Since Left Hand Church has sprouted, Paula, Aaron and I have been sharing about our individual callings related to the church. I’ve heard from a few people regarding their own calls, and how it can feel uncertain and unwieldy in the waiting space. I have a few thoughts.
First, a calling is personal. A calling is between the individual and God. Sometimes we tell others and sometimes we keep quiet. Sometimes our call doesn’t feel real or acceptable or sure. I used to assume that if sensed a call I had to act fast, that God would yank it away because of my unbelief and my inability to trust, passing it on to someone better qualified with greater faith and courage. I don’t believe that any longer. Our calls are crafted for our unique bodies, minds, souls, purposes, circumstances, logistics. Our calls are invitations within our desires and talents to partner with God.
Second, when we are called we have to learn how to play the waiting game. Waiting is no fun and it messes with us. There will be boatloads of doubt and discouragement, feeling alone, accompanied by moments of monotony and threats to personal worth. This does not mean our calls are invalid. On the contrary. The difficult times are not a threat to the call, but a confirmation of it. Waiting is a time of personal growth as we gain a thicker skin and develop muscles and learn to trust. While waiting is messy, the end result is miraculous. Learning to feel, know, and experience God is a gift that cannot be measured.
Third, our calls don’t have to be huge. I oftentimes feel a tug to make a phone call or do a small task for myself or another. Sometimes I feel the call to stay in and rest. We cannot judge our worth based upon the size of our call. We do what we feel led to do - big or small.
Fourth, following a call will be equal parts everything and nothing that was expected. There is no failure in this. As we learn to listen, trust our guts, and believe the next breadcrumb on the path will be revealed, we grow and develop what is needed to accomplish our calling.
In whatever ways our calls manifest themselves, we are invited into a life of joy. This is not a space for martyrs. There is no requirement to suffer for Jesus. In fact, one sign of a call is something you can’t imagine yourself not doing. As our friend Carla Ewert says, “A calling is like an howl of passion.”
For the three of us, Left Hand Church is the culmination of an ongoing call. We still experience fatigue, uncertainty, and doubt but none of these make any of our efforts wrong. But on the other hand, we have witnessed firsthand a new church that offers hope and love and life and light in our community. Nothing can eclipse this goodness.
May we all trust in where we are being led. As messy and weird as it gets.
May 17-19, Highlands Church in Denver is hosting the She Is Called conference for women. From the website:
She Is Called exists to network and resource women by providing conversational space for their ambitions, goals, and hopes. She Is Called 2018 is a conference, a gathering, a jumping off point for women to connect and discuss issues surrounding their work and calling. Space is limited, so register today!
We believe calling is the internal howl of passion by which we understand ourselves and our work in the world. All too often women, particularly those in faith contexts, have been asked to quiet our passions. We’ve been taught to fear ambition, sacrifice goals, and resign hope. At She Is Called, we believe speaking our passion out loud has the power to rekindle it.
We structure all we do around the idea that voicing our hope empowers us. We believe empowered women are crucial to reverse the abuses that have long gone unaddressed in our culture and churches.
She Is Called is not a typical conference. Sessions will be conversational; content will form collaboratively. Facilitators will be there to keep things rolling, ask questions to spur further thinking, and guide the process, but your thoughts and insights will be the content.
Visit She Is Called to register and learn more.