Why We Must Listen to Hear the Call

I believe most people search for purpose—they want their lives to count for something—something more than making a big enough paycheck to pay the bills every month.

Around the age of thirteen, something sparked inside of me, and I began to feel a yearning to make a difference. During my teen years, I considered various avenues to accomplish just that. For a while I thought I’d become a medical missionary. Only, at that time, even the sight of a needle made me faint. It broke my young heart to check that option off the list, even though I felt it was a clear sign that God’s plan for me didn’t include a move to Africa. (Since then, I’ve gotten over my fear of needles. Go figure!)

 I dreamed of marrying a pastor, having several babies of our own, and adopting a bunch more from multiple countries. No, that didn’t happen either, and I was actually quite happy with two children.

By the time I was a senior in high school, I strongly believed that I wanted to work with a Christian program in the inner city—rescuing teens from prostitution, crime, and drugs. Reverend David Wilkerson, who wrote The Cross and the Switchblade was my hero. But my parents, who feared for this small town girl with no street smarts, insisted that I finish college before attending a missionary training school and making any decisions about moving to New York City. I was devastated, but I complied. By the time I graduated with a bachelor degree, my life was moving in a different direction.

There was nothing wrong with any of those young dreams, but they weren’t my calling. If they had been, I wouldn’t be where I am today. They were lovely romantic notions, but they weren’t based on reality and the challenges that come with those roles. They also weren’t grounded in my gifts.

I struggled for many years, trying to figure out what God’s purpose was for my life. I prayed and wrestled with him. There were times when I grew weary of waiting for an answer. In my impatience, I stopped listening—to God and other people—and I struck out on my own. I have one word for those experiences. Disaster.

At the right time, God revealed my calling. Some of the ways it came to light was by affirming words given to me by friends, partners in ministry, and other professionals. I know how I’m to use my gifts, and I have peace. I’m also challenged and fulfilled because I’m in the right place.

Think about the people who have influenced your life in a positive way. Has a grandparent, friend, teacher, or co-worker encouraged you, believed in you, or trusted in your abilities? How has that made you feel? Maybe through their words, you’ll find hints or even confirmation as to your own calling.

But even more important—pay attention to that still, small voice of the Holy Spirit within. If you truly listen, he’ll guide you. I promise.

If you’ve struggled with discovering purpose in your life, where have you tried to find it?

Please share about the people in your own life who have influenced you in a positive way.


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