Part one - it's okay to want more
Part two - 5 key principles for getting started
Part three - practical tips for getting out of the slump
Part four - it's not about you
Today - finding your calling
Tomorrow - q & a (to be answered via video next week)
Let me start by asking you a question. Do you know what it is that God is calling you to do for His Kingdom?
If you don't, or if you're not sure, may I suggest four questions to ask yourself that will help you figure it out?
1. What am I good at that I also enjoy doing?
Seriously, it begins as simply as that! Ask yourself what you do well and also love to do.
As moms, we sometimes lose sight of our other skills and abilities. You may need to think back a ways to something you used to do that brought you pleasure.
Before kids, were you artistic, painting or creating things of beauty? Do you miss it? Is it possible that you could create art as a means of bringing God glory and sharing His love with others?
Before kids, did you have plans of being a social worker, helping families heal and repair? Do you miss it? Is there a way that you can help families now, even if you're not working in the social work field?
Another possibility is that you can't think of anything that gave you great pleasure until you became a mom. Perhaps you are absolutely gifted as a mother or a homemaker, and you find your joy in creating a beautiful home and teaching your children. Can I ask you, then, why you're keeping those skills to yourself? There are millions of us out there who are desperate for a patient mom to mentor us in the fine art of discipline, for example. How can you use your mothering skills to help others for His glory?
2. What am I passionate about?
Is there a certain topic that, when it comes up in conversation, you are utterly unable to resist voicing your opinion? Do you worry that you come across too strongly, simply because you feel so passionately about it?
Some examples... When teen sexuality comes up, do you go wild about the importance of teaching abstinence? If folks are talking politics and it turns to foreign aid, do you lose yourself in ideas of how to help impoverished countries? Are you gripped by the plight of a certain people group - either at home (homeless, abused, drug addicts...) or abroad (the Delits in India, the restavecs in Haiti, the child prostitutes in Thailand)?
Whatever puts a fire in your belly is probably related to your calling. Maybe you can't fly over to Amsterdam and hand out tracts to the drug dealers, but if you're passionate about it you can do something. Learn all you can, educate others, raise funds, send funds, PRAY.
3. What are my spiritual gifts?
Spiritual gifts are special gifts give by the Holy Spirit to believers when they accept Christ. These gifts don't necessarily manifest themselves immediately, though. Sometimes they take years to develop and grow in you.
There are a lot of gifts (I can't give you definite number), but some include: hospitality, healing, prophecy, administration, leadership, speaking in tongues, interpreting tongues, giving, music, writing, encouragement.
If you feel clueless about your spiritual gifts, I suggest taking a survey to help you get a clearer picture. Two of my favorites are: Finding Your Spiritual Gifts (a printed inventory by C. Peter Wagner) and Spiritual Gifts Test (an online tool).
4. What difficult things have I experienced in life?
You didn't think those hard things in life happened for no reason, did you? No way! We walk through hardship for two reasons: our own spiritual growth and to offer hope and encouragement to others.
When you've suffered the loss of a child, who brought you the most comfort? Likely someone else who had experienced the same thing. Depression? Abuse? Divorce? Teen pregnancy? Ask yourself which of your life experiences may have happened so that you could minister to others.
The hard part is being willing to share openly, so ask God for the courage to share what He wants you to and the wisdom to know how much or little to reveal for each situation.
After you've answered these four questions for yourself, you should have an idea of where God is calling you to serve. If you're still feeling clueless, just jump in and try something! Sometimes you don't know what you're good at until you've experienced it.
I once said those words to my mom, so she decided to try leading a women's Bible study. She's been doing it for at least five years now, leading one group and assisting three or four other leaders as they also facilitate groups!
On a final note, I also want to encourage you to re-evaluate periodically. Maybe every 3 years or so. While your spiritual gifts will never change, over time you may find certain gifts developing more strongly. And though we're all called and commissioned to bring the message of Christ to the ends of the earth, our individual specific roles in that commission may change over time. Sometimes a calling is for but a season...
In 2003, I wrote that I felt called to minister to young women and teens experiencing unplanned pregnancy. I served in various capacities at our local Pregnancy Care Centre for a number of years. More recently, I wrote that I feel called to be an encourager of women, drawing them into a deeper relationship with Christ using my gifts in writing, speaking, and mentoring. Pretty big shift, eh?
So tell me, do you know what you're called to do for this season of your life? If not, what steps are you going to take to figure it out?