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9 Questions to Discover Your Calling

When I first found my way back to church at the ripe age of 23, there were a number of Christian phrases that made me feel like a foreign exchange student. Grace, sin, salvation, “saved”. Communion, holy spirit, dedication, spiritual gifts, tongues…

I can’t even tell you how many conversations my eyes glazed over as I wondered, “what are these people talking about?” Yet one idea confused me more than the Sweet and Sour Tater Tot Hot Dish. That was the idea of a “calling.”

“God called me to start an after-school mentoring program for kids.” “God called me to bake sugar-free, gluten-free monster cookies for the homeless.” “God called me to wear an extra small nurses costume on Halloween and hand out candy to every single guy west of the Mississippi.” Okay, maybe I made that last one up.

In fact, I often found myself doubting this word calling altogether. I mean are you sure that “feeling” is not just the sesame chicken, fried rice and mountain dew from lunch sloshing around in your small intestine? Like, how do you really know it’s truly a pigeon carrier from the heavens?

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After six years of immersion into these Christian people, I think I’ve cracked the translation of what this word means.

A calling in its simplest form is what God wants you to do with your life, listening to the will of God and taking action. @aliverecklessly

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The things God wants you to do… that is your calling! And we all have one. Actually, we all have many.

There are the basic callings of all us Christians like these:

  1. Love people well—especially the unlovable people in our lives. (Matthew 5:46)

  2. Serve the least of these. (Matthew 25:40)

  3. Make disciples, encouraging and sharing their faith with those around them.  (Matthew 28:19)

  4. Be a light everywhere we go. (Matthew 5:16) (to name a few).

Then there are individual callings we were created by God to do, tasks he prepared for us in advance:

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

Discovering your calling isn’t as hard as it sounds. I think you already know many of them. There are causes or groups of people that your heart breaks for. There are tasks that bring you to life and explode in your heart with excitement when you think about them. The truth is, God is constantly speaking into our lives, we just have to create space and learn how to listen. [Wanting to learn more about hearing from God? Start by getting to know him through the bible. Check this popular post 10 Ways to Fall In Love With Your Bible] My current callings:

  1. Be a good son, brother, uncle, friend.

  2. Teach elementary school kids about music and love them.

  3. Be an online missionary, spreading the love of God through this crazy blog.

  4. Write and speak about my experiences about suicide and depression as often as possible.

  5. Invest in the next generation.

  6. Live frugally so I can be debt-free and give generously.

  7. Live a life that is fully and recklessly alive.

I didn’t discover these overnight. They’ve been slowly emerging and evolving throughout my life. Living the Recklessly Alive life involves knowing what you were created to do (and going after it). Here are 9 questions you can use to check in with your soul to discover what you were created to do.

1.) What is God’s Will for my life?

Hmm… can we just pretend this isn’t the first question? As in all awkward situations, instead of asking this question I’d rather moonwalk out of the room right now…

To be honest, I’m scared to ask God this question. I have all these plans and expectations for what my life should look like and what if they don’t match up? What if I don’t like God’s will for my life?

  1. Take a deep breath.

  2. Open a journal.

  3. Write the question and then listen.

  4. Notice what rises up in you.

  5. Notice what thoughts you immediately bat away.

  6. Then just write and write and write.

And then try again the next day. Or once a week. And if all you hear is the rrrRrerrreeer of the air conditioner, maybe talk a walk or eat some buffalo wings and see if you can get something going’.

The hard truth is the only way I know to constantly hear God’s voice in your life is to intimately know the word of God.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. -Romans 12:2

When you wake up each morning and spend time in the bible, THEN you are able to test and approve God’s perfect will for your life. And one day you’ll just know that you know.

Action Step: Make it a habit to listen to God’s still, quiet voice speaking love and purpose into your life every day. Open your journal and ask God “What is your will for my life?”

2.) What do I wish no one knew about me?

You didn’t think that discovering your calling was going to be easy, did you?

We’ve all the crap we wish no one knew. We’ve all got insecurities that try to convince us we aren’t worthy of love and belonging. Yet some people have an inner-confidence to tell those voices where to stick it. When the lies come flying in their direction, they let them fall down their back like a warm summer rain.

Whatever has happened to you, you have to find a way to make peace with it. You have to root it out or it will continue to bury itself deeper and deeper inside of you. You won’t be able to find your purpose in life if you’re running from the things that make you who you are—both the awesome and the despicable.

This may be through journaling, a trusted friend or family member, writing your story, joining a support group, seeing a counselor or therapist, or meeting with a spiritual director or pastor.

If you’re truly pursuing God’s willl, some tough forces are going to come flying in your direction and you need to be confident and strong in who you are in the Lord.

Action Step: Spend time journaling and talking to God about the hardest parts of your story. Reach out for help and let a trusted person see you—the real you.

3.) What pain of my past can God use for good?

This was my desperate prayer the week following my suicide attempt in 2011. I asked God “how could we use all my pain to help others.” This blog was his first answer to that question and off we went.

He continues to answer that question through my speaking, my in-progress book and through Recklessly Alive Ministries which we officially launched last May.

This is one of my favorite promises in the entire bible:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. -Romans 8:28