“God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called.” Mark Batterson
I blame my Daddy for my poor grades in high school. Many nights he’d burst through my bedroom door with some inspiration he wanted me to write about and the opened textbook flew onto the floor. After many of his scrutinizing edits and my rewrites his scowl softened, he’d nod, and then…there it was—the well-earned smile.
“Tammy, God made you a writer.” He’d proclaim.
Once in college, I didn’t want to be a writer. While my journals collected dust, I set out to find myself because a writer, in my mind, was a lonely woman surrounded by cats and regurgitated furballs hunched over a vintage typewriter. The picture wasn’t appealing. I wanted excitement, like what I felt when debating public policy in my political science classes, or when announcing I’d pursue a political science degree.
Dad shook his head, “Tammy, God made you a writer. Go do that.”
Funny, how I’ve come full circle. Back to where I started. If only I’d listened, I would have encountered fewer dead ends and round abouts on my spiritual backroads.
Today, not only do I write, but God’s given me the ability to paint as well.
So, here’s the question, how do we identify what our calling is in Jesus Christ?
What is Our Calling in Jesus Christ?
Once we believe in the truth of who Jesus is and confess Him as Lord, we egin to abide in Him—by submitting to His authority, reading the Bible, and praying, we all receive more than one calling on our lives.
There are two types of callings on a believer’s life: a universal calling that is true for all those in the faith, and a calling more individualistic in nature.
A Believer’s Universal Callings:
- Our lives should bring glory to God.
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21 (ESV)
Our Universal calling in Christ Jesus is for our lives to bring glory to God. I didn’t really understand what this meant when my sister was dying. I became angry with God when my Aunt Brenda tearfully told me, “It’s for God’s glory, Tammy.” She wiped her eyes. “God wants you to know, her dying is for His glory.” I glanced over at my sister Tricia, sitting in a Lazy boy, eyes closed, gray skin stretched over skeleton.
I didn’t like the sound of it to be honest.
It wasn’t until after her death that I realized what God’s glory meant, as I gripped the podium and looked out at the faces of over 800 people. Every single one thought they had come to honor my sister, but God had bigger plans. They attended a divine appointment. They’d each received an invitation to accept Christ’s gift of grace and through it salvation.
You see, we think of glory in the human sense of the word, like an accolade or a trophy—God patting Himself on the back while we are suffering—but that’s not God’s idea of glory. My sister’s death became a conduit of His gospel message…a message of freedom. God desires to free individuals from the bondage of sin.
2. The Great Commission:
As believers our second universal calling is to share the gospel with others. Christ’s words to the remaining 11 disciples are a responsibility He’s endowed on us, as well.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” Matthew 28: 19-20.
If we remain quiet about our faith, we are not obedient to the call on our lives. I’ve heard more Christians say, “I share Jesus with the way I act or treat people.”
Yes, you should do that. That’s fulfilling the first universal calling above, but we are to tell others the reason for our joy, peace, longsuffering, faith, and love. We didn’t produce this on our own, and if we aren’t sharing who we’ve received this from, we claim it as our achievement. We must acknowledge, we are nothing without Christ.
How to Identify Your Individual Calling?
How do we identify the calling personal to us? I believe the easiest way is by answering the following questions:
- What talents has God blessed you with?
“And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship.” Exodus 31:3 (ESV)
As I mentioned before, I love to write and paint, but I also enjoy interior design. I’m good at scouring for deals online and in vintage markets and layering a space with contemporary and vintage elements that makes it appear it’s been decorated over time—not overnight. Knowing I enjoy using this part of my brain, God has blessed me with projects from time to time that have been used for ministry purposes. So even interior design can be used for His glory and become a calling.
2. What are you passionate about?
Think about what causes really get you fired up. Christine Cane, co-founder of an anti-human trafficking organization called The A21, recalls arriving at an airport and seeing a wall filled with pictures of missing children. This ignited something in her spirit, and she began looking into what happened to all the children. This sparked her calling to fight human trafficking.
So, what ignites that passion in you? Could it be homelessness? Orphans? Joblessness? Abortion? Health?
Identifying this passion could be the calling God is placing on your life.
My ultimate passion is revealing God’s goodness. I’m one of those annoying people that will point out how good God is in any situation. I’m going to identify His goodness and make you see it. (It probably makes people want to shoot me.) This passion in me was birthed in a time I questioned His goodness, but God in His grace revealed it to me.
