Wednesday, November 27, 2019

when your calling isn't your strength

I hear this advice all the time. "Don't know what to do with your life? Look to your interests and your strengths. God gave you gifts and he expects you to use them". I've even been told "you can figure out what God wants you to do by thinking of what you are good at".

I don't know if this advice is biblical or not, but it certainly doesn't apply to my life, or to many of the biblical characters I read about. Moses, for example, was not a eloquent speaker and certainly wasn't gifted in "returning to the scene of where he committed murder and speaking to his adopted brother about freeing all of his slaves". Yet he was called to do so, quiet boldly by the very voice of God out of a burning bush.

So what happens when God calls you to something that isn't a strength? What happens when God has a plan for you life that you are not happy with, and that does not bring you joy or fill you with purpose, and does not use the gifts he gave?

I think God does call us to many things that are not easy and that are not strengths already in our persons. He calls us sometimes to die of cancer. He calls many to be martyred in his name. He has plans and purposes for our lives that break us and drive us to him. And they are not easy, but those things can be our calling and our purpose for him.

God has called me to motherhood. If he had not, he would not have given me children to mother. I love my children, but on the best of days I struggle with feeling inadequate for the task ahead. I already harbor guilt in my heart over past parenting choices--things I wish I would have done different, or guilt from the times I yell at my children. I am exhausted and exist on bad days in a perpetually touched out state. I often struggle with unrealistic expectations, and I long to use my talents in creative endeavors and not feel such a slave to toddlers and hyperactive little boys.

In short, I don't feel at all equipped or called to motherhood. It is a hard grueling climb that forces me to abandon many of the things I love and cling to Christ because he is all I have. Yet I choose motherhood daily because God has called me to it, despite it not being a strength.

My calling right now is to be a mother. To try and be anything else is to abandon God's will for me. Yet it isn't my strength.

Life isn't about ease, it isn't about "Getting what I want" and "using my talents" even if that would bring me the most happiness. Life is about serving God and doing what he wants, and that fact brings me spiritual peace and joy. God is refining me by fire as I do a hard task of trying to follow him while raising strong willed sinners, even with myself still mired in sin. Life is hard, but God is good.

James 1:2-4
"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

Isaiah 55:8-9
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Sometimes your calling in life is not your strength or anything to do with what you might want. I would say that often this is the case, specifically with biblical characters. I mean, Job comes to mind-- what kind of person deserves that kind of suffering or would be equipped to deal with it? Only by the power of God did he make it through, by having faith and trusting in God.

I have faith in God and in his plan for my life and I will cling to him and mother onward.