Work and Rest

How Can I Follow My Calling if I’m Not Sure What It Is?

Joanna Wilson

Do you dream about finding that “sweet spot” in your life and career where you’ll be energized, fulfilled and challenged?

You crave meaningful work that expresses a sense of your calling.

But there’s a problem. What if you don’t know what your calling is. What if  you’re unsure of how to discover it.

Barriers can come between us and the sense we are living the life God intends for us. How do we overcome them?

1. You’re not sure what a calling is.

How many times have you met someone new and one of the first questions you asked each other was, “What do you do?”

Your job becomes your identity. Your work takes over the concept of having a calling, reducing it to what you do for a paycheck.

If your calling is all about your 9 to 5 job, then the ultimate goal 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 life is dynamic. You change. Your boss, team and work environment change. If you find the elusive sweet spot, it may not last for long. What happens when it ends? Do you restart the search for your calling every time those factors move out of alignment?

This view is based on the wrong starting point. It sets you up for a lifetime of disappointment with God.

The solution: Turn your calling right-side up.

The Bible presents a better way of thinking. It starts with God at work in this world and calling you into His story.

Circumstances change, but God’s primary calling for you – to know Him and make Him known – remains constant.

By making this your goal, even when circumstances change, you won’t be thrown off course.

Your calling does not originate with you. It starts with God.

2. What if you don’t want what God wants for you?

There is a struggle of distrust that God is always good and He wants what’s best for us.

Trusting God can feel like death sometimes. The Bible even describes it as dying to yourself. But turning death into life is one of God’s specialities.

3. How do you know when God is speaking to you?

In the Bible, God does lots of talking: Actual words or He sends angels to speak for Him.

How often does that happen to you?

Maybe you think He has spoken once and for all through scripture. Maybe you think He only speaks to those who are really devoted to Him. Or perhaps you fail to recognize when He is speaking to us today.

One way God communicates with us is through people who know us, know God’s word and carry His Spirit within them.

We see Him in others and we can hear Him through others. But this requires you to be in authentic, honest relationship with other Christians.

4. You’re scared of choosing the wrong path.

So you’re not convinced you’ve heard from God, but you still have to make a decision.

What if you make the wrong choice?

Steve, a young professional in Portland, Oregon, lived with this fear for two years. He was afraid of missing his calling and ruining God’s plan for his life.

Eventually, he realized the only direction he was moving in was away from God.

This idea of a single, correct choice is debilitating. It adds unnecessary pressure to each decision. 

God’s plan is for every person to have an opportunity to know Him and for every believer to grow into the likeness of Jesus. Where we do that, how it looks during our waking hours is more flexible than Steve was thinking.

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 respect God is giving you to make a decision.

Trusting God to make our paths straight might even mean believing He is capable of working with our imperfect choices.

What’s your next best step?

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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