Find Your Calling in Life

What is God calling you to do? If you don’t know, the question to start with is what brings you joy?

By Keri Wyatt Kent, Chicago, Illinois

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“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” Ephesians 4:1 (NIV)

One of the greatest gifts my parents gave me was permission to listen to the voice of my own gladness. My father told me that I could do anything with my life; his only hope was that I would enjoy my work as much as he enjoyed his.

My father was not called to be a missionary or a pastor, a teacher or some other vocation that people label as noble. He ran a small company that sold sandblasting and spray-painting equipment. But he ran it well, and ethically. He demanded hard work from his employees, but never asked them to do more than he was willing to do as well. In Wishful Thinking: A Seeker’s ABC, Frederick Buechner writes: “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

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Christians have two callings. The first we must heed is the call to follow Jesus. (See Romans 1:6–7.) We share that with all our brothers and sisters in Christ; it is a general calling. But each of us also has a specific calling, whether it is to run a company or write books or to be a mom, or an orthodontist, or whatever.

Romans 1:1 says that Paul was “called to be an apostle.” That was his specific calling. The voice of my own gladness (and the world’s need) called me to be a writer. And I think I enjoy my work as much as, maybe more than, my dad enjoyed his.

What is God calling you to do? If you don’t know, the question to start with is what brings you joy? And then, how will you respond to that call?

Faith Step: If you followed your “deep gladness” where would it lead you? Have you given some time in prayer to asking God about your specific calling?

Keri Wyatt Kent is the author of many devotionals, including Simple Compassion and Oxygen. She writes and speaks to help people slow down, simplify, and rest so that they can listen to God. Keri is a member of Willow Creek Community Church, where she has taught, led groups and volunteered in a variety of ministries for more than two decades. She and her husband, Scot, live with their teenage son and daughter in Illinois.

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Thank you for those wonderful words of encouragement! God has been working in my mind and heart recently to help me to try to find my calling. I am going to "pray without ceasing" until Ge shows me my answer. I enjoy so many things that it's going to be hard to figure out which one is the most important to Him and me. Thank you again!