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Your Calling From God
If you are like me (or even most of us), you have probably wondered, “What is my calling in life?” or “What is God’s plan for my life?”. You may wonder how to find your calling from God. You may even be struggling with that right now.
At some point in our lives, these are questions we all ask ourselves and often pray about.
God has called you His for a reason. He has a plan for you on earth and in eternity.
Your calling may not be immediately apparent to you, but God wants to show you, through the Holy Spirit, what His plan is for you. What your calling from God is.
I’ve often thought about how great it would be if we could email God. Crazy, right? But, if I could, I would thank Him for all He has done and ask Him, “How can I find my purpose on this earth?”.
Wondering What God is Calling You to Do?
How to find your calling from God including what your calling is and isn’t and how to know if you are not living your calling including worksheets to help you discern if you are seeking God’s calling in your life and scripture to apply these principles to your life.
Our purpose or calling is one of God’s gifts to us as believers. Your true calling in life is using the talents and gifts that God has endowed you with to do great things for His Kingdom and in the lives of others.
What is a Calling from God?
Calling is not something that just happens. On the contrary, God has called us so decisively that everything we are and do belongs with a special devotion, dynamism, and direction to our dedication and service to Him.
Everything we do becomes an offering of that dedication and service to Him.
So, what is a calling from God, biblically? Let’s unpack that a bit more with four biblical truths.
First, calling has a simple meaning, although there are additional variations of the word with different meanings.
God used “qārā'” to mean “to call” to get a person’s attention.
From a divine perspective, it’s more like an instruction. God expects man to hear and respond. However, humans can refuse to hear God’s call.
They can also simply refuse to obey the call of God.
Or they may try to avoid His call.
The word “calling” has a straightforward meaning.
In the Old Testament, The Hebrew word that has been translated as “call” usually means to summon. It means essentially the same as the English word.
All living creatures communicate with each other and the world around them.
The psalmist wrote that God provides food for the cattle and birds when they call. The term call has traveled a long way from its simple beginning, but this clear sense and obvious relational setting should never be lost. When you call, for example, the person on the other side of your phone will answer and listen to what is said.
In addition to simply being a way of communicating with someone, calling also had another vital meaning in the Old Testament days.
To call means to name an event, person, or thing in the world. For example, the sun and the moon were created to illuminate our world. The first chapter in Genesis tells us that God called light “day” when it shone on land, then called the darkness “night.”This type of calling is far more than labeling something to identify it. Such decisive, creative naming is a form of making.
When God called Israel, he named them and thereby constituted their being his people. We are all called to be more than what we were created for, but we all have a specific purpose that God has designed. Hence, “name-calling” is a fusion of being and becoming.
Third, calling gains even further meaning in the New Testament. It is almost synonymous with salvation. You can find freedom and release from your worries, anxiety, or stress through this one thing called “Salvation.” We are called to follow God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Just as God called Israel to him as his people, so Jesus called his disciples.
The body of Jesus’ followers is the community of the “called-out ones” (the origin of ecclesia, the Greek word for church). This calling by God is salvation.
Those who receive a call from God first experience His choosing them, and then they will be justification for His glory. Calling is the most prominent and accessible of these four initiatives God has prescribed for us to follow. Not surprisingly, it often stands for salvation itself, and the standard description of disciples of Jesus is not “Christian” but “followers of the Way.”
Finally, calling has a crucial, deeper meaning in the New Testament that blossoms more fully in the later history of the church. The Lord calls people to himself, but this call is no casual suggestion. On the contrary, he is, so awe-inspiring, and his summons is so commanding that only one response is appropriate—a response as total and universal as the authority of the Caller.
Jesus called his followers to himself, but he also called them to other things. These include peace and fellowship as well as eternal life, which is something we can only get through following Jesus Christ’s example. Discipleship is the natural and rightful response to Christ’s lordship.
As Paul wrote to the Colossians,
What does calling in the Bible mean? First, it’s a central and dynamic theme that becomes more than just an idea but something we can examine closely to see how it reflects our spiritual lives. Limiting the word to only a few texts and focusing on specific stages in salvation is like missing out on everything else that goes into making up your faith. To become a follower of Jesus is to be called by God so we can follow His ways.
