The Secret to Finding Your Calling Isn’t a Secret After All

If you were a CEO hiring a widget designer, who would you hire?

1. The worker with extensive experience and certifications on his wall who hates designing widgets, isn’t that great at it, and would sooo much rather be folding sweaters at the Gap

2. The worker with little (or no) formal experience who has a natural talent for designing widgets and, incidentally, loves it so much he’d do it for free if he didn’t need the money

The answer is (or should be) clear, folks. Given the proper tools and guidance, the worker who’s naturally gifted and passionate about his assignment will soon grow leaps and bounds beyond the expert who’s looking for a way out of his misery. Give the newbie some time and he’ll leave the guy with head knowledge but no heart in the dust.

Almighty God HR, Inc.

Let’s say that CEO or hiring official is God, faced with the same scenario. Only he has a few more resources than we do to equip the worker he chooses to thrive in his assignment. Who do you think he’d pick?

Well, guess what, friend? That’s how this calling business works. Finding your calling doesn’t have to be some mysterious, drawn-out quest. You don’t even need to undertake elaborate personality or psychological tests, although they’re certainly helpful in bringing confirmation and clarification as you map out next steps.

Here’s the point: God will never call you to do something that doesn’t line up with the innate gifts and passions he’s placed in you to begin with.

Don’t believe me? You don’t have to. Here’s what the Scriptures have to say:

“That every man find pleasure in his work-this is a gift from God.” (Ecclesiastes 3:13)

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10)

But isn’t that selfish?

Dan Miller, business coach and best-selling author of “No More Mondays” writes, “There is a subtle cultural and spiritual misperception that makes us believe that following our natural inclinations and pursuing our dreams is somehow selfish, egotistical and financially impractical. However, my experience shows that the reverse is true. Those whose work is not an authentic fit frequently struggle to maintain financial solvency and are plagued with unhappiness.”

Miller argues that for the person seeking God’s will, work should be an expression of who you are. “Calling,” he writes, “is not an external voice forcing you to be something you are not. Rather, it is an authentic alignment of how God has gifted you in 1) skills and abilities; 2) personality traits; and 3) values, dreams and passions.”The first step to finding your calling is to prayerfully look within. What are your unique gifts? What are you drawn to? What would you do for free if you didn’t need the money? How can you use that to help someone? “That,” concludes Miller, “is where you’re likely to find your calling.”

Three things to keep in mind:

1. The place or way you exercise your calling can (and probably will) change with time. Just because the Lord led you to a specific job or role 10 years ago, it doesn’t mean you’re locked into it for life. The Scriptures talk a great deal about different seasons in life, and the Lord may be telling you, “Your time here is finished. I want to move you elsewhere.” (Still, this new season or realm of your calling will always be intimately connected with your innate gifts and passions-the stuff that energizes you and makes your heart leap.)

2. Trouble or dissatisfaction aren’t necessarily signs that you’re operating outside of your calling. Life is hard, and so is anything worth doing. We can’t grow or succeed without strain. Sure you love your spouse, child or sibling-but I’m sure there are days you’re not thrilled to be around them and need some alone time. The same is true with your calling.

It’s also possible to be miserable while operating in your calling if you’ve lost sight of why you do what you do. Push all the paperwork and annoying co-workers aside for a moment: Why did you accept your current assignment? What was the driving force behind it? What does your current job allow you to do? Sometimes all it takes to recover that initial passion is a change in perspective.

3. You don’t have to be an expert to jump in. I’m often guilty of studying a concept to death and waiting for perfect conditions before taking action. (Do that for a little while and you’ll realize you won’t get anywhere with that attitude.) I’m learning that progression is far more important (and realistic) than perfection. Stretching and fine-tuning are all part of the journey. (In fact, I believe God often takes great pleasure in using the most unqualified among us to accomplish awesome things.) So get over yourself and “just do it,” as Nike would say.

Mark Sanborn write in “The Encore Effect”: “Until you find your purpose, continue to do things purposefully, with energy and intention.” The Scriptures put it this way: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).


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