Wednesday, June 20, 2007

God's Will & Your Calling

More excellent writing that I've come across...

Shaun Groves in his post, Bonus Room Do Over, gives this helpful advice on finding God's will for your life. The entire post is definitely worth a read.

"Whatever you decide to do for a living, decide to love God more than yourself, love the poor and the sick and the hopeless more than your own happiness, love the intern as much as the boss, love your kids more than a promotion, love your wife more than your laptop. This is God’s will for your entire life. To pull this off you’ll need to buy as little as you can. The more stuff you own the more you’ll feel you have to work, the more depressed you’ll be when work isn’t fun, and the more you’ll equate God’s will with what you do for work, and the less time you’ll have to discover all the other things life is supposed to be about."

Robbymac continues with some excellent points about how we view our "calling" in relation to our vocation or occupation in his post, Calling & Identity.

"Part of the problem, I think, is that too many people – myself included – confuse a sense of “calling” with “that from which I receive a paycheque”. For example, if you view your “calling” as being a full-time, financially-compensated clergy-unit, and then the church down-sizes you, suddenly an identity crisis of biblical proportions hits you like a proverbial camel train.

If I make “being a paid pastor” my “calling”, then I could lose my sense of calling and identity depending on whether or not I had a vocational financially-compensated placement in a pastoral role. And my calling and identity would be in the hands of whatever people held the power of hiring and firing.

However, if my calling and identity is that of an encourager, I can do that with or without a position, title, recognition, notoriety, or paycheque. And my calling and identity would be in the hands of Someone far greater."

Good stuff Robby and Shaun!

An early post of mine, Be What You Are, contained some thoughts along this theme.

"Go ahead and be what you are. Let the life of Christ be expressed through you in the ways that are in your heart, not worrying about whether your giftings carry a title. If it is in your heart to mentor and shepherd, don't wait for someone to call you an elder or pastor. Go ahead and serve with the giftings that are in you."

'Be what you are' is a phrase I continue to use to remind myself and others to live out what is in our heart in spite of obstacles or doubts. When we find that place of God-given identity within, we can live into that with confidence, regardless of whether we receive recognition. There is no one or nothing that can ultimately prevent you from living out what you truly are.


just me said...

You also said in your blog article :

As we pursue insignificance and obscurity, it is likely that we will never be recognized at the gates of influence. However, there is nothing holding us back from living our lives with full expression of the spiritual gifts that are resident in us.
So go ahead, be what you are!

As I stand on the threshold of insignificance and obscurity it seems to be a very barren desert. I can see why so many run back to that which is familiar. This is especially true when your paycheck also came from this place. We gave up our paycheck once to follow what God had called us to. I think that is the biggest hindrance to those in “professional ministry.” It is as scary as hell.

But I cannot go back.

It helps so much to have you all writing about it.
Former Leader

shaungroves said...

I added your blog to my blogroll just now. Good stuff worth checking in on again and again. And thanks for introducing me to Robby's words too.

Bruce said...

I love this! I've got a friend who is a paid staff member and I'm going to refer her to this post. Thanks.


David Cho said...

This reminds me of the prayer I read a long time ago. Here I paraphrase.

"Lord, help me stop wrestling over what your will for my life is. Help me obey what I know to be your will already."

Or something like that. There are tons of things that we know to be God's will already, so why sweat over what we don't know. As Shaun says, love the intern as much as the boss. Most of us don't do that. We are too status seeking.

Very good stuff.

MICHAEL said...

I spent all my childhood in orphanages but never experienced anything as horrific as those poor children in Baghdad. About 3 years ago I dropped into a black hole – four months of absolute terror. I wanted to end my life, but somehow [Holy Spirit], I reached out to a friend who took me to hospital. I had three visits [hospital] in four months – I actually thought I was in hell. I imagine I was going through some sort of metamorphosis [mental, physical & spiritual]. I had been seeing a therapist [1994] on a regular basis, up until this point in time. I actually thought I would be locked away – but the hospital staff was very supportive [I had no control over my process]. I was released from hospital 16th September 1994, but my fear, pain & shame had only subsided a little. I remember this particular morning waking up [home] & my process would start up again [fear, pain, & shame]. No one could help me, not even my therapist [I was terrified]. I asked Jesus Christ to have mercy on me & forgive me my sins. Slowly, all my fear has dissipated & I believe Jesus delivered me from my “psychological prison.” I am a practicing Catholic & the Holy Spirit is my friend & strength; every day since then has been a joy & blessing. I deserve to go to hell for the life I have led, but Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross, delivered me from my inequities. John 3: 8, John 15: 26, are verses I can relate to, organically. He’s a real person who is with me all the time. I have so much joy & peace in my life, today, after a childhood spent in orphanages [England & Australia]. God LOVES me so much. Fear, pain, & shame, are no longer my constant companions. I just wanted to share my experience with you [Luke 8: 16 – 17].

Peace Be with You

daisymarie said...

This perspective was exactly what I needed to read on my first day back from vacation. It was God's word to my heart. Thank you!!!

Inheritor of Heaven said...

Some of your thoughts/quotes resonated with me as they reminded me of some of Luther's writings I had read once upon a time. It also reminds me of a little book by Brother Lawrence entitled "The Practice of the Presence of God."

I also found a little article regarding calling (or "faith and work") at this location

Mike Croghan said...

Hi Grace,

Like daisymarie, I just got back from a few days vacation. This is good stuff. Thanks!


Rodney Olsen said...

Good stuff. Plenty to chew over.

Thanks for the post.

Dave said...

Definitely food for thought... and then there is the other perspective... lol - those of us that from childhood felt a call to serve God the rest of our lives vocationally... I went to college. Degree? Applied Ministry. Went to seminary. Degree? Biblical Languages. What do I do? Plant churches. Though not all of my service in the Kingdom has meant a paycheck, I do need to provide for my family of four. God has yet to guide me out of a ministry where I am paid. Just not sure what I would do and who would hire me for anything else.

But it goes without saying that my faith is not dependent on a paycheck. I do not wait to serve until I am paid or some foolishness like that. lol - I serve because I am a follower of Jesus.

- David Cowan

grace said...

former leader,
It is good to come to the place where we have little to lose. I've said before that this is a path I would never have chosen. However, now I could never go back either.

How nice to meet you! Your song Welcome Home was a favorite of mine before I ever heard of blogging.

I hope that some of these thoughts are helpful to your friend.

It seems like there is plenty to do if we are looking to serve. Maybe fewer options if we're looking to position ourselves.

I've read your story on other blogs. I am grateful for Jesus' rescue in your life.

daisymarie and mike,
It's good to know that our calling is more than just our occupation, although we can bring our gifts and mission to work with us.

Good reference to Brother Lawrence, the idea that God's presence can be a part of all that we do. I'll take a look at the article. Thanks!

Hi rodney, glad you enjoyed it.

I think we have had the ministry as a paid vocation discussion here before. I know I've read it on other blogs. It's always an interesting topic.
What I liked about these posts was the distinction that calling isn't limited to vocation, although as in your situation, there can be overlap.
Even for pastors though, I think it's good to remember that the calling is about more than just what you're paid to do. As you said, you serve because of your faith, not the paycheck.