Do you want to find that “sweet spot” in your life or career where you’re energized and challenged?
Do you crave meaningful work or to spend your time on things that give you a sense of your purpose?
But what if you don’t know what your calling is? How can you discover it?
Here are four common obstacles that come between you and the sense that you’re living the life God intended for you.
How many times have you met someone and one of the first questions you asked was, “What do you do?”
In our culture, your job easily becomes your identity. This mentality can reduce your calling in life to what you do for a paycheck.
If your purpose is all about a 9-to-5 job, then the ultimate goal in life becomes finding the perfect job where your talents, values and desires all meet. If you’re experiencing anything less, then your calling must be elsewhere.
But what happens if you, your boss, work environment or life circumstances change? Do you restart the search for your calling? This way of living can set you up for a lifetime of disappointment with God.
The Bible says your life’s purpose starts with God at work in this world and that He’s calling you into His story.
Circumstances change, but God’s primary calling for you – to know Him and make Him known – remains constant.
If and when your circumstances change, you don’t have to be thrown off course. Your calling does not originate with you. It starts with God.
It can be a struggle to trust that God is always good and that He wants what’s best for us.
But how do you reconcile your desires with God’s when they aren’t the same?
The Bible describes this process as denying — or dying — to yourself (Matthew 16:24, Galatians 2:20-21, Philippians 3:8-10). But turning death into life is one of God’s specialties.
Spend time reading the Bible, and choose to trust that God knows you and loves you — even when if it feels like you are dying to what you want. Pray and ask Him to align your heart with His.
In addition to the Bible, one common way God gives us wisdom is through people who know us, know His Word and have the Holy Spirit living in them through a relationship with Jesus.
But this requires you to be in authentic, honest relationships with other Christians.
If you don’t have those kinds of relationships, a great place to start is by finding a church and joining a Bible study or small group.
So what if you’re not convinced you’ve heard from God, but you still have to make a decision?
What if you make the wrong choice?
The idea of a single, correct choice can be debilitating and add unnecessary pressure to each decision.
God’s plan is for every person to have an opportunity to know Him and for every believer to become more like Jesus. Where you do that and how it looks during your waking hours is more flexible than you sometimes think.
God offers us multiple pathways, not a maze with one way through. Even occupations and locations that are an imperfect fit can grow your character. Sometimes they are especially good because of what they reveal about our weaknesses and spiritual maturity.
So ask yourself and God if any of your options are sinful, and then enjoy the freedom God is giving you to make a decision.
Trusting God to make your paths straight might even mean believing He is capable of working with your imperfect choices.
Read more on “Discerning God’s Will” and take some time to consider God’s calling for your life.
Use your journal to think through these questions, or discuss them with someone you trust.
What gifts do you believe God has given you?
What do other people say your natural strengths are?
How could you use your talents to serve God and serve others?
How do you respond to Proverbs 3:5-6?
About the Author: Joanna Wilson has been a staff member with Cru since 2013 and is passionate about sharing stories that illustrate and demonstrate God’s love and truth. She enjoys finding old musty books in used bookstores and long walks in wild places.
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