Have you ever missed a calling before? A calling being something that you knew was God telling you to go. I mean there was no doubt that it was the right thing to do yet somehow, someway you managed to ignore it. I have done that. And truthfully, even as I was aware of it I still did not feel that bad about it. I knew that the thing I was choosing not to do was from God and I still chose to ignore it.
When I was in college I got a phone call out of the blue to help start a YoungLife chapter in the area. If you’re not familiar, YoungLife is a Christian organization that uses college leaders to disciple highschoolers. The goal is to meet the high schoolers where they are in life and just be a goofy, loving mentor. I was involved with the organization in high school and had worked a summer camp in college but I had given no thought to be a leader. Mainly because we did not have one at my college. But then I got that call and had a decision to make. I had already enjoyed some post-class refreshments to start the weekend so it felt a little ironic that I was getting the call at that time in the first place. Looking back, I’m sure it was some form of sign.
Initially, I agreed to help. I even recruited some of my friends to help get this thing jumpstarted. They were not as familiar with the organization but if you have ever been around it, it’s an easy sell. The work is good and necessary. So there we were, rocking and rolling. We had established a core group of high school freshmen dudes and were just being present. We met them for breakfast, their parents trusted us to take them to school, we went to home football games, and even took them to away football games. It did not take long before we were a part of their life and they were a part of ours. Fast forward a couple of months when the time came to actually sign the “leader” contract and commit to this whole YoungLife lifestyle. Imagine tires squealing. That’s what happened in my mind. It was time to make a decision that would truly change my daily life and I was not ready. I was so afraid that I could not hold myself accountable to the standards that a leader needed to. One of the requirements on the contract that made me slam on the breaks was that I would not drink, at least not in excess or in public. Excuse me?
I do want to clarify that drinking was by no means all I did in college but it was very much so something that aided in my socialization, and I truly think at that moment I feared what not drinking would do to my social life. How would it affect my relationship with my friends, would it force me to have conversations about why I wasn’t drinking?– it was out of my comfort zone. So, rather than taking what seemed to be a difficult path to me at the time, it seemed easier to justify my “no” with the idea that “I am a grown man and I should be able to do what I want. No, I will not sign this contract.”
Two things were happening in my head. One was the fear that I could not live up to the standards being set. I was afraid that I would let down a high school kid that needed someone to look up to. I thought that anyone else would be a much better role model than me. Having been in YoungLife in high school I knew how much I respected and loved my leaders and instead of seeing the good and positives in that, I thought about what it would have done to me if they let me down. That’s something that never happened. Leaders do not let you down. That’s the catch, they are always there. And I was afraid that my lifestyle was not one of a mentor. I did not want to be the reason that a kid would turn from Jesus after seeing me fail.
The second thing in my head was selfishness. I wanted the life I had. I wanted to drink when and where I wanted to, and being a leader was not going to fit in that mold. The two could not exist at the same time. So what did I do? I justified it for myself. I told myself and others that I believed in drinking responsibly and if that was not okay then I didn’t want to be associated. I ignored all of the good things about what being a leader would mean and I saw the one thing it would take away, my lifestyle. While I did have the ability to drink responsibly, that was not always the outcome.
I missed it. I saw God and willingly decided to take a different path.
So, how do you recover from a missed calling? In my case, I asked God to try again. To give me something new. Something that would alter my lifestyle for His good. It all comes down to being uncomfortable and being changed by faith. Amongst other things the thing that has brought me the most accountability and the most discomfort lately has been this. Sharing me with you. Whether it’s written word or posted pictures. Neither of them are natural for me. The “sharing” that is. I thoroughly enjoy writing, it’s the sharing with you part that comes unnaturally to me. And don’t get me started on social media. So NOT my comfort zone or skillset, although I am really trying!
In writing these blogs and sharing myself on socials I truly feel God tugging at me. It may sound silly to you but I pray about it constantly. I am forced to lean on Him for the words to say or the ability to act appropriately. I am much more mindful of my drinking, language, and just overall mood. While my sarcasm has not died and I pray it never does, I am definitely learning when is a good time to use it and when is not. I say all of this to say, it’s okay. You may be like me and missed one or maybe multiple, callings over the years. Maybe you feel that thing nudging you and continue to ignore it. Maybe you’re hoping for something new to come along. In any case, my encouragement is this, pray for the next thing. Don’t wait around for something to slap you in the face, you don’t have that kind of time. Pray for earthly discomfort in order to obtain spiritual peace. It’s okay to be scared, and it’s okay to have messed up but it’s not okay to accept less for yourself than God wants.
This has been a much longer post than the others but it shows my passion for the topic. I have written about it before and I will certainly do it again but God shows up when we are uncomfortable. And we tend to look to Him the most when we feel out of place or scared. So, find something this week that puts you in a place of healthy discomfort. And if you’re really feeling crazy, share it in the comments below or shoot me a message on Instagram.
That Sounds Fun Podcast: Ep. 110, 111
Rachel Hollis: Ep. “Having the Audacity to Dream”
Jessica Honneger: Ep. “Quit Trying with Aaron Edelheit
Quitter – Jon Acuff