The third and fourth strands of the meaning of your calling from God are the basis for the vital distinction elaborated later in history —between primary and secondary calling. Our primary calling as believers is by him, to him, and for him. Motherhood, politics, and teaching are all essential aspects of life. But they’re not the most valuable thing we have to offer; that would be God! We need him more than anything else because he gives us purpose beyond ourselves-and; without Him, there is no way for any person or idea to become great in its true form.
Our secondary calling, after God, is that everyone should think, speak, live, and act entirely for the Lord. If we consider that, then our secondary calling can be homemaking, our vocation, as long as we do all for His glory.
But our work and other activities are never our primary calling.
We need to ensure that we never change the priorities of our callings. God, including praising and serving Him, is always our first calling. Our work, our ministries, and everything else come after that.
How To Find Your Calling From God
No matter your unique calling, we are all called to ministry in some form. Consider these verses:
What is God calling you to do?
God has called all of us for works of service and to testify to the good news of His grace. However, what that looks like for each of us will be a bit different—more on that to come. What’s most important is that you are seeking your calling from God.
Talents are things God has given you that allow you to excel in certain areas, such as cooking, graphic design, math, writing, teaching, and many others. Your talents are what enable you to be successful in work and ministry. They represent natural skills you already have or can develop with practice.
Gifts are spiritual areas of life that God has blessed you with. Your gifts may include hospitality, administration, craftsmanship, discernment, evangelism, and more. (You can learn more about identifying and using your spiritual gifts in this post).
Each of these gifts, and we all have several or more, are given to us by God. These gifts help us to fulfill the calling that He has on our lives. Each of us is gifted uniquely. Since God is the giver of these gifts, how well we use them and our success is entirely dependent on Him and how He uses them through us.
Before we dive into how to find your calling, let’s look at what your calling isn’t.
“If you’re not dead, God’s not done.” – Perry Noble
What Your Calling Isn’t
By now, we know that our calling combines our talents and gifts for His glory and to further His Kingdom. But let’s examine what our calling is not.
1. Your Calling Is Not About You
As mentioned above, we know that each of us is gifted uniquely and that those talents and gifts are from God, but we must understand that we are not called for personal success or gratification. We are called to God and His Kingdom. We are called for the good of others.
(For additional reading on this, see 1 Corinthians 12:12–31 and 1 Peter 4:10–11).
When choosing roles in the church, community, or jobs, we aren’t to look for what can make us the most money or give us the most recognition. Not that either is terrible, in and of itself, but we are to seek those roles that allow God to work through us to serve others.
Our society encourages self-centeredness. It is the “me generation.” Instead, we need to be seeking to use our gifts and talents, not for our own status but looking for ways to be of the greatest service to others.
Our talents and gifts, which we use for our calling, are not chosen by us. God endows us with these gifts and talents. He calls us.
Finding your calling Bible verses
2. Your Calling is Not Your Career
Most of us confuse our work or job with our calling. While they may be the same for some (such as a pastor, missionary, or full-time ministry leader), most of us have a job and a calling that might focus on the community, our church, or our family. Therefore, when considering how to find your true calling, be aware that it may not be the same as your job.
Let’s take, for example, the retiree or stay-at-home mom. The retiree may be called as a deacon or elder, may feed the hungry, or pray with and for those in nursing homes. The stay-at-home mom may lead a homeschool group or devote herself to praying for others. But, again, your job and your calling are not necessarily intertwined. Finding your purpose may or may not be job-related. For most, it is not.
One note: Just because your calling and your profession are separate, you can use your job for God’s glory. I am the Head of Human Resources. While I’m unable to share the gospel in the course of my duties overtly, I can model Christ-like behavior. I’ve written a bit about this in this post.
Finding your calling from God
3. Your Calling Does Not Come From You
Yes, we’ve covered this, too, but repeating is essential. We don’t choose our calling; God calls us how He sees fit according to His plan for us.
