Life consists of the series of decisions we make. Out of these decisions, understanding and following God’s unique calling for us is probably the most important and arduous one. I wish I could tell you that once you understand your calling from God your life is pretty much set and you no longer need to wrestle with the question. But that is not true at all because God does not reveal His grand plan for our lives all at once. He guides our lives one step at a time.
So, how do you discern God’s calling when you need to make important decisions in life such as choosing your college major or job? I have been struggling with this question for many years, and I developed a series of questions you can ask yourself to help you make right decisions when needed.
Ask yourself these four questions to understand God’s calling:
1. What do I like to do?
God does not want you to do something that you do not enjoy. God gave us different gifts and made us so that we find pleasure in His gifts for us. So for example, if you like to teach others, it means that you have a gift of teaching and you should look for a major or a job that can help you to enhance and utilize your gift of teaching.
2. How has God been leading my life up to now?
If you want to understand God’s calling you need to think about how the Lord has been leading you up to where you are today. Whether we like it or not we are all products of our past. For instance, it was easier for me to make a decision to become a pastor because I grew up in a pastor’s family and was exposed to ministry at a young age. I don’t think it is a coincidence that I was brought up in a pastor’s family. I believe that it was God’s careful planning in my life to prepare me for the job.
However, keep in mind that God does not work merely through positive things in life. He even uses our past sufferings and wounds. Someone I know is doing ministry for orphans because he too is an orphan. Since God allowed him to go through such a painful childhood, he has the emotional capacity and motivation to serve parentless children.
3. What burdens my heart the most?
A sister I know always wanted to be a teacher. So she studied elementary education and became a teacher at a local public school. But somehow she ended up working in a special education class for kids with autism. She hated it in the beginning. But soon enough she found joy and pride in her new calling.
Later on, she had the opportunity to work in a regular class, but she decided to stay with her special-ed students because she felt a godly burden and love in her heart to serve the kids with autism. So you should consider not only what you like to do but also what inspires your heart to serve.
4. Is the calling that I am considering a God-glorifying and Kingdom-expanding work?
Once you have a pretty good idea what God is calling you to do, you need to ask yourself if that calling is God-glorifying and Kingdom-expanding. Obviously, if your decision is to sell drugs or do something to harm others, then that is not God’s calling for you. God ultimately calls us to bring glory to Himself and expand His kingdom.
That does not mean that God is careless about your hopes and desires. The beautiful thing about the Lord’s calling is that it always brings exceeding satisfaction and joy into our hearts when we follow it. In fact, He fascinatingly wired us in a particular way that we find joy in doing His work.
I know that this short blog post is not an exhaustive answer to all your questions about God’s calling. But I hope it at least helps you to think in the right direction.