on passion and calling and faithfulness

I recently I had the liberating epiphany that I don’t have to be – or feel – passionate about my calling. I believe that there are some things that I’m ‘called’ to do that I feel passionate about, but for the most part the overlap has happened with regard to things that all followers of Jesus are called to do – give generously to other believers and towards the work of God on the earth; look after orphans and widows (and refugees and sojourners) in their distress, and keep myself unstained from the world . . .

In addition to the epiphany, I’ve also been dancing around the reluctant conclusion that singing and songwriting are two significant callings for me.  There are whole entire bible studies and conferences dedicated to understanding the notion of calling, and to helping people figure out what it is they should be doing with their lives. I’m sure those things can be helpful. But for the sake of time, and honoring the specificity of God’s creativity in each person’s life, I’m not going to offer some definitive definition of what calling means. What I mean by calling is something that God is leading and inviting me to do that holds potential for incalculable influence, and will serve as guide-posts to keep me along the path of God’s plan for moi.

And the thing about it is(as folks say here in the Southeast), I’m not passionate about singing or songwriting. Ha. Oh, I enjoy it. And there have been seasons when I have felt absolutely compelled to write songs but that was more about the songs – and the experiences that engendered them – not choking the life out of me.

Two of the most influential musicians in my life have shared similar sentiments – Jon Foreman has repeatedly said that he wanted to be a pro surfer, but God made him a Rock Star instead. Bro, I understand. On the other hand, Jeremy Riddle has mentioned that he worked in children’s ministry for a very long time before he was able to serve in the musical and worship-leading capacity that he deeply desired to experience.

So then, I started to think about the stories of other men God chose to do things that they weren’t crazy about . . . men like Gideon and Moses.

Gideon who was called to be a warrior while cowering in a wine-cellar, threshing wheat in secret. And Moses who was kind of a fugitive, but chillin’ in the desert with his new found fam when God confronts him to go back to the nation he came from.

And God ‘interrupts’ both of them because He had decided that they were the deliverers of His people. He had decided that Gideon would lead in battle; He had decided that Moses was His Mouthpiece. And both of them were like, “Okay, nahhh.” Both of them gave God attitude and-or excuses . . . like me.

There are other instances – in scripture and in my own life – where passion and calling do intersect. And if you’re not sure about either one, I think realizing and paying attention to what you’re passionate about is a good place to start. I may not be passionate about singing or songwriting, but I have always been thoroughly enthused by words and writing and conveying the intricate, creative, beautiful truth of God’s story. There mayever come a season where a passion for singing and songwriting comes into fruition.

But passion is not required. Faithfulness is. Faithfulness is as much a choice as love is. And I think we get that, for the most part . . . that true love is a verb and a choice you make regardless of how you might be feeling; but that glorious nugget of insight doesn’t always translate to conversations on passion and calling.

You can be 100% present, and put forth your very best work and not be the least bit ‘passionate’ about the thing that you’re doing and that’s ok. Because that’s discipline, and if it’s something God is asking you to do, it takes faith. And genuine faith is pleasing to the God that loves us.

What I’ve come to realize in all the jobs I’ve had is that I can be completely committed without being wholly invested. We use different words for things because they convey different concepts. As followers of Jesus, I believe that we are called to work as unto the Lord. We should be excellent and punctual and reliable. Does that mean I have to be passionate about the goal and mission of the organization or company I work for? Not necessarily. But it should be hard for them to find fault in the quality of my work, or my willingness to get the job done.

I don’t have words yet for the rest of what I’m thinking, but I’m actually rather fired up about the way God’s Word and character have become more clear to me regarding these things . . .  regarding the specificity of the 2:10 things we’re called to, and how He is the Potter and we are the work of His hands. I encourage you to do some reading and praying about it for yourself – particularly if you’re not experiencing fulfillment and satisfaction in your life. God’s Word is living and active, and He could bring life to you in passages that are different than the ones that are currently inspiring me, but I recommend Jeremiah 17-18, Ephesians 2, and Isaiah (kind of all of it, ha. But also chapters 30-33 and 64).

The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
    He delights in every detail of their lives.

Ps 37:23

. . . & & | happy studying

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1 Comment

  1. so good- I think our generation is primed to “follow our dreams” or heart, or passion, etc. and it builds this idea of how fulfilled/satisfied/passionate were going to feel once were doing that thing…and then when we don’t feel that particular way we decide we’d like to run and do something different, searching for some elusive feeling of fulfillment. but you SO nailed it here- passion is not required, but faithfulness is. gonna sit with the passages you listed here in the am bc I know my heart could use this reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

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