This past month has been full of newness for me – my website launch, friends’ weddings and baby reveals, my mom’s first-ever dinner speech, and my state’s simultaneous hurricane crisis and hosting of the World Equestrian Games. Lots of new directions, mostly good, some bad.
All the while, a question has been hovering in the back (okay, often the front) of my mind: What should I do with my life?
Probably most of us have asked ourselves that question at some point (maybe more than once). And it’s hard enough to answer with just our personal interests, life circumstances, and resources to balance. Then add the question of what God wants our life purpose – our “calling” – to be, and it gets even more complicated
I keep thinking of a key moment in Disney’s Moana, which I saw for the first time recently (spoiler alert). At one point, when Moana questions her ability to obey the Ocean’s call, her grandmother asks her, “Do you know who you are?”
After searching herself, Moana answers, “I am a girl who loves my island. / And the girl who loves the sea.”
For the first part of the movie, those two passions seem contradictory: Should Moana stay on her island to lead her people, or should she abandon her island and enjoy a seafaring life? Yet when Moana learns of her island’s plight and its only solution, the two warring sides of her unite to point in one direction: Save her island by sailing across the sea.
The best part? That’s exactly what the Ocean has called her to do.
Maybe God’s call to us is like that sometimes – something that makes sense in the context of our lives. Something close and accessible, something we can discover if we desire to.
Often, we treat it as something elusive, more akin to Brave’s wraiths lurking in dark, secluded places with no guarantees of being found. But what if God’s will is sometimes more like the Ocean’s call to Moana – handed to us in the bright sunshine when we stand on the shore where it can find us? And instead of being other-worldly, it fits right into our here and now?
I’m not saying there’s nothing mysterious, even surprising, about God’s will. But sometimes it makes more sense than we expect.
The Sense of the Matter
There are times when nothing around us or within us makes sense. And there are times when God’s call is totally unexpected and/or takes us places we never thought we’d go.
But it’s not always that way. Many times, the answer is sitting within our view – we just need the lens of prayer and wisdom to see it. Instead of looking for revelations to step out of nowhere, we can sometimes find clues to God’s call in the people and circumstances surrounding us and the passions we already have.
Even the work of salvation wasn’t something God called us out of this world to do. Instead, He did it Himself in our own world. He came to us in the form of Jesus Christ. He lived among us as a human, died a painful death, and then was resurrected to life in this same world. He works in our everyday lives here and now. And His promise for us and our universe isn’t “earth going to heaven” – it’s “heaven coming to earth”.
That said, we can get things wrong. Things like pain, pride, false assumptions, or limited knowledge can cloud our vision. And sometimes God isn’t ready for His will to be understood. In the latter case, He’ll reveal it when He’s ready. Sometimes His will is, “Wait, watch, and pray.”
That’s why it’s important to pray, study the Bible and how it applies to our lives, and seek feedback from wise, trustworthy sources. This can help us check our blind spots, widen our perspective, remind us of God’s standards, and encourage us in our commitment to seek and follow God’s direction. In this way, we position ourselves to receive, verify, and act on God’s guidance when He sends it to us.
Some Things for Certain…
Not everyone’s lives are meant to look the same. Not everyone is meant to take the same path at the same crossroad. But some things are the same. The principles we’re called to live by are the same.
Regardless of what our individual lives look like, there are some things we don’t have to guess about, change, or wait for. Things God calls all of us to do.
To love Him with our entire being. To love other people the way we love ourselves. To imitate the character of Jesus Christ and live by His teachings. To believe in Christ’s saving work and accept the grace He offers us.
Will you answer His call?