March 31, 2007
Following a Tough Call
Do you have a passion that burns deep in your core? A drive like a pile of red, hot, fiery coals that you just can't contain? I don't mean a strong desire to go shopping or an intense craving for chocolate. I'm talking about a passion to make a difference, to change the world, to impact a life, to fight for a cause. Do you feel that kind of drive?
If so, what are you doing to set it free? Or do you feel you have you waited too long - stifling your passion to raise kids or climb a career ladder?
Intense passions are both a gift and a message from God. Through those passions he whispers, or yells, to us, "I have created you for a purpose. I have a mission for you." If you can resonate with these feelings, then you have probably discovered God's calling on your life. Once God has revealed that calling to you, you have two options: to be obedient to the call or to ignore it.
I have learned that ignoring a calling can lead to depression, anger, frustration, and a deep dissatisfaction with life. And I have learned that following a calling can also lead to moments of depression, anger, frustration, and loneliness. Yet, underneath those feelings will be a profound sense of peace and satisfaction.
God first exposed my passion through a book, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, by Ron Sider. Once I discovered that I had a passion for helping the poor, I had to ask, What am I going to do to help alleviate the poverty that plagues our world? Asking that question raised a lot of anxiety. As a new mom with a very comfortable life, thinking about the poor made me feel embarrassed and guilty and helpless. So instead of taking action, I directed my passion at criticizing the church for not working harder to eliminate poverty.
God continued to stoke my passion, and I continued to rationalize all the reasons why I could not respond to his call. But I became increasingly angry and bitter and deeply disappointed with life. Finally, after a hospitalization for severe depression, I realized I could not continue to ignore the passion God had given me.
Thankfully, God blessed me with a husband who deeply believed a calling on my life was a calling for our entire family. So, we pursued the call, making significant changes and sacrifices. We battled doubts and fears and family and friends who thought we were crazy. In the end, though, God placed me on staff at a large church directing a ministry to open the eyes of "rich" Christians to the plight of the poor.
I would not be honest if I said that my life is complete bliss now that I am living my passion. But I do have a peace that I had never known before. I am at last doing what God created me to do. And I have learned, and hope to help my children and others learn, that when God gives us a passion and a calling, he will be faithful to help us fulfill it. But we have to be willing to give him the chance. Is it time for you to give him the chance?