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Calling: Before and After

I find “calling” to be one of the most familiar words in Christian-speak.  I also find it to be one of the most difficult concepts to understand.

It seems that followers of Christ find peace and comfort in using the word “called” to narrate any life decisions.  For example, when I was in high school, I was active in a student-led Christian fellowship group that met on campus on Thursday mornings.  I even ran for treasurer of that group one year, in hopes of joining my friends on the leadership team.  When i asked my friends for suggestions as I wrote my speech which would precede the vote, they said it would be important to say that I felt “called” to the position.

Well, 20 years later I cannot seem to recall what I said that morning, but I do know that I was not voted to serve as the treasurer of that group.  So much for being called, huh?  

I find that recognizing God’s call in our lives is difficult.  We do not always hear from God through a burning bush.  We don’t receive emails or text messages from God that offer explicit advice.  

For me, the best way to acknowledge call is by looking back.  I moved to Richmond, VA following my college graduation and intended to attend church with my friend who was serving as a youth minister there.  Of course, as luck would have it, he and his family were moving to a church in Charlotte that summer.  He quickly suggested a church where he had some friends involved with a young adult program.  It was at that church that I soon joined and began serving as a leader in the youth ministry.  I did not have much patience for church-shopping in that season of life.

And it was just a little over a year later when I went to the movies with several of the high school students as a send-off for a friend who was being hospitalized with panic attacks.  And a few short months later that the church’s youth minister was called to a new position and I found myself leading even more during that interim.  

My point is that I am not sure I could have ever described myself as being “called” to that church when I moved to Richmond.  But 2-3 years later, parents would tell me that they knew that God called me to that church for those students.  What a humbling experience.  

Think about your own life and how you have been “called”.  I bet it is a lot easier to recognize “calling” after than before.