On Callings & Commitments

Originally published in the summer of 2015, Brenda’s thoughts continue to ring true today!

Each season of our life is made up of a unique blend of commitments and calling.

Commitments

Commitments are the non-negotiable obligations in our life. Some bring great joy, like caring for a long awaited newborn. Some are expected: putting bread on the table, gas in the car, and a roof over head. Some are hard: paying off debt incurred by a reckless ex-spouse, providing life-time care for a special-needs child, attending to the 24/7 care of a dying loved one.

These commitments fuel our transformation. God wastes nothing. Some of his best work happens in the hottest fires. Three things to keep in mind.

  • Soften your heart to the work transformation, even if you go into it kicking and screaming.
  • Trust God.
  • Tell of His Goodness. Be ready (most days) to give an account of your hope. It can be awfully hard on the days when the trio rugged, brutal, and grueling are pulling you under. 

Last year, on day six of what turned into a 19-day hospital stay with my 15 year-old son, Joe, I began to question God. “Do you know all the ministry opportunities I’m missing at home?” (My husband and I run a children’s summer camp and I was missing the beginning of camp.)

“Do you know how many you’re missing here?”

I wasn’t fully convinced. Being three hours from home, my heart was breaking for all my kids.

“Joe can’t take the pain. I can’t take watching him in pain. My crew at home is on their last leg”

“I’m working on them, too. They’re learning how to trust. They’ll have something to tell. Trust and Tell. Give it a try.”

God was right. The harder the trust factor, the greater the story. God lands on center stage. He promises stories for us to share of his presence and provision.  Our commitment to our commitments will bring God glory.

Calling

Our calling (which can change from season to season) makes use of our negotiable “free” time. It may be what we get paid to do. It may be what we “do” on a volunteer basis. It may be a dream in the making. It’s where our gifts, energy, and passion collide with a need. Teaching ESL. Coaching. Playing drums. Sending notes. Making things work.

What energizes you?

Kayaking? Reading? Carpentry? Knitting? Travel? Organizing? Cars?

The world tells us to “go for it” with gusto, but the ensuing pursuit is sometimes self-centered. In the end, my passion consumes hours, but it’s all about me, myself, and I.

How can the “thing” that energizes me build bridges to new friends? Meet a need? Cast a vision? Serve those who are marginalized, neglected, forgotten?

God is ready to tell us.

But we need to ask. Pay attention. Listen well. This is where rest comes in. Quiet places attune our hearts to whispers and marching orders.

Parting Shot

  • Our calling uses our gifts, spotlights our priorities, and provides an avenue to steward our time well. There are seasons of life where there may be little time to pursue our calling. Wait is one of the hardest, holiest words there is.
  • I have a dear friend who sees her calling as being a PWT – “person with time”. She’s available to watch the children of a mom overcome with stomach flu. She bakes Christmas cookies with middle-schoolers. She drives older adults to doctor appointments. Chaperones field trips. Finds a low-cost plumber for a family in need. The list goes on. No week is the same and no one she serves is either. Are you a PWT? Do you see it as a calling? I hope you do!
  • When embracing our calling (paid, volunteer, or on-call), burn-out will nip at our heels. Satan cheers when we forfeit the race. Sustainability matters. Rest is the key. Rhythm provides routine oasis along the way.

Onward!

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