Written by Nicole Schofield
I put SO much pressure on myself to “find my calling” and “discover my purpose” and then faithfully “pursue my calling” no matter what hurdles I had to conquer to get there! The problem, however, was that I had NO idea what my “calling” was, which was only doubly confounded by the fact that I couldn’t figure out what my exact “purpose” on this Earth was either. I took every online career test (always a CEO), every spiritual gifting test (always a Pastor), absorbed as many books as I could on “calling” and “purpose” (I swear if one more person asks me, “If you didn’t have to worry about money and could do whatever you wanted with your time, what would you do?!?!” this CEO/Pastor is gonna LOSE IT! Btw.. can we talk about the sheer & utter confusion that arises with the career options of CEO vs Pastor?!?)
Back to figuring out my calling – amidst all my dedicated research, time, and reading about how to find this elusive “calling” still that moment when the clouds parted and God himself came down from the Heavens above with angels singing “Hallelujah,” their wings highlighted by vivid bursts of majestic sunlight, still evaded me. Surely there would be a heavenly sanctioned MONUMENTAL MOMENT when I would learn my “calling” right?!?!
After a weekend women’s retreat at church I was 2000% convinced I had finally experienced that heavenly “MONUMENTAL MOMENT” where God spoke to me and I had figured out my “calling”!!!!! (*a calling that only like .0001% of the world ever achieve, btw..) So, I ended up accepting a job in a far-away land (called Texas) that I was certain God Himself had orchestrated and was about to make ALL MY DREAMS come true!! Fast forward to 6 months and a cross country move later and I was handing in my resignation after falling flat on my face realizing my “dream job” was, in fact, my worst nightmare.
But HOW?! I had done everything right!! I had prayed on the job and move! It was in alignment to what I believed in my heart and soul my true calling to be! It was everything I had ever dreamed of! I had given up everything to pursue this calling! I was angry, resentful, hurt, confused and felt like the biggest failure in the world. I threw in the towel on pursuing my so-called “calling,” put it back on the shelf where it belonged, and went back to the trade I knew how to do and knew I could succeed in.
It wasn’t until a year later (and some serious soul searching) that I realized my “calling” didn’t have to be this BIG-EPIC-LOFTY-DREAM-I-MAY-OR-MAY-NOT-BE-ABLE-TO-EVER-ACHIEVE. My calling didn’t have to impact millions of people and change the world. While my “calling” COULD ultimately do all those things I needed to put things in perspective and understand what my “calling” actually was. For me, my “calling” is nothing more than just that.
It’s that still small voice inside of me (God) prompting me to do that thing (my “calling”) that makes my heart sing.
And for the PURE JOY of just doing it!! If I can help another person while pursuing my “calling,” GREAT! If I can impact another person’s life while fulfilling my “calling,” AWESOME! And while I would love to touch and impact millions of strangers, how much more meaningful would it be if I used my God-given talents to help or impact those I love?? I realized this “calling” didn’t have to start ONE DAY this “calling” could start TO-DAY. Instead of waiting and dreaming for all the things this “calling” COULD BE I started recognizing and doing all the things I could be doing with this “calling” NOW.
So, for example, my original “calling” I referenced was to be a writer and a speaker. But I always correlated the definition of “writer and speaker” to mean “New York Times Bestseller” and “Sold out stadium of zillions of people just waiting to hear me speak.” I started to realize the impact of my words on those around me. That a thoughtful hand-written letter to a friend (or even just a kindhearted text!) could change their current state, their entire day or even just make them smile. That speaking out to my peers or groups I was a part of was an opportunity to use my voice while strengthening my relationships. I gave up full control on how I wanted this “calling” to look and began to focus on what I could control to make my “calling” sing!
This “calling” that once overwhelmed and evaded me now encouraged me and made me giggle. What once caused me so much stress and focus now became my stress reliever and source of joy.
Our “calling” isn’t meant to be our burden – it’s meant to be our blessing. The gift we are given to give to others.
And wouldn’t you know it the funniest thing happened once I started focusing on the present? (yes, that was totally just a play on words.. the present as in TODAY and the present as in this beautiful gift I was given). Opportunities to write began to come my way. Opportunities to speak began fluttering around. I guess that Woody Allen quote really is true, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.”