God loves us more than we can ever fathom. He guides us and cares for us according to His plan in our lives. When we face decisions on where to live, what profession to enter or change, or even the church we attend, we can plan all we want, but God establishes our steps, and as He does, He defines our calling.
We find our callings with and serving others as we serve others.
As you serve others and receive feedback, correction, confirmation and affirmation, and additional opportunities, know that Abba has “created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” We perform these good works where and how we are called and in different seasons of our life.
We’re not called to do everything. Each of us has different callings. We find and refine our calling and serve others.
4. Your Calling Is Not Your Future or Your Future Goals
Our calling may be fluid. God, in His ultimate design, places us in different seasons of life. I know that throughout my life, I’ve been single, married, and widowed. I’ve lived in NJ and MO. I’ve worked full-time and been a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom. I’ve worshiped in Catholic and non-denominational churches. Each place, each season, is ordained by God.
While it is acceptable to set goals and plan for the future, instead of worrying about tomorrow (or next week or year), remember that God has you just where He wants you in this season of life.
As you navigate this current season of life, be sure to emphasize faithfully serving Him where he’s placed you until He clarifies His plan for you.
Jehovah Rohi may change your circumstances or desire to guide you to another calling. Today’s calling may not be tomorrow’s calling from God.
Calling is a journey rather than a destination, just as our lives are ever-changing, and we change as people as He grows and refines us.
It’s easy to look at your to-do list (the mountains of laundry piling up, the taxes that need to be filed, the errands that need to be run, etc.) and can be overwhelmed – even question your calling from God. Instead, I encourage you to serve in these seemingly small tasks with a glad heart. He will reveal your calling to you in each season of your life.
What the future holds is not ours to determine. It is in Father God’s hands. However, one of the critical parts of the process of spiritual growth is to pray for and identify our unique callings.
This video is a bit long. It’s a sermon from Elevation Church’s Steven Furtick, but well worth the watch.
Signs You May Not Be Doing What You Are Called to Do
You Don’t Feel Fulfilled
If you don’t feel fulfilled, you are not living out your calling. Fulfillment is a feeling that stems from doing meaningful, purposeful things. For example, your fulfillment may come from a thriving relationship to enjoying hobbies you are passionate about. Or, your fulfillment may derive from a job that uses your talents and skills. Of course, life has its share of tedious tasks and days, but if every area of your life makes you feel unfulfilled, it’s time to ask God to reveal your calling.
You are Brazenly Sinning
This one may sting a bit, sister. But, if you openly disobey God’s commands, you are not living out God’s purpose for you. It’s a slippery slope, and the longer you purposely sin, the longer you will avoid God’s calling in your life.
You feel stuck
Similar to feeling fulfilled, but yet distinctly different. If you feel stuck, you know that you want more from life but don’t have a clear direction. You feel you are not living according to God’s purpose for you but can’t put your finger on what makes you feel this way. You may feel trapped or unsure.
How to Find Your Calling From God
When trying to identify God’s plan for you, you may have no idea where to start.
I recommend several things to help you with this.
1. Remember Who God Is
Now, if you have been a believer for some time, you may already have a good picture of our Heavenly Father, and that’s great, but bear with me for a moment.
While Jesus came to earth as man, God was not made in our image. We are made in His. If we were created by Him, each unique and by His workmanship, we can’t know who we are unless we know and understand Him first.
How do you do it? Spend time in fellowship with Him. Reading the Word. Praying. Listening. We must allow His Spirit to fill us.
Finding Gods’ Purpose for Your Life
Here are a few truths about God to ponder during this exercise:
First, he doesn’t make mistakes.
He loves you more than you can fathom.
He has a plan for your life.
He is good, just, compassionate, and merciful.
He is all this and so much more. So take some time to get to know our great friend, Father Abba, our Heavenly King.
2. Know Who You Are in Him
Once you know Who God is and revel in those truths, you will be changed. When the Holy Spirit dwells in you, you will be closer to Who God has created you to be. We’re all a work in progress, but Knowing Him is the first step.
We are all called to bear witness to Jesus and to build the Kingdom of God, but each of us is “assigned” a different role. THAT is your unique calling.
