What you are called to now may not be what you are always called to. One idea we often have about God’s calling for us is that it is a straight line from here to there. I think that is a limited viewpoint because life is rarely that simple. Firstly, I wouldn’t say it is God’s calling but God’s callings. God calls us to many different things in different areas of our lives. Also, God does not generally call us to one thing for the rest of our lives. Even if you work the same job your role and interactions with people will most likely change over time as you are called into different situations. Instead of thinking of God’s calling as a straight line we should think of it as a series of lines.
Now, that seems simple and reasonable, but I’m going to make it more complicated. We have all these lines and then they bend, squiggle and just go all over the place. Sometimes the intersect and sometimes they come together for a long time. Other times they don’t meet up other than they are part of you. What you get is a big, tangled ball of yarn that you are trying to put into straight lines while you are holding an infant…it just doesn’t work. This picture is what I imagine some of us trying to do when we are discerning God’s calling. We try to put everything into neat rows with long term plans.
Keeping this in mind, lets go down to the level of one strand, vocation. From middle school I was pretty sure that God was calling me to be a secondary biology teacher. With this in mind I pursued Biology in college and then began working on a graduate level certification. As I wrote before, this didn’t work out so well. I don’t think this is because I pursued the wrong option. Even though I was unsuccessful I do not think that I was, “outside of God’s calling,” or that I was not following God’s calling. Sometimes, possibly most times, God calls us to things for the journey, not the destination. We don’t understand everything we need so God puts us on a path that intersects with the things that we need. For example, I met my wife, which I think is a pretty wonderful thing. I have learned a ton about myself, others, the world around me and I have grown in my faith. God has used this part of my vocational strand to teach me much.
Some might feel betrayed or confused when they feel God calling them to something that doesn’t quite pan out. We have to go back to the first post and remember that God loves us very much and cares for us more than we can know. If we think of things as a parent or leader on a project this may make more sense. Sometimes you need someone to do a task for reasons they don’t understand. For children we may want them to learn something so we ask them to do a task that will teach them. The end goal wasn’t the completion of the task but the skill learned. We couldn’t have accomplished this goal by explaining what we wanted them to learn because the learning was based on their experience and growth. Like a parent sees things a child doesn’t God sees even more. God leads us in ways that will teach us and bring us closer to Him. This won’t always be clear but we need to put our trust in our loving and caring God.
That brings me to the title of this post, “Temporary Calling.” When God calls us to something it may very well not be for forever. That is why we have so many twists, turns and squiggles in our yarn strand. When we look to the future we think in long term goals. For example, Rebekah and I have the long term goal of moving to Africa as missionaries. We do not know if this is where we will end up but we know that it is the path God has placed us on for now. It might happen that we never end up going to Africa. What we need to keep in mind with God’s calling is that when we feel God calling us to something it isn’t a promise of attaining that end. It might happen that we do but it is not a promise.
While it is wise to look ahead to the future and plan for that we should spend most of our time living in the present where God has us. What are we doing right now to glorify God? How are we following Jesus’ teachings? These are the questions that we should spend more time answering.