Have you served in a place you felt so called by God, and then one day it just didn’t feel right anymore? How did you feel? What did you do?
For years, my service was in an area that, though I’d not sought it, I’d felt totally called to serve. God had been so faithful to lead, equip, challenge, and encourage through a number of years in ministry, and then one day…things changed. Actually it was a culmination of a number of changes that led me to begin to wonder if I was still where God wanted me to be. Until now, I had loved getting up (even in the dark before dawn!) to go to work and serve. It was such a gift to me to “get” to do this. That changed to almost a feeling of drudgery…something I’d never experienced in ministry prior to that time. It had been difficult often, but I’d never doubted I was where God had called me to be. Now I questioned everything.
I had also reached the half way mark of life (turning 50) and a number of other changes had occurred that gave me an urgency to spend the rest of my life on the most important things, not just good things! James 4:13-17 (HCSB) had become a challenge to me:
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will travel to such and such a city and spend a year there and do business and make a profit”. You don’t even know what tomorrow will bring—what your life will be! For you are a bit of smoke that appears for a little while, then vanishes. Instead, you should say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that”. But as it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So, for the person who knows to do good and doesn’t do it, it is a sin.
God began to speak to me asking if I was doing what He’d told me to do. Was there something He’d told me that I wasn’t doing?
Since only He knew how many years I had left to complete my assignments on earth, I wanted to be sure I wasn’t wasting time on things that didn’t matter. My daily prayer was, “God do I stay here or leave? What are you telling me to do?” My desire was to obey but I just wasn’t sure what He was asking. One day, He showed me that my focus was wrong. It had shifted from “getting to know Him”, to getting an answer! So, I began to change my focus to, “Lord, what do you want to teach me about Yourself today? Help me love You more tonight than I do this morning”. As my focus changed, He began to show me new things about who He was and even about myself.
What I realized in the end was that I was where He wanted me to be, doing what He had truly called me to do, but that it was okay to periodically take a look at what I was doing just to make sure. Sometimes we get so comfortable in a position, even if He is using us and teaching us new things, we just assume that is what we are supposed to do. Reassessing can help us see new things He’s asking us to do; or reaffirmed that we are right where He wants us to be.
Another thing He showed me was that my “calling” was not primarily to a place or institution, but primarily to Him. I really knew that, but I needed a reminder of this principle. Secondarily, my calling was to my family. Then my calling was to women, not the place or particular way I was serving. I’d gotten that confused thinking I’d been called to an institution. That may be the vehicle He has allowed me to serve women through, now for over 15 years, but He can choose to change how I live out that calling any way He chooses. He could even change my calling from women to children if He so desired.
For now, He has assured me I am to continue serving women right where I am. But, I will reassess from time to time to make sure I haven’t missed an assignment He is placing before me. Perhaps you have gone through a difficult season of ministry and He has moved you to a new assignment. Perhaps He assured you to stay where you were and do exactly what He’d asked you to do. Maybe He asked you to stay in one place but change how you were ministering. The main thing is that we listen to Him daily to show us what He desires us to do.
How has God reaffirmed or changed your direction in ministry? Share it with us in the comments section.
For more helpful resources, check out Women Reaching Women Beginning & Building a Growing Women’s Enrichment Ministry, Revised.
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