The second step is remembering who he says you are.
God tells us, throughout His Word, who He has created us to be.
Let’s look at a few of our God-given attributes.
You are chosen.
You are loved.
You are redeemed.
You are beautiful.
You are His.
Your calling will use your talents and gifts, uniquely bestowed on you by God, but you must know who He created you to be to fulfill your calling on this earth.
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal Himself to you and show you the gifts God has given you and the ways He wants you to use them. Also, don’t worry about the future. Instead, focus on today and do what you currently do until God shows you the next step.
Spend time serving others, and your calling will find you. You’ll know when you have found it because you will feel more energized and happier than ever. Through God’s perfect plan, you will step into who God created you to be through God’s perfect plan.
(See the prayer below for finding your calling)
4. Map it Out
I’m a visual learner. I learn better when I can write lists and see visuals. Perhaps you are this way, as well.
Grab your free 6-page worksheet pack to help you navigate your way to God’s purpose for your life. Includes step-by-step directions and Bible verses about your calling from God.
Before you begin, pray about it, read scripture related to finding your calling from God, and then spend some time exploring your talents, gifts, and passions in a way God informs.
List your Talents
As mentioned above, talents are those things you are good at. Ask trusted friends and family members what they see as your talents. You may be surprised at their answers!
Identify your Spiritual Gifts
You may have already done this exercise through your church or small group. If not, look at my post about identifying and using your spiritual gifts. In the post, I share several sources where you can take a spiritual gifts assessment. I found my results to be eye-opening.
Use the worksheet and prayerfully answer the questions to help you find your calling from God. I’ve included a blank space for you to journal what God reveals to you.
5. Seek Trusted Counsel
God regularly reminds us to seek wise counsel when making decisions or struggling somewhere in life. This can be as simple as talking with a trusted friend or family member or seeking professional Christian counseling. These wise counselors can help us find direction when things are not clear.
Whomever you choose to discuss your calling from God, ensure that they are strong in their faith and can provide the wisdom, discernment, and support you need.
Seeking wise counsel can also include studying God’s Word and being informed by The Holy Bible.
6. Pray Some More
Prayer is one of the single most important things a believer can do. It is through prayer that we communicate with God. It is where we enjoy fellowship time with Him. We can openly share with God and listen for His voice through prayer. Being intentional with your prayer time about finding God’s purpose for you may be the most important and revealing part of your journey.
Resources on Finding Your Calling
While I’ve shared several steps on finding your calling from God, I have come across a few additional resources that I’d like to share with you. As you go through the process of prayerfully learning the purpose that God has for you, you may wish to consider one of the below resources to aid you.
The S.H.A.P.E Test (Spiritual Gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, Experiences) will help you get a clearer picture of God’s calling in your life.
Prayer to find your calling as a Christian
Pray that God will transform your desires so that they are pleasing to Him.
Lord, I surrender my life and everything in it to you. I want to do something with my life, something significant. I try to do this myself, but Father, I know I can’t do this on my own, with my strength. I know that without you, I can do nothing. I know my talents and my gifts are not my own. They have been given to me by you and for you to work through me.
Abba, I am thankful for this life. You’ve blessed me with unique talents and gifts. Help me understand how to nurture and use them to bring glory to You. Adonai, please take my hands and feet and show me how to use them to expand Your Kingdom.
Bless my choices in vocation and ministry. Transform the desires of my heart and purify them so that they are pleasing to you. Help to your our eyes and love on us. No matter what day, Lord, allow me to hear Your Call and seek you always.
Listen, friend. God may not reveal your calling today, tomorrow, or next week. But, if you earnestly seek Him and try to look at the world through His eyes, you will find your calling.
Need to reignite your passion for your purpose? You’ll love this post by Natalie Venegas. or this one by Jennifer Cannon on finding God’s will for your life.
You may also enjoy one of these recommended resources:
God. Gifts. You.: Your Unique Calling and Design by Shirley Giles Davis
Or check them out with a free Audible trial.
As always, friends, I’m praying for you!
Because of Him,
ESV – “Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”