I think when most people envision God’s calling for their life, it usually involves being “Touched by an Angel” or having some sort of out-of-body experience. For me, it happened on a city bus.
I was in Santa Cruz, California on a Summer Missions Project sponsored by Campus Crusade. There weren’t enough seats on the bus, so I plopped myself on the lap of the Cru staff woman who had been assigned to mentor me all summer. Her name was Susan. She put up with the freshmen girl version of me…and she still puts up with me now. Someone please give her a raise.
We were on the way to volunteer at a local church and someone asked Susan how she became a full-time missionary. As she answered my mind drifted off to thinking about how she had the best job ever. My exact thoughts, no lie, were, “She gets paid to travel the world, tell people about Jesus, and hang out with cool people like ME.” Cue Della Reece, because from there I concluded my train of thought with, “Coolest job in the world! Okay, that’s what I will do.”
And that was that.
As humanistic and carnal as it sounds, (because that’s about as spiritually mature as it got at that point) I truly sensed the Holy Spirit calling me into the “God business” and specifically to the mission field of college ministry. I knew from first-hand experience the vulnerability of those 4 years. I also knew the battle for the hearts and minds of students and yet the freedom, curiosity and the malleability of a young mind during those first years out from under their parent’s roof. I knew that college students were the future leaders of the world and I knew I wanted to be a world-changer.
Needless to say, I still needed MY world changed and I still needed to grasp the depth of my depravity, need for Jesus and His amazing grace, but that calling is something that regardless of my performance has always been a reference point of direction for my life.
The next few years were spent in spiritual triage. Being discipled, experiencing community, being challenged to invest in the lives of my peers through small group Bible studies and discipleship, etc. I look back now and realize that SO much of the time I was like a stage-4 spiritual cancer patient telling everyone else their need for chemo, yet not fully grasping my own desperation for sovereign grace and transformation. I was such a freaking legalist and morality and performer. But, God in His kindness slowly and surely worked the Gospel down into my soul so that I could see my own sickness and extend the life-giving cure to those around me out of an overflow of Christ in me, the Hope of glory.
And then came graduation and that whole prayer and financial support-raising thing. And that time I almost chickened out…so meet me here, same time, same place?
In the meantime, I’d love to hear about you and your vocational ministry calling. Because, praise the Lord you can be a full-time vocational minister at Value City Furniture Store or Southern Weddings Magazine, at Murphy and Grantland Law Firm or at Garber Reporting, as a stay-at-home-mom or as a teenager in the throws of sophomore year. What’s your calling? How has God uniquely wired and leveraged you for Kingdom work? Maybe you’ve never thought about it…I’d love to hear more!
This post is part of a monthly-long blog re-launch and series I’m writing entitled “31 Days of Following Him & Loving Them.” See all other posts in this series by clicking here.