was ready to board, but they were not calling us to board. Starting to feel a little anxiety, I kept watching the clock because in four hours I was to board the flight to Montana from Salt Lake City. And that was the last one for the night. What would I do stranded at an airport all night?

The hours crawled as I watched a literal circus of errors with no explanation as to why we could not board the plane. The Santa Ana winds had come up and were blowing the plane all over the place but they assured us that this was not the problem. They came on the speaker and asked who among us would be willing to get off the plane because there was too much weight for it to fly.

Seriously?   Of course, The Voice began to chime in–you know The Voice in your head that plays unending recordings of negativity–telling me that it was MY weight that would bring down the plane. What if I was the one who tipped the scales of the plane and sent it spiraling downward, killing us all? I knew I should have lost those 20 pounds before this trip!   No one volunteered to be the one to get off.   I had to reach Salt Lake before my other plane left. My anxiety level was rising.

“Okay Jesus, it is You and me. This is scary. Bring me peace. Now!”

“What should I do?”

(Silence.)

Then He whispered, “It’s okay, Dixie, I go before you, remember?”

“I’m good. I’m good. I’m not in a hurry. Mercy. Grace .”

He had my back. But my mind was killing me.

“Bring every thought captive to His voice, Dixie,” I self-talked.

Two hours later, they finally let us board the plane with no explanation as to why we couldn’t get on before that. I was just wondering if they truly did get that one fat person off so we wouldn’t fall out of the sky? The stewardess told us that it was “bunk” that the plane would weigh too much. Then we saw the pilot come on the plane, who, up until then, had been missing in action. Hmmmmm.   And he was all smiles as he climbed into the cockpit.

Now, I have to ask you, when your pilot delays the plane by not showing up on time, what comes to your mind?

“Okay, Lord, here we go.”

The stewardess walked the aisle and told us under her breath that we needed to write to the airline and complain about this incident. This told me she knew something she was not telling us.

“Good grief, Lord, I am so glad You are with me up here.”

 I was already emotionally triggered, though. I was thrown back into my childhood.   The old scripts started playing. “Nothing ever works right for you, Dixie.   If it’s going to go wrong it will be on your watch.”

God was revealing, yet again, deeper issues in my heart that need His tending; areas where I need to repent of and receive His forgiveness and perfect love; areas where I need to lean in and trust more and let my mind be renewed; areas where I am harsh for some underlying reason that I need Jesus to reveal and heal.

Now we were in the air in the Santa Ana winds. We lurched our way to Utah. It was like riding a bucking bronco, I am sure. By then I had texted everyone how much I loved them.

Arriving in Salt Lake City, a man who had looked up my flight to Montana told me that it had left an hour before, so I needed to find an attendant and ask for a motel. So, sure enough, the plane had left without me. I mean, really, how many people were going to Helena, Montana at that time of night? Probably two people, they told me. They could have waited for me.

Image: Lacklustre

Image: Lacklustre

“Lord, I simply can’t sleep in one of these airport seats like Tom Hanks did in that movie where he had to live at the airport.”

“I’ve got this, Dixie.”

Deep breath.   The man at the counter told me they would put me up in a nearby motel and transport me there and bring me back in the morning to catch the next flight.   Wow! Okay then.   I was put up in a very fancy hotel near the airport.

“Just like a husband, You are, my Jesus!!”

“When you say you trust Me, that means even when the way looks bleak, my child,” He whispered.

The ride to the motel put me on a shuttle with a woman who was alone. She went to another motel, but the next morning we ended up sitting together on our way to Montana. And then I knew.

The delay was so the Lord could put us together for a one-hour flight.   In that hour, we found we were both believers, and we connected on a level I knew was Jesus. She was encouraged, and I was too.

A divine appointment.

By the time we arrived in Helena and got off the plane, it was like we had always known each other, and I introduced her to my friend I was visiting. I will not know until eternity what that encounter was really about. But I do know the whole trip was planned out by Jesus for this particular meeting.

And it was to reveal to me new things about myself. That’s what He’s up to; this loving, wild, relentless, fabulous God of ours.  He’s always after my restoration.

My emotional healing.

My deliverance.

My freedom.

And He’s after yours, as well.

“I say ‘yes’ to You, Lord.  I don’t like the ugly parts of me You have revealed, but I would stay in that ugliness if You didn’t show it to me. So show me”

Even in airports, I am held in His grace .  I am held in His love.  I am being restored.

So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

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