Written by Ann Petzel
AT THE FIRST SESSION OF THE CONFERENCE i recently attended in the Chicago area they introduced the theme “scripture” for this year’s event. it gave me goose bumps while confirming that our involvement was what he wants. the verses are found in Ephesians 4:1-4
You gave Jim verse 1 decades ago for our family. framed pictures of this verse have hung in our homes – it has been painted on walls in those homes, and is on a painted canvas in our current home. the verse has been distilled down to: “walk in a manner worthy.” there is no need for the rest of the verse as it has been seared into my heart, distilled down even more to: “walk worthy.”
for years You have told me to walk, keep moving, keep trusting, don’t stop, never give up. then, once i had consistently obeyed Your walk command, You added how to walk: worthy. during this season You taught me many things, which include self-esteem changed to His esteem, completed the healing of my relationship with my sweet mom, and gifted me with a dear friend who supported and prayed with me through an intense, seemingly permanently obstacle in my life.
in the last session of the conference, a lady took the lead and told us to get into an open posture. she asked us to close our eyes. take a deep breath. and listen to You. l.i.s.t.e.n. she then read Ephesians 4:1-4, quietly, authoritatively, passionately almost with tears in her voice. she asked us to listen for Your voice, for Your nudge, for Your specific word or phrase for me. within moments i knew.
different forms of His word for me are in this verse segment 3 times. three times! which immediately brought the trinity to mind, as they are three in one. how cool is that?! he not only gave me my word, but he chose to emphasize it by including it 3 times. wow. the word he gave me is:
c . a . l . l . e . d .
You called me
You called me to be fashioned together in my sweet mom’s womb
You called me to say ‘yes’ to Your gift of salvation
You called me to follow You, which i made public in baptism in middle school
You called me to nursing school in southern ca, to meet Jim and begin the faith adventure as a family.
You called me to be a mom – four times!
You called me to be a leader, all throughout my adult life, and in every place we lived (and those places were many!)
You called me to write a book
You called me to support jim in all those crazy adventures
You called me to be a part of the current adventure; eagle’s rest
i’m sitting in a very noisy terminal at O’hare airport – a terribly inconvenient place to cry. You placed another puzzle piece for me. when i was born my mom didn’t even want me. she didn’t call me. she didn’t ask for me. she didn’t love me until i grew much older.
You didn’t just want me,
You called me.
You call me by name,
You call me to be,
Your very own daughter.
i am in awe
it seems that within the christian community there is a lot of conversation about calling. a lot of questions about how to discover the unique calling of our own. there is this authentic desire to have our lives mean something. it seems that the connotations around meaning require something grand and big. like having thousands follow us on twitter, or hundreds comment on our blog, or be praised for our stage performance. of course, those things in and of themselves are affirming and wonderful. however, His calling for each of us may not contain what the world considers as grand, or big.
i would like to lovingly point us all toward him and what he has already told us to do. for example, he tells us to love and specifically explains what love looks like in the famous “wedding chapter” of 1 Corinthians 13. i believe there are a number of things that he has called us to do, that we simply dismiss or ignore as being too menial, too simple, too bothersome, too archaic. worse yet, these callings are just too inconvenient at the time, so we deliberately choose to not do them. things like being patient… as we let the car merge into traffic ahead of us, as we wait for the old lady in line to find her wallet in an immense purse. things like being His light in a dark world… as in a social setting where we deliberately choose to cuss with the same mouth that shouted praise to him in church just days before, as we talk and act with no discernible difference from those around us. things like not getting drunk, or having sex outside of marriage, or lying.
what makes us think that he will trust us with this grand, big, glorious calling if we do not already obey His previous callings?
lastly, it is interesting to note that for most of us, His calling is pretty quiet, unobtrusive, tucked away. it doesn’t mean that His calling is less than. it doesn’t mean that His calling is unworthy. it doesn’t mean that His calling is boring.
some of the amazing things bout His calling – it is always beautiful. it is always good. it is always fulfilling. it always contains an amount of hard work. it always brings him glory, not ourselves.
for me, His calling is to walk worthy. how do i do this? by choosing to obey and live Ephesians 4:1-4 (nlt)
“…lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. always be humble and gentle. be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. make every effort to keep yourselves united in the spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. for there is one body and one spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.”
What’s with the lower caps? Glad you asked! “part of my writing style is to not capitalize. especially when i use ‘i’. God told me this a few years ago as a small tool to whittle down pride. i always capitalize His name, as well as proper names. tend not to capitalize beginnings of sentences.” – ann petzel