Words aren’t adequate to express my affection for today’s guest post writer. I adore Kari Long. She’s my person. I text her when I need someone to understand my sarcastic (sometimes mistakenly inappropriate) quips about social situations. You know when you are sure someone had too much plastic surgery and you really need someone else to notice but no one seems to? Kari’s my girl…she’s the one who understands that my brain is going to explode if I don’t share it with someone. She’s also a crazy talented writer with a heart that is so moldable and eager for more of God.
I would strongly encourage you to check out Kari’s blog for a good laugh and loads of encouragement!Until then soak in the anointed words from my dear sister, Kari.
Writers don’t like clichés. This poses a real dilemma for Christian writers because clichés are what Christians do best. We can take a deep spiritual truth, dilute it, make an acronym out of it, turn it into little more than a buzz word and screen print it on a tee-shirt like nobody’s business. We really have the corner on this market, people. Some fun examples would be “It’s all about that grace, ’bout that grace, no trouble”, #blessed, and the infamous WWJD craze of the 1990’s. You know you had the bracelet.
I grew up in church and was pretty much a walking cliché, so I can speak into this. I went to some sort of GA camp or youth retreat every summer and they all seemed to conclude with a big dramatic ceremony with lots of girls crying and people making commitments and answering “the call” of God. Called to preach. Called to the mission field. Called to full-time ministry. Called to be a worship leader (this was a new thing then. Prior to it would have been “choir director” but that didn’t sound as cool to the teen crowd.)
And you know, some of those kids grew up to do the very thing they felt God calling them to at that tender age. But most of us sat there (and maybe possibly rolled our eyes) and thought that we weren’t “called” to anything at all, because we didn’t have that emotional experience. So in my mind, “calling” became some sort of elusive event that only happened to really holy or really talented people.
I struggled through my teenage existence and eventually grew up to be an adult cliché, playing piano in church and singing with the worship team. I figured that must be my calling. I was pretty good at it, and it gave me a sense of purpose and identity in the church for a time. Then my life sort of imploded and nobody asked me to sing anymore. I had to start over with just me and God, and figure out who I was in Him without the clichés and the banal platitudes. Just me and Him. And I learned a few things.
- Sometimes God waits until you stop listening to everyone else before He calls you. And He goes to great lengths to get your attention. For me it was at the bottom of a deep pit of sin where He whispered my name and said I was loved. Chosen. His. (Romans 5:8)
- God’s call on your life is not a job description. It isn’t a title, or a position, or a particular ministry. His call is simply to follow Him. To set one foot in front of the other and go where He leads. You don’t necessarily get to know the destination. (Hebrews 11:8-10)
- Once God calls you, He doesn’t take it back. Whatever good things He has planned for you to do, He will accomplish. No amount of failure on your part can cancel out what He has already predetermined. (Ephesians 2:10, Romans 11:29)
- Your calling will be closely related to your deepest sorrows and burdens. Those hard things are the very things that prepare you for the good things He has planned for you to do. I have to admit, I would sometimes prefer this were not the case. I would like a “prettier” story, a less messy assignment… But I have watched in awe as God has taken the ugliest moments of my life and made something beautiful out of them for His redemptive purpose. It gives me hope that there is literally NOTHING He will not redeem if we put our stories in His hands. (James 1:2-4)
Rest assured, friends, that your calling is more than a teary walk down an aisle at youth camp. It is more than the job you go to every day, or the job you wish you had. You can’t miss it. You can’t outrun it. Just set out after Him. The calling is simply to follow the Caller. One step at a time.