5 Good Reasons Not To Answer Your Calling

A few months ago when I was arranging for these summer guest posts (by the way, aren’t we so proud of me for planning ahead?) I was thrilled when Melissa generously offered to contribute her words. I know personally how difficult it can be to keep up with our own projects, so I don’t take it for granted when other writers go out of their way to collaborate. Also, yay for a new friend! I connected with her writing style right away because she’s got just enough sass and humor to keep things interesting. I knew she’d fit right in over here, so please make sure you head over to her website when you’re done reading this and check it out.

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Once I was a bridesmaid at a fancy wedding at a fancy country club. I had no business in this place but I loved my friend so much and I committed to her so I wore that periwinkle taffeta with a smile as pinched