Uncomplicate Your Calling

Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker, James Harrison, posted a picture of his children’s “2015 Best of the Batch" trophies on Instagram with a statement saying that they won’t receive them "until they EARN a real trophy." "I’m sorry I’m not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned and I’m not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because they tried their best,” he continues. “Cause sometimes your best is not enough and that should drive you to want to do better.”

It’s a pretty common thing to give every kid a trophy these days. Or to believe that positive reinforcements, such as self-talk, will make us better.  While awards and personal pats on the back are good things, we have to be careful we’re not tricking ourselves into believing that whatever we do we’re going to be awesome at. Our “callings” become complicated when we can’t distinguish between what we think we’re good at and what we actually are.

To uncomplicate our callings, we have to be honest about our obstacles and opportunities.  We have to set aside the group trophies from the individual awards. Here’s how:

Follow your joy.

A “calling" isn’t something that everyone gets a trophy for. It isn’t something we’re mediocre at. It is as radically simple as the thing that brings us joy and discovering God’s purpose for that unique passion.

We are awesome guacamole makers. We have the incredible ability to light up a room with our smile.  We have fought cancer and are empowering others through our battle. We plan great date nights for our spouse. We are students, teachers, givers, and life-bringers. And when we take the time to focus on our joy, we become excellent at sharing it.

That person who can smile the brightest is desperately needed by their neighbor facing a dark time.  The cancer fighter is hope to someone else beginning their battle. The date night planner is the glue that pieces back together a marriage. The giver is the life saver to the person in poverty.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 says There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.”  The “different” that this verse is talking about is the definition of “calling.” What brings you joy isn’t the group trophy but the individual award God gave you and only you.

To avoid complicating your calling, take a look at your trophy case.  What gifts and talents has God given uniquely you? What have you earned through your hardships?  What ability do you have that could help others?  Set these things that bring you joy as your compass.  What you love will point you toward why you're here.

kaley thompson