Am I Called to This?
“I’m just trying to figure out what God is calling me to do.”
I’ve heard this statement and variations of it more times than I can count. I’ve said it a few times in my life as well.
When I was in college and wrestling through God's call on my life one of my youth leaders walked through these questions with me. They brought instant clarity to what I needed to do. In the years since, I've walked students of my own through these questions dozens of times. Whether you’re seeking to understand God’s call on your life or are trying to help others do the same, here are 5 questions to ask that can help bring clarity to a calling.
#1 - Is it Consistent with God’s Character?
This is as good as any place to start. If God’s calling you to a rob a bank and buy a caribbean island with the loot, I feel pretty confident in saying that you’ve missed something. God’s call to you will always line up with His character. So, the first step to understanding God’s calling on your life is to get to know God better. Study His word, spend time in prayer. It’s amazing how spending time with someone can help you get to know them.
Side note - you don’t have to sit and wonder if God has called you things that He’s already commanded his followers to do in scripture - love your neighbour, forgive your enemies, care for the poor, etc, etc. Yes, do that. We’re all called to that.
#2 - Do you feel a pull toward this?
This one’s tricky. That pull you feel could easily be because it’s something you want to do anyway. (I’m always amazed at how many people feel called to short term missions in tropical places.)
But, being pulled doesn’t necessarily mean you want to do it or are even particularly excited about it. Think of it as something you feel like you have to do or need to do. The idea you can’t get out of your mind. The possibility that seems to keep coming up in conversation. If you can’t seem to shake it, it’s worth a closer look.
#3 - Does this line up with your gifts/skills/talents?
There’s a pretty good chance that the place God calls you to will take advantage of the gifts/skills and talents that He has given you. However, there are some caveats to that:
He might call you to something to develop a gift that you didn’t know you had.
The opportunity to use your gifts may not be obvious until you actually get there.
You might need to use your gifts in an unexpected way.
The gifts/skills/talents thing may not be obvious at first glance. Take a closer look at the potential calling. Investigate it. Talk to people who have done similar things and seek to understand as best as possible what opportunities would be available to you.
#4 - Do other people sense this calling on you?
Find people who know you and, more importantly, know God well. Ask them to talk through this idea with you. Ask them to pray about it. I’ve found in my own spiritual journey that God’s leading is often made clear through the counsel of mentors and friends who have journeyed with me.
Side note - if you find yourself hesitant to share with these people, there’s a good chance it’s because you know you won’t like what they have to say. Force yourself to have those conversations.
#5 - Are doors opening for this?
So, you feel called to missions on the international space station… are there actually some opportunities available for you to pursue that? Ok, that’s a bit of hyperbole, but the point remains. Are there opportunities available to pursue the calling that you’re sensing? Perhaps it’s a school with a unique program or a need that presents itself in your church or community. An open door could come from almost anywhere. If the doors that you thought were open begin to shut, it’s worth re-evaluating the call you felt. Do that with a trusted mentor.
Side note - if you’re feeling called to do kids’ ministry in Africa but can’t even be bothered to serve in Sunday school at your home church… re-evaluate your motives.
Answering yes to all 5 questions is not a guarantee that you’ve discovered a calling on your life. But, it’s a great tool to use when you’re searching for clarity. I hope it will prove as helpful for you as it has for me!