Sunday, December 16, 2012

Understanding My Calling - Part 2

In part 1 of this topic, I described my journey to discover my calling and to function in it more effectively.  However, I feel it's important to emphasize that I didn't set out to do that.  Discovering my calling  wasn't anything that I ever thought about doing.  However over time, a pattern began to emerge and, because of my conversations with Jim Robbins, I became aware of those patterns and began to observe them more closely.

Although I believe it's important to know and understand our calling, I don't believe that it's anything we're supposed to stress or worry about because as we live our lives and interact with others on a daily basis, what we need to know will become clearer.  We won't have to go searching for it because it'll be a continuous revelation that will eventually become more apparent. 

The key is to recognize those areas where we just seem to flow naturally.  As I said in my previous post, my natural tendency is to encourage those whom I come in contact with so over time, I recognized that this is a gift that I flow in without any effort.  I've also noticed that I like to administrate and this is another gift that has helped me to moderate the forum on the Free Believers Network website as well as providing another opportunity to use my gift as an encourager.  

Proverbs 18:16 says that our gifts will make room for us and I'm finding that to be true.   As I live my life doing what God is laying on my heart to do that day, he'll open doors for me without any effort on my part.  I've had opportunities to do things that I've never imagined as I've followed my heart and moved through the doors that he's opened.  Although it's not another work that we have to do, it is to our advantage to flow in each new revelation and to begin to function in the calling that's being revealed to us. 

One of the greatest benefits I found is that it removes a lot of the pressure.  At one time, my spiritual life was characterized by a frenzy of religious activity as I tried to "do ministry."  Thinking that I needed to serve God, I even forced myself to do things that I hated doing.  Although I do believe God worked through all of that frenzy, how much more effective would it have been had my energy been focused on using my unique gifts?

So, when I know what my calling is, I can focus the bulk of my time and energy on doing what I was created to do instead of trying to meet every need that I see.  There are a lot of good things that need to be done but that doesn't mean that I need to do them.  When we try to do everything that presents itself, we exhaust ourselves trying to keep up and we have little energy left for what we should be doing.  As a result, those things often don't get done or they get done hurriedly without much thought.

What wonderful freedom there is when I can focus my time and energy on my calling because I'm no longer pulled in a dozen different directions.  People have a tendency to try to pull us into their calling but now I no longer feel like I have to try to fit into someone else's mold.   Since we've been trained in the religious system to believe that "big is best," believers often think that in order to be effective for God that they have to have a BIG ministry with LOTS of people involvedAs a result, the tendency is to try to get as many other people involved in what they're doing.  If we fall for the pressure, we'll end up working in someone else's calling to the detriment of our own

When we try to function in someone else's calling, over time our enthusiasm diminishes.  Then, it simply becomes just another chore that we have to do, kind of like washing dishes or making the bed.  Our own calling, however, will produce passion and we need to take note of that passion because it's an important indicator and motivator.  Since fulfillment only comes as we function in what we've been uniquely gifted to do, it's important that we discover and follow the passions of our heart because, where there's a lack of passion, there's also a lack of enthusiasm and energy.  Passion breeds an excitement and energy that can't be contained and it overflows into all that we do.    

However, I've also learned that nothing is carved in stone so it's  possible that over time our calling or the way it's to be lived out may change.  Our heart will tell us when that happens so if we follow the passions of our heart, we'll flow in whatever we may be called to do in that moment.  I've discovered that the key to success and fulfillment is to follow the leadings of my heart and by doing that, I'll be involved in whatever I've been called to do in that moment.  I believe Proverbs 4:23 can be a guide for us as we journey through this life.  

"Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life." - Proverbs 4:23      
    

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The 'God is Hiding' Mentality

I recently taped a podcast with my friend, Joel Brueseke.  I met Joel a number of years ago when I discovered his blog, Grace Roots.  Over the years his website as well as his blog have been a great source of inspiration and encouragement for me.  Joel also does a podcast, Growing in Grace, with his friend, Mike Kapler. 

These are all great resources to help us understand God's grace and I hope you'll check them out. 

The podcast I recorded with Joel describes the God is hiding mentality that has robbed so many of us of our security as believers.  I hope you'll enjoy it and be encouraged.