When You Follow ‘The Call’...
Updated: Oct 13, 2020
What happens when you follow ‘The Call’? Not what you think. Not what you imagined.
Good things. Beautiful things. But also, hard things. Painful things. This season of my life- since making a jump and going to a ministry school (Dream City College) has been the most adventurous, but also the craziest, hardest, and most overwhelming season of life I have ever experienced.
Not because of school- which I am used to at this point (a love/hate relationship I might add).
Not because of ministry- which I have had the opportunity to serve in for a long time and so I’d grown accustomed to being flexible and ready to learn. But because of life. Just life. Life slapped me in the face this year. Repeatedly, and without relent. My health, my season in life, my dreams, my friendships, my relationships, my heart, and my motivation all began to unravel simultaneously. God appointed this season, which I’d imagined would grow me, but also provide certainty and stability to my life that had been full of moving and searching, to teach me the hardest lesson I’ve ever had to learn; The call will require letting go- of bad things, of course, but even of good things, even good desires, for the just purpose of making Him known. I am still learning these lessons, but here are my reflections on the last three years of my life thus far… When you follow the call, you will have to let go of comfort. You will have to do unpleasant things. Homework. Pointless homework. (yes, there is a difference) Busywork. Crying. Confronting. Working without recognition. Sowing without reaping. Going without all the answers. Going without support. Moving from place to place. Serving beyond what is required of you. Trusting that ‘the little things’ you do are honorable, not trivial. I learned this lesson the hard way. I thought I was willing to give up comfort. I already had sacrificed layers of my comfort in years before. But these last three years I have had to let go of one of my deepest comforts- home. Not just my childhood home, which I did give up for a time when I transferred to Emory. But my idea of home- A place that I can call mine, and that I can decorate and paint and live in freely, a place I can return to consistently. I had to let go of home and move place to place and call areas ‘home’ that I would never dream of staying. I had to leave my decor in boxes, and my clothes in suitcases as I went to and fro. It has been hard- I will not pretend. But it is the comfort of my heart to know that one day I will look back and see that the small sacrifices I made concerning my comfort led me to unlock a deeper layer of trust in the faithfulness and provision of God. One day I’ll be able to look back at this season and declare “God is faithful”. One day this small heartbreak will be a testimony of breakthrough. When you follow the call, you will have to let go of reputation. People will think you aren’t committed. People will think you don’t know what you want. People will think you are stupid and lost. People will think you don’t know what is best for yourself. People will think you are dissatisfied with yourself and searching for someone else’s life. People will think you are disobedient and rebellious. People will think… Either learn now or learn the hard way that no matter the circumstance, people will think something, and the call of God, and the approval of God will always matter more than the fleeting opinions of others. I learned this lesson the hard way as I learned the many things people thought of me because of the places I had moved through the last 3 years.
To some, I was an uncommitted, unserious, lost child- looking for someone’s stamp of approval. To others, I was always looking at everyone else, and comparing myself to another person's journey, and then wanting their journey for myself. I wanted to tell all of these people that they were wrong. That I didn’t transfer again because of comparison or because I wanted to be supported- but because I sought the Lord earnestly, reflected deeply and realized that I did not belong. And that I’d never belong, because belonging was not a place, but a person- Jesus. And that I had decided to follow Jesus into ‘the next right thing’.
But I also knew that I only wanted to correct this narrative to protect the way people would see me. I wanted to use my words to justify the call of God on my life, but the call of God justifies itself and needs no assistance. I know that now.
When you follow the call, you will have to let go of your plans.
Not the big plans that you secretly thought would never happen- The plans you thought would happen. The job you thought you’d get. The timeframe in which you thought you’d graduate. The friendships you thought you’d have. The church you thought you’d work at. The people you thought you’d impress. The major you thought you’d have. Because it is ultimately the Lord who orders our steps. And you will have to learn how to fall in love with the plans of God. You will have to once again to submit to his sovereignty and allow your faith in Him to soar.
And we can rest assured that one day we will be able to look back at this season and say “wow. God was in it the whole time”. One day this season will become a beautiful testimony of the careful handiwork of God. This season foreshadows the coming harvest of obedience. In learning to let go, you learn to lean on God, with your entire weight, and truly experience the fullness of life which would never be found in a comfort, or a plan, or a reputation, but always only in Christ. So to those of you in wilderness seasons full of battles and tears- press in! Worship. Declare his faithfulness now. Believe in His goodness now. Watch as he proves Himself to be exactly who He says He is. Allow this season to cause you to trust God like never before.