- a strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation; calling
- late Middle English: from Old French, or from Latin vocatio(n-), from vocare ‘to call.’
I, like many young people, am unsure of 1) who I am and 2) what or who I am called to be.
Now, I know the Sunday-school answer to both of these questions. “I am a child of God, beloved to him! He calls me to serve Him and His Kingdom!” Adults (and by adults, I mean people over the age of 35) like to give this Sunday-school answer, and then tell you that it’s normal to feel this way as a young person. This is wildly unhelpful, and vaguely ironic, as I have no doubt that they also hated that answer at my age. Nonetheless, it is the useless answer I am given.
The issue further expands when the Sunday-school answer meets the achievement-based value popular in the US. Some churches really love to ask questions like: “How are you serving the Kingdom?” Jobs like missionary or pastor are valued over teacher or lawyer. Are any of those jobs bad? No. Are we called to serve? Of course. But there is an element of toxicity in that viewpoint that has been internalized more than we might realize.
I’ve certainly found that to be true.
So listening to Skye Jethani speak on Tuesday was wonderful. He spoke about about 1 Corinthians 7 and the three levels of calling (the highest being to God, the common being to “the rules,” and then our specific callings), I felt vindicated from that fear that what I was interested (Writing? Reading? Teaching? None of the above?) in was good enough. Brutal as it may sound, my favorite point of his was that by assuming that God needs us to do His work is, frankly, arrogant. God doesn’t need us. He wants us. And that’s even better.
I’m not speaking against missionary or pastoral work. Those things are both important, and blessed. But it’s okay to not be called to those things. I don’t have to be a missionary to have value.
I don’t have to know, and I don’t have to worry.