When I met Jesus, I remember so many people throwing around the word “calling” or talk about being “called” to something. It was a mystery to me. I filled pages in my journal as a teen with questions asking God “what is my calling?” and “what am I called to do with my life?” Fast forward decades later and I still find the word “calling” vaguely explained. So this is my attempt to put into writing what I have come to understand this word to mean for each of us. Before I explain calling, I think it’s important to first understand what the word PURPOSE means. Here is the definition of purpose according to Carrie –
Our purpose is to know God and make him known.
Every single person that lives, has lived, and ever will live on the face of the earth is created for the same reason: to know God and make him known. In Genesis 1:27, we learn that God created us in his own image, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” The word image refers to “exact likeness.” To understand ourselves and our purpose we have to know God and look through the lens of being made in his exact likeness. Out of everything God created, he only made one thing in his image, us.
We have God’s DNA running through every part of our being! Regardless of where we come from, where we are at in our walk with God, what our lives have thrown at us, how we feel about ourselves or the choices we make WE STILL HAVE HIS DNA!
I have two amazing daughters. When others see them they often say “they look like a perfect combination of you and your husband.” They are right. Why? Because they have our DNA. They can’t UNDO that. There is nothing in their life time that could squeeze out our DNA inside of them; it is who they are and how they were created. We are no different. We carry God’s DNA, it is who we are and how we were created! We can’t mess that up! Aren’t you thankful that there is nothing we can do to UNDO being created in the image of God? I am because I am positive I would jack that up EVERY single day!
When it comes to God, there are two things extremely evident in scripture about who he is that is embedded in his DNA: he loves us and wants a relationship with us. Every action he takes points back to those two truths.
God is relational; he longs to walk with us as he did with Eve in the garden, therefore we can conclude that we are also meant to desire a relationship with him by KNOWING HIM deeply. To know God is to commune with him daily, abide in his presence, and have an intimate relationship with him.
God is missional, he gave his son so that each of us could be in relationship with him for eternity, therefore, we can conclude that we too are also meant to be missional in bringing others into a relationship with him by MAKING HIM KNOWN. Making God known is the overflow of knowing him. Our love and relationship with God spills over into every area of our lives and is on display for the world to see and experience for themselves.
Because we are ALL created in God’s image, we know then that our purpose is the same. No matter our age, history, where we were born, gender, race, gifts, desires, or experiences, no matter what we all were created for the same purpose.
Our purpose never changes. No matter our circumstances, choices, beliefs, lifestyle, or thoughts about God, our purpose of being created never changes. We were created to know God and make him known.
PURPOSE is not the same thing as CALLING.
Calling is the unique way in which God asks us to fulfill our purpose in any given moment or season in our lives.
Webster defines it this way: Calling – a strong inner impulse toward a particular course of action especially when accompanied by conviction or divine influence.
While our purpose never changes, our calling does and it has multiple layers to it. When I was younger, part of my calling included things like being a good student, street evangelism, internships, and leading in various ways. As life has gone on I have been called to know God and make Him known by birthing and raising my daughters (God teaches me so much through this every day!), help plant The Church of Eleven22 8 years ago by being part of the core leadership launch team, and currently part of my calling includes leading The Truth Republic.
You see, calling changes and it is totally unique to you! No one else can know God and make Him known exactly like you because your life is different; you are different.
If you have ever asked the question “am I called” the answer is YES, every person on the earth is called to know God and make him know in their own unique way.
Calling is not some goal that one day we finally fulfill or some destination that we finally reach. It is the unique ways in which we daily know God and make Him known that encompasses all areas of our lives.
So how do we know if we are walking our calling? I like to follow the 5 P’s. (I know, it’s cheesy, but it works for me.)
- Past – Your unique history that has formed you into the person you are. God uses every part of your past experiences to reveal himself to you in deeper ways and they allow you the opportunity to make him known to people with similar experiences.
- Personality – The complexity of characteristics that distinguishes you as an individual. Your personality is yours and yours alone. While others may have similar aspects to their own personality, no one is wired exactly like you. This gives you a unique viewpoint and platform that no one else in the world has.
- Passion – The strong emotions, intense desires, or enthusiasm you have for something or someone. You have things, causes, or people that stir your emotions in a way that motivates you to take action. These help define what you’re called to do. These are the things that bring you great joy or a problem that you lose sleep over trying to solve.
- Potential – Your ability to develop, achieve, and succeed. You have significant potential found within your gifts, talents, abilities, and knowledge. These things are the ones that come naturally to you while others seem to struggle with them. They are the areas people tend to come to you on. These things, while God-given, can be crafted and strengthened with intentional work and discipline.
- Position – The place where someone is in relation to other people. You are placed in spheres of influence on purpose: your family, your friends, your job, your neighborhood, your church, etc. The position in which you hold is not there just for your good pleasure, but to know God deeper and make him known greater.
While each of us have these 5 P’s in our lives, yours are unique to you, your story, your life, your DNA and they help us define and understand what exactly is our unique way of fulfilling our purpose on this earth of knowing God and making him known.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What parts of your past do you see God using that pushes you to know him and offers opportunity to make him known?
- Are there areas of your past that God may want to use that you haven’t surrendered to yet, like a pain or hurt? What are some that stand out to you?
- Have you taken personality tests to understand yourself and the strengths and weaknesses that come with it?
- Do you allow God to use every part of your personality for his glory or do you have parts that you hold back or that make you hesitant to be used? Why?
- What are the top 5-10 things that you are passionate about, the things that continue to matter to you, and cause you to feel alive?
- Are you daring to engage in those passions to bring God glory, if not what first steps can you take to do so?
- What are your greatest gifts, talents, abilities, and areas of knowledge?
- What are you doing to develop and grow in the areas that you have the greatest potential in?
- What spheres of influence do you currently have and who are the groups of people in them?
- What are you doing to use your unique position in each of those spheres you listed to bring God glory?
My prayer for you is that you would fulfill your purpose by walking in the fullness of God’s calling in every area of your life daily.
The Truth Republic, Founder and CEO