God doesn’t called the qualified… he qualifies the called.
It’s a favorite saying in my current circle of friends and while I appreciate the sentiment, I’m not sure I’m comfortable with the attitude of “throwing caution to the wind” because I fear this saying can promote that.
So here comes a fundamental question: “How do you know when you’re called?”
There is a necessary amount fear that goes along with being called. The fear of not being good enough, the fear of not knowing how it will end up, the fear you are going to really screw it up, the fear that we really have no idea what we are doing. (i.e. faking it). I believe fear is necessary because there is something to be said for a reality check. There is such a thing as righteous fear – in the same sense there is a righteous anger. It’s all about doing the right thing. My pastor in college once told me “Just because you feel something doesn’t mean it right.” It is in the same manner we should judge our calling. I may feel called to an action or profession, but that doesn’t mean it’s right. In the same way, if my initial excitement and determination about a calling has waned, that doesn’t mean the calling was misunderstood in the first place. We have put such a value on our emotions that reality checks are somewhat of a commodity.
I have no trouble admitting that my time here in Nebraska, leading worship where I do, hasn’t been full of doubt, fear, disappointment, frustration and even some anger. However, it wasn’t until years into it that I was absolutely sure God called me here at this time and moment. Moving back here? Taking this job? Was all about gut for me. The same was with in choosing which undergraduate college to attend. It was a gut feeling, with a little heart mixed in. I did doubt my decision my third year at Sterling, and that is when the pastor of the church I attended said to me, very matter-of-factly (that was the Denny Prutow way) “Just because you feel something doesn’t mean it right.” (Just writing about it makes me miss him).
So here’s the rub: my problem with being “called” is that I want to know now what I may not know years into it: that I absolutely made the right choice,
Yeah, I know what’s you’re thinking “What about faith?”
I’m not doubting God. I’m doubting my ability to hear him in the right way.
I visited a church this morning – a rarity for me because I’m usually required to be at my own church on Sundays. I always love doing it, though, so I can see what other praise teams do, what guitars they use, etc, etc. The sermon was about listening to the Holy Spirit. The pastor offered no practical things to do to get better at it, and he directly addressed the issue. He sighted John 3, specifically verses 8 and 9.
So? In this passage Jesus tells me “the Spirit gives birth to spirit” so it stands to reason, I think, that if I am in step with the Spirit, I will be able to hear him in the right way.
It’s funny. I started this post on Friday with a very different outcome in mind. Guess God knows what he’s doing, huh?
I was feeling so disheartened on Friday – the support I was hoping for (in regards to me going back to school) didn’t come through. But if one person’s lack of interest/support causes me to doubt my calling then who am I trusting in? Myself and that person – not God. And he has so many times before, spoken to me clearly (and not so clearly) but he’s never failed to talk to me. If my inital fire has waned, so be it, but as Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire.” I think even if I tried I wouldn’t succeed. Have I learned nothing from Balaam’s donkey?
What I’m listening to: Fleetwood Mac’s Landslide
What I’m reading: (a new edition to come what may) George Barna’s Revolution, and Ted Dekker’s Red