If you’re anything like me, the term calling carries some baggage. We might think calling is connected to a specific job or only vocational ministry. We might think a calling involves influencing a large number of people. Or maybe we view calling as a divine, prewritten script.
The root of our misconceptions is a jump to the third level of calling. We skip the first and second call because the third is more visible and action oriented. But when we ignore the primary call to follow Jesus and the secondary call to become the person he created us to be, we can become infatuated with the third call, which does great damage to our understanding of calling.
One common misconception is that calling is like a divine, prewritten script. God does not call you to participate in a certain activity in high school, attend a particular college, marry one specific person or work at a certain company. Of course, God cares about these things, and any decision as important as these should include conversation with him. However, there is no predefined script which if missed takes you forever off the rails and outside the will of God.
Becoming the person you were created to be is far too dynamic to be confined to such a strict script. God is telling a story in our lives, and God gives us the freedom to choose our path. He uses the events in our lives, including the poor decisions we make, to shape who we are becoming. We are co-authors of our story with him.
This is incredible. There is a story God wants to tell in our lives, but he gives us the freedom to co-author it. That sounds like quite a risk doesn’t it? He chooses to give us, a fallen people with little understanding of his intended story, an opportunity to participate in its authoring. Dangerous, right?
This flat out amazes me. God not only allows us to co-author our story, but he actually uses our failures, our bad decisions, our pain and our wounds in our story. If you make a bad decision or disobey God, your life is not immediately set on a course toward inevitable destruction. No. If you follow him, God will redeem your poor decision within the story of your life. Calling is not a set of railroad tracks. It is a dynamic, conversational relationship with God.