Posts tagged calling
Becoming Uncalled

Here is a question for you: 
How open are we to God telling us no? Not now, maybe not ever?

I feel like on so many levels, maybe mostly because we are Americans where we can "be all that we can be", chase the American dream, etc that whatever we want to do in our lives, have in our lives, God is obliged to fulfill for us. 

Waiting is a foreign concept for Americans, or westerners. We want things now, and we certainly aren't going to wait on God to change things or move, open doors or make connections. What is the old quote, "God doesn't work if you don't?" No, we feel like we are being left behind as we watch our family, friends, even perfect strangers do things that are awesome in the Kingdom of God, world changing things, life giving things. Things we may have been told once we could do, believed we are "called" to do.

One thing has really rang around in my head ever since I went to the Propel Conference back at the beginning of September. It was during a question and answer time with Beth Moore and it was about calling and what to do when you feel you are "called" to something?

Her answer has just stuck, 
"Don't be committed to a calling, be committed to the Holy Spirit."

When you are on a career path there are certain rational steps you must take. You know what you have to do to "climb" that latter and get to where you want to be. I feel as though this has become a model for being called in the kingdom of God as well, and like a dress you wore in 5th grade, it just doesn't fit.

I understand that many times calling and vocation go hand in hand, which is a great blessing. But we are all called to serve, to lead, to love, to show grace to a hurting world that needs Jesus whether that be as a job or as a lifestyle.

We see a few public figures or social media gurus and can see ourselves in their shoes, because perhaps we have similar strengths or gifting and then this unsettling sense of striving starts to set in. Maybe calling always feels sort of illusive, as if it is "out there somewhere" and I need to figure it out, find it, or make it happen. 
We start asking how can I? What should I do? Why don't people like what I am producing? Why God why? When God when?

I heard a speaker say once that someone had come to her and asked how to get her ministry up and started, and the speaker replied "well, I don't think YOU want to get anything started. If God doesn't start it than He has no obligation to sustain it."

I had been heavily involved in conventional ministry all of my life until I was married and had kids. Then my struggle with depression began, moving around, having a hard time to connecting and I feel like I am missing something. That holding onto this "call", whatever it may involve or may entail has been a way for me to stay connected to who Ashley is. Who God created me to be.

I felt this new pressing from the Lord with that one little sentence Beth said as it rang over and over in my head. I am not one for competition and even the "ministry" world feels like it's a competition sometimes. As though you were entered into something without your permission and every time you step in a certain direction it's as though your own inner critic, the Enemy, or others seem to be saying "oh yea, who are you to be called to that? Who are you to be successful? Get in line sister." Or heaven forbid "I'll show them!"
 As if my self worth rests in if others believe I am called as much as I do?

I have come through too much and the Lord has renewed my mind too deeply to allow myself to be stuck in this kind of mindset. But this idea of following the Holy Spirit, letting Him lead me one step and one moment at a time. This felt right, this felt more like freedom and not like prison to who I was going to create this glorious future for myself. Which is what our fleshy heart is really all about, let's be honest. I want Jesus to get all the glory, I want to follow after His model, but like our pastor is preaching about currently, with Jesus it's always a descent into greatness. That maybe that calling has less to do with someday and a lot more to do with today and saying yes to what might seem trivial or meaningless.

It feels so backwards and awkward and "yeah but who is going to promote me if I don't promote myself, and who is going to build my ministry if I don't?" But that is the thing, the point I guess, is that the reality is it's not about us at all. It's not about the conclusions that I come to on theology and my groupies who pat my back and agree with me. It's not about my ministry that I must make happen so I can leave a legacy. Not that any of these things are wrong in and of themselves, but I wouldn't say Jesus guarantees our fame or success at all. Not how we see it. Everyone expected Jesus to come as a King who took over and ruled, but He came as a baby who was hated by the majority. That didn't take away his credibility, power or effectiveness in the slightest. 

We aren't so awesome that God should be grateful He has us, but rather we are the blessed ones to be used at all in His Kingdom. He gives us dreams and vision and loves and desires, I believe to propel us to help those who need Him. But do you know what else He gives us? Pain, disappointment, struggles and deserts for the same reasons. 

I felt like He has been asking me to find the same significance in the people He has put in my life every day, as He does. Especially my kids and my husband. 

For some reason I feel as though they don't count as "ministry". They don't embody my "calling". {listen I am just trying to be ugly honest.} I feel as though He has challenged me to love and speak truth in the smallest of ways. That my life is full of cleaning and cooking and school and baths and to be completely in that. To be in this moment, being called to the conversation in front of me, to what He is speaking to be about the struggle I'm currently in.

One day I was walking with the kids to school and I felt the Lord speak to me so clearly that retreats and camps and events are great, but character is made in the day in and the day out. The mundane moments are make us who we are, not these once in a while feelings of being nearer to the Lord or as though a new revelation might be made or discovered. 

That walking out who He is calling us to be in our character and person is by far more important than the places or things we will do, because who can sustain a true ministry with a character that hasn't been tested? Who can deal with the futures God may ask of us without becoming who we need to be by learning what it means to discipline ourselves to talk kindly to our husbands, to say sorry first in close friendships, to listen to the Lord and obey Him in the seemingly trivial so we will know how to hear Him for perhaps the bigger or harder places?

I have known the Lord since I was 6 and have felt "called to full time ministry" since I was 14. For twenty years I have been walking through this. But I know the last 5 years were about breaking up and rooting out. 

The Unmaking as Nichole Nordeman sings about 

"this is the unmaking,
beauty in the breaking,
had to lose myself
to find out who you are."

I feel as though these are the foundations the Lord is beginning to build and He is asking me not to despise the small beginnings.

So often we are like the 18 year old who walks out of their parents house and expect to have what their parents have because they didn't see all the work their parents had to do to get the nice house, cars, etc. We think "I want what she has and I am going to strive and build and mostly pout because it's not happening how I want, when I want."

And for a moment I felt as though I wanted to be willing to give up all my dreams and this "call" because I want to obey Him if that is what He is asking me to do. I don't want to miss the point because I was too stubborn or proud to consider it, being more committed to who I believe He is calling me to be rather than to Him. That submission means trusting He always has my best interest in mind, even if it doesn't make sense to me. He doesn't need me worrying about the how's, when's why's or if's. Life will unfold as He leads me, one moment at a time. And right now these moments are filled with mom things that don't seem all that glamorous or extraordinary but I want to become radically obedient. For me right now I wish that meant to go overseas or something filled with raw adventure. Radical obedience for me right now is getting up again tomorrow, cleaning, cooking, making lunch, walking to school, singing songs and wiping noses...again. 

To become uncommitted to a call that I feel I am responsible on some level to make happen. The searching and the straining and striving to discover how I can get back in that stream and rather rest that God has me in the stream He wants me in for now, and trust Him with all my heart for those things I would love for the future.

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