I’m also passionate about teaching people how to hear His voice. Half of my time as a Christian, I looked to my circumstances for signs of His presence or as an answer to prayers. Since I’ve learned how to hear Him, I treasure my daily quiet time in the morning, when I read the Bible; and the Bible has proven time and again it has the supernatural ability to speak into my life on a personal level. I want every Christian to experience this, and I get frustrated when I see people claim to be Christian, without making a relationship with God their priority. They’re missing out a real relationship and walking blind.
With regards to people, I’m passionate about single mothers. My sister was one for a short while. When I worked my way through college, and we were both still living with our parents, she moved her baby into our bedroom. We took turns in the middle of the night feeding and diapering her baby boy. I witnessed first-hand the struggles a single mom faces because I lived it. Since then, I’ve had a soft spot for single mothers and God continually places one or two in my life to walk alongside or at least be a sounding board for.
3. Is there something you do that makes you feel alive?
Do you have a hobby that makes you feel like, “this is what I’m born to do?”
Having ADHD, writing, for me, is painstaking, tedious work at times, whereas painting feels like a staycation at a five- star resort. In the future, I’m hoping God will guide me in how to weave the two together.
If you really enjoy something, why not pray about how it can be used for God’s glory? And, let me add here, I don’t believe God requires our art to have a spiritual meaning, but I do believe we should be ready to point to Who gave us the talent. On the flip side, our creative work should never conflict with who we are in Christ and our ultimate callings of revealing God’s glory and sharing the gospel. We have a responsibility as followers of Christ to do just that…follow Christ in our creative endeavors.
4. Is there an opportunity that’s become available to you or an opportunity you wish was available, but feel unqualified?
I’ve talked with women who wish they were good speakers. Their desire is to speak on a stage to women, but they feel they’re not qualified. I started this blog with this popular quote by Mark Batterson. “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.” This opportunity or desire may have been fostered by God, and He’s waiting for you to step out in faith.
For example, when God asked Moses to free the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Moses responded with he wasn’t an eloquent speaker and didn’t think he could get the Israelites or Pharoah to listen to him. Even after God told Moses He’d give him the words to speak, he still spewed insecurities. God relented, allowing Aaron to come along with him and assist him.
And take Gideon…he was hiding from the Midianites threshing wheat in a wine press when the angel of the Lord came to him. I can’t help but giggle when he greets Gideon by saying, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.” God called Gideon—a scaredy cat—to save Israel from the Midianites. God called him a man of courage while he was hiding in the winepress. You see God already wrote Gideon’s story and empowered by Him, Gideon would become that man of courage and succeed at fighting the Midianites.
There are times we may be called to do something for the Lord that is not in the wheelhouse of our talent, passion, or something that makes us feel alive. There are times God calls us to do work we are uncomfortable doing, something we may even dread, but that requires faith to accomplish. I’ve had this happen several times in my life. I felt so ill-equipped but stepped out in faith, knowing it would require God’s work through me to accomplish it. I believe these callings are big blessing producers. If anything, they humble us and increase our faith in an awesome God—big time.
God’s calling does not require our competence, but our dependence on a God who is.
“I cry out to God Most High to God who fulfills His purpose for me.” Psalms 57:2 (ESV)
Maybe if we see ourselves the way God does, we wouldn’t resist so much. He saw Moses speaking—because He’d give him the mouth to speak. He saw Gideon as courageous, when he was hiding. He sees you completely fulfilling your purpose that He’s calling you to. So, why worry?
As believers, we have two ultimate life callings: for our lives to bring God glory and to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Beyond that, there are callings more personal in nature that may tie in with our talents, passions, and abilities, which we enjoy doing, but also, we could be called to do something that is outside of our natural abilities; a faith building calling. I hope you’ll be blessed in your calling in this new year.
For another blog on the subject of calling and obeying the call check out A Gift For God.
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Psalms 139:13-16 (ESV)
Tammy Carter Adams is the founder of The Hallelujah House. She currently resides in Orlando, Florida with her husband and four children. When she’s not writing blogs, she works on podcasts, writing a book, painting canvases in her studio, and enjoys hanging out with her family. You can connect with Tammy personally at the “About Us” tab on the Home page.