Has Jesus Called You?

Hesitating, I stood to my feet. I heard the question asked, similar to one that would always come on these weekends but the way this was worded, well, I had to stand. In a room of several hundred of my peers, I wondered why everyone wasn’t on their feet. The man had asked: ‘If Jesus called us to serve him, would we? If he called us to be a minister of his gospel (my church has always ordained women) would we answer His call?

So why wasn’t the whole room standing? Was this a trick question? Did I fall for it? These annual youth weekends typically ended with a public call to serve. Those already accepted to seminary would be marched to the front of the room to stand on risers and then the question would be asked of others who felt God’s call.

Come now. Come and join the ones in the front of the room.

But this wasn’t the final meeting. It wasn’t that call to serve, it was just a question of if he, would we. Not many stood that night but apparently more heard the call by the time the parade to the front of the room came in the closing meeting.

*******

I believe Phylis was called to teach. I saw her with her students,  with their parents, with our children. She noticed the ones who held back and knew how to draw them out. She recognized the lazy, but smart ones, who needed to be challenged. She understood teaching was more than   content of text books. I don’t believe Phylis would have felt fulfillment from any other type of job or career. She was called to teach.

Barbara was called to non-profit work. She didn’t start out that way, but after her first taste at working for a non-profit organization, she never looked back. I wonder if she sees the calling in it? Does she understand this is the work God has called her to do?

Churches talk a lot about being called: Are you called? Has Jesus called you?

What they’re asking is, are you called to ministry; to be a pastor or missionary or youth leader. Is Jesus calling you to serve with the visitation committee or in the nursery?

It sounds as if there is no calling outside the church walls.

“We are not primarily called to do something or go somewhere; we are called to Someone. We are not called to special work but to God. The key to answering the call is to be devoted to no one and to nothing above God himself.” Os Guinness

calling

Israel

called to ministry
Called to ministry

I posed the question on Facebook: “Have you felt a sense of calling in what you do?” Usually when I ask serious questions, crickets. This time, folks had a lot to say about their calling.

“Is there a difference between God “calling” you and God “guiding” or “directing” you? I think all of them get you the same place if you listen and obey. I think “calling” might be a direct voice, like Samuel in the Bible. I think He uses different methods on different people.”

“I think “calling” and “guiding” are definitely interrelated. And I agree that calling is not limited to ministry. I come from a faith tradition of people receiving a calling or direct guidance toward a specific path in all areas of our lives. At this point in my life I believe that the gifts we’re each created with are part of how God places a calling in our heart, and part of how we become who we were created to be is by fully engaging in and nurturing those gifts. This entire season of my life as I’ve transitioned from ministry and business career into writing and other opportunities still to be identified has been full of the very questions you’re asking about calling”

“Since getting sober almost 5 years ago…. I struggled with that for awhile actually , “what does God want me to do now?? How can I give back at all using the talents He gave me?” ….. after “getting fixed”, I looked at my business in a different, focused way. I started donating more of my time and talents to work with the awesome Icing Smiles Canada , and “church” related functions to donate and help folks in the form of cake/sugar art…..and now I TEACH!! (Doesnt sound that special but to those that truly know me, as Im sure youve seen it here and there when we were together, my social anxiety issues would totally freeze me to NOT do anything like that, ever). These days I work hard everyday to keep my anxieties at bay with prayer and the fact I know that Satan has those anxiety “traps” set for me, I can now recognize them as hurdles he puts in my way to stop me from sharing my God given talents, and it is much easier to overcome…..I will NOT be frozen by evil anymore!! It makes me push harder to do things that my Lord shows me and wants me to pass on!”

This is just the start of the conversation, a conversation I hope you’ll be part of.

Answers often create more questions so I’ll leave you with these:

What is a calling? Is everyone called?
Is there only one calling?
Does your calling change?
Are you called to a ‘greater’ work?
Is there a high calling? The ‘highest’ calling?
Does the quote by Os Guinness change anything? Or everything?
I do hope you’ll get involved in the conversation by leaving a comment. What is your experience with calling?
This is the first of a 4-part series, with each part telling more of our story. Click the links to read the other parts in this series: two, three, four.

15 Comments

  1. Annie Rim said:

    Love these questions. You have me thinking…. I definitely get my job & life circumstances mixed up with calling. Which, I think they can totally be interrelated. But I also think calling can be (and is!) bigger than identity. I’m a mother; I love being a mother. Am I called to be a mother? I’m not sure….. Hmm. Love this conversation!

    April 12, 2016
    Reply
    • Debby Hudson said:

      It is a fascinating discussion, isn’t it Annie? I’m enjoying it and learning from it. I’m thankful so many (even more comments on my FB) have offered their thoughts on it. I always thought I was called to be a mom….you have me rethinking that. Have I mixed up calling with identifying so closely with that role? Much to ponder.

      April 12, 2016
      Reply
  2. judikruis said:

    I don’t think you fell for it – I think some missed it or have a different idea of it as you are trying to point out. I do think all are called to God’s purposes even those who don’t believe in Him were created with great purpose. Does it mean it’s only in a church, mission, non profit – I don’t think so. I was called even before I knew Jesus to be a leader and carry creativity. I didn’t follow that fully. Later after meeting Jesus, I felt called to missions – I ended up teaching business to artisans, then returned home to feel God leading me to engage with art even more. I do believe some may have one consistent calling. Others will have multiple and they build upon each other. He made us in His image to be a reflection – wherever we are – even at the grocery store, dentist or school.

    I like Annie’s comment and her question… “Am I called to be a mother?” I think willingness and humility are important – often if it’s a God calling – it is far above what we could do in our own strength, resources or understanding. Sometimes, even our desire. (You know I like challenge questions too!) Bless you Debby

    April 12, 2016
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    • Debby Hudson said:

      Ah, another interesting though Judi -“often if it’s a God calling – it is far above what we could do in our own strength, resources or understanding. Sometimes, even our desire.” So true.

      April 12, 2016
      Reply
  3. Linda Stoll said:

    I just love that both you and Sarah Bessey are writing on this very same subject today. No accident, no coincidence.

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2016/april/your-calling-isnt-just-between-you-and-god.html

    As I wait for God’s direction in this next season of my life, I know beyond a doubt that He has something for me to do, to be. I have no idea what it will be, although here and there ideas swim back and forth from soul to brain.

    But there is peace in the waiting. His timing is always impeccable.

    Thank you, Debby. So very good to visit with you this afternoon … talk about a divine appointment …

    April 12, 2016
    Reply
    • Debby Hudson said:

      Linda, thanks for including the link to Sarah’s article. I just read it and quite enjoy the communal affirmation part. It made me realize one of the things I’ve always denied being is a teacher. BUT….many of our men (and Henry) have told me I’m a good teacher. Maybe it’s not always my choice? Linda, one of your callings is as an encourager. You are doing it with every comment you’ve ever left on my blog and, I’m certain, on others. Thank God for the peace in the waiting. He’s using you even in your waiting. Bless you, friend.

      April 12, 2016
      Reply
  4. Gabriele said:

    I have felt a call to teach. Sometimes it came as a formal invitation but more often to just bear testimony of His hand in my life.

    April 12, 2016
    Reply
    • Debby Hudson said:

      I like the way you put that Gabriele – to bear testimony of His hand in your life. That should be the reason we follow his call. As Os Guinness said, we are called to Him, the person. Our acts merely bear testimony. Love that! (and will probably borrow that!)

      April 13, 2016
      Reply
  5. Hi Debby,
    Interesting questions you raise — very thought-provoking! I think sometimes we get bogged down with the words we use — our calling sounds so church-y, but all of us lean toward some activities and vocations than we do to others — and I wonder if we trip over the language sometimes? Enjoyed my visit here, as always!

    April 13, 2016
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    • Debby Hudson said:

      Yes, Valerie, language can bog us down and trip us up. And still, I find it interesting 🙂 Thanks for your words of encouragement!

      April 13, 2016
      Reply
  6. sherriinsrq said:

    Interesting topic for sure. Jen Hatmaker explores this in her book, “For the Love”. I’ve loaned my copy out, but the paraphrase is – If it’s not true for a single black mom in Haiti, it isn’t true. Calling can be seen as something only the privileged consider. Personally, I think that God can use our junk, especially the struggle-through-it-myself-daily junk to help others. After all, the gospel is one beggar telling another where to find the bread.
    And…where in South Florida? Would love to connect – feel free to email sherriinsrq@gmail.com. Thanks for sharing!

    April 13, 2016
    Reply
    • Debby Hudson said:

      Interesting, Sherri. I hadn’t thought of calling as something for the privileged but I can see how many could think that. My husband uses that phrase a lot about one beggar telling another where to find the bread. We work with people who have been considered junk or think of themselves in that way so yes, we are beggars showing the other to grace and mercy. God uses our junk all the time. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound! We’re in Broward County. Thanks for stopping by my blog and adding your insight. This has been an interesting discussion.

      April 13, 2016
      Reply

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