By Jacky Gatliff
The possibility that God has a call for me reveals both my hopes and nagging fears. If God has a call for me will he let me know it? Throughout scripture we see that he does reveal his call. Think Miriam, Deborah, Hulda, Lydia, Phoebe, and Mary. The list continues with women you observe who have received a call to engage in God’s kingdom.
Hearing the Call
God’s call is experienced in the context of the relationship we have with him. Our call is designed by the God who has created us and loves us beyond measure. The promise is specific: “And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.” (Isaiah 30.21) We recognize his voice when we have made ourselves familiar with his voice through a deepening relationship.
Resisting the Call
We want a call but we also resist it. Resistance rarely comes from a concern about challenges or dangers we might face as part of our call. Rather, resistance is often based on issues of identity and trust: Who am I? Suppose I’m not _____ enough? What happens if I fail? God exposes areas that we need to address to respond freely and eagerly to the call. Our will-fullness, our expectations, our level of trust are just the beginning.
Answering the Call
God’s call can be costly and inconvenient. When God calls, he does not move us into a bigger comfort zone. He moves us into a deeper and more intimate relationship with him. The depth comes when we are stretched beyond ourselves and into a sphere where we must act on our belief that God is good and can be trusted.
Explore With Others: Invite those who know you and who are willing to join you in listening for your call. Allow them to challenge and affirm God’s call in your life. Be willing to engage in conversations that probe your resistance and gifting. Your circle of trusted friends will be important when you doubt your call.
To think about: What thoughts have I had of engagement in God’s kingdom? Where am I resisting or have lost touch with who I am? Am I able to recognize God’s voice when I hear it?
Explore, listen and respond to God’s call with these words: For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2.10)
Jacky Gatliff is the Associate Pastor of Stanwich Community Church in Greenwich, CT. Her email signature includes this quote from St. Ignatius: “There are very few people who realize what God would make of them if they abandoned themselves into his hands,and let themselves be formed by his grace.” – May I be one of them……