With this in view we constantly pray for you, that our God may deem and count you worthy of [your] calling and [His] every gracious purpose of goodness, and with power may complete in [your] every particular work of faith (faith which is that leaning of the whole human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness). 2 Thessalonians 1:11 (AMP)
About eighteen years ago, I started the women’s ministry at my former church with a dear friend. I went on to lead it for ten years. It was my passion, and I loved every moment of it. (It also drove me crazy, but I think that’s par for the course.)
Then about nine years ago, I went through a personal crisis that led me to become very interested in social justice. And when I get interested in something, I don’t just read about it. I do something about it. And I did. It became my focus for almost three years, delving into the AIDS pandemic and clean water and getting tested for HIV and leading a Bible study at a local HIV clinic and going on three third-world country mission trips and considering international adoption.
Until another personal crisis hit – my dissolving marriage – and I had to put all my energy into trying to repair it and then admitting defeat and walking away from it. This took about three years, and I’m gratefully now in the picking-up-the-pieces-and-starting-to-feel-healed phase. But this crisis shifted my focus to helping hurting women in difficult marriages, and those going through divorces, and the Church’s response to abuse.
But so here’s where I pause to beat myself up (because that’s what I do): I think I might be causally fickle. I seem to jump on a cause and stay with it for a while, almost positive that it will be “my thing” for the rest of my life, and I pour my heart and soul into it, and then, bam, something sexier and shinier comes along and woos me away, and I drop the previous cause like an old boyfriend and don’t look back.
Which leads me to waiting for the other shoe to drop (because that’s what I also tend to do): am I going to do that with this current so-close-to-my-heart cause this time around? Am I going to all of the sudden be bored with helping hurting women? Am I going to get tired of talking about bad marriages and bad divorces and being a single mom? Am I going to run out of things to say? Things to do about it? Am I going to drop this thing and go onto something else?
I have no idea. Just like I assumed I’d be in women’s ministry all my life, and I’m now not. And just like I then assumed I’d be championing AIDS awareness and clean water and international adoption in daily ways, and I’m now not. I have no idea if one day I will realize that my current cause is no longer my thing.
I don’t know if this makes my fickle. (Why do I always have to put myself down?) It could just be that I’ve been listening to what God was doing in my life and following the Spirit’s leading. (Heaven forbid, it actually be that I’ve been doing something right!)
Plus, and this is a pretty big plus. It’s not like the effect of my influence ended the moment I laid down my women’s ministry director torch or when I switched gears from social justice to difficult marriages. I have prayed for years that the work of my hands have eternal value, and I believe it has. Women came to know Christ personally through events I planned when I was leading Women’s MInistry. Some learned their gift mix, some learned to lead teams or small groups. And there are a few children who were orphans that are now living in the homes of some of my friends, and I was able to play a part in that because of that three years I devoted to those issues. And there are some wells dug that perhaps wouldn’t have been. And I shared the good news of grace with a local woman who has HIV. It all keeps going. And women have always been the common threads. And justice is still what I’m advocating for. It’s all interrelated; it’s all connected.
So this is what I do know. I know that I want to keep following God. And I know that I want my life to matter. And I know that I want my pain to mean something. And I know that right now, I am doing what I’m supposed to be doing. And I know that I am going to keep doing this until God tells me to stop. And that’s not being fickle; that’s being obedient.
What To Share With Your Child
Do you know what it means to have a calling? It means we feel a purpose to do a specific thing at different season in our life. Mommy is called to be a mom. Daddy is called to do his job. As you grow you will learn what things God has called you to do for work and ministry but calling isn’t just for grow ups. When you love like Jesus at school and with your friends you are taking part in God’s call to love. Our family also has a calling. We can pray and ask God to show us how he wants us to be his helpers in our community and the world.
Parents: Though your children will change as they get older, even now you can help them begin to see who God created them to be and you can help them begin to live it out in their daily lives.
Ideas for Discussion
1. Do you believe that God has called you to something? Or do you believe calling is for other people only?
2. If you know your calling, can you put it into a sentence or two?
3. If you don’t know your calling, can you think of someone in your life who does? Describe that person.
Ideas for Activity
1. If you know your calling and you can define it, narrow it down to one sentence, print it out and place it somewhere you will see it each day.
2. If you don’t know your calling, take some steps to begin to explore it. Ask friends who seem to be focused and intentional in their lives, read books on calling, talk to a life coach or counselor.
3. Once your calling is defined, choose one way you can live it out in the next month.
3 Truths to Share with your Child about Calling
- Calling isn’t just for grown-ups.
- We are all called to live like Christ.
- Our family unit can have a calling.
Father, we are so grateful to be yours. Thank you for seeking us out and coming after us. Thank you for turning our pain into redemption and our ashes into beauty. Help us live out intentional lives out of the goodness in our lives that you’ve provided for us and out of the healing that has come from your hand. We are yours. Amen.
What do you sense the Lord calling your family to right now? How can you help your child begin to determine their calling?