June 15, 2011

God's Calling. (I think.)

This is the 2nd post in this series. If you haven't read the 1st one, take a second and start HERE. 

I started leading worship around the age of 20. I got serious about it when I was probably 22-23. I loved it! At times I could envision myself doing that for a long time. But if I'm being honest, I have to admit that some of my love for this was married to the idea that I enjoyed feeling like, even though I wasn't drowning in the ocean of being a rock star, I at least had my foot in the water. It's very hard to discern God's calling when you're still daydreaming about yourself in lights. So at that point in my life, and even up to 8-10 years ago, if you had told me that the Lord was preparing me to preach and to pastor I would have laughed in your face. Not that I didn't believe, but it was that I didn't WANT it.

Looking back I would say about 4-5 years ago it began to be very clear to me that the Lord was preparing me for something else. I still loved pastoring students, had a vision for what we were doing and why we were doing it, but I could feel this distraction inside me. (Different than my ADD kicking in!) And I had grown to not only love preaching, it was what fueled my heart. I could empathize with Paul saying, "Woe to me if I don't preach the Gospel!" This freaked me out. So as I approached this potential crossroad - asking God, "What is it you're preparing me to do" - I looked for wisdom. And yes, I started in the scriptures. But I kept reading in the Word that it's foolish not to "seek wise counsel", and that the "advice of the wise is like a life-giving fountain". Proverbs 15:22 plainly tells us that "many counselors bring success". And every time I thought I had the answer, I would follow it up with, "I think". So I asked the Lord for wisdom to know who I should consult. And He led me to those people.

I remember asking my brother, a couple of my friends in ministry, and even some of my former students who knew me well, a very pointed question: "If you  were advising me to do ONE THING - to commit to leading worship (or) to preach and to pastor - what would it be?" [For dramatic purposes I would love to tell you that everyone came back with different answers, just confusing things even more, leading me to take a 6-week journey into the wilderness where I ate berries, drank from leaves, and get alone to find the answers. Didn't happen.] Every single person I talked to gave me the same response: PREACH! It wasn't like they were scratching their heads saying, "I'm going to have to pray about this and get back to you." It was instantaneous! And it was backed up by reasons and wisdom from individuals that I trusted, respected, and loved - individuals who not only loved me, but loved Jesus Christ. I knew this affirmation was from Him. God's calling is often affirmed through the counsel of the wise.

Now be careful - YOU are the only one who can ultimately determine and discern WHAT it is the Lord is calling you to do. But He's put others in your life to help you discern this. Others who will pray with you, lead you to places in scripture that maybe you're overlooking, and (possibly) most important...bring an ounce more objectivity to the matter than you'll ever have.

But here's where I'm still questioning: If person after person after person gives you the same counsel, advice, opinion, or whatever you want to call it, yet you still don't agree with their advice, what do you do?

If it's clear to everyone in the known universe that an individual is "missing their calling", and person after person has boldly and lovingly attempted to shared this belief with the person, yet they "just don't see it that way", what's left to do? Maybe a more pointed question would be, how do you argue or debate with someone who says, "God's calling me to _________"? For this reason I will give anyone the advice: Be very careful who you use those words. If you aren't 100% sure it's "God calling", don't you dare write His name on it.

In answering God's calling on your life, what role will the advice and wisdom of others around you play in your decision making? Love to hear your thoughts....

1 comment:

Beau Hayden said...

I remember this conversation very clearly. We were on the stage setting up lights...oh those lights. I am still afraid of the answers I receive and what is told to me. I still have the feeling that I am a buoy riding the ebb and flow of the waves of the ocean. Saying something is God's calling is a bold move...just make sure you know that it is HIM calling and not you. I still have yet to find His calling on my life...maybe if I look under some more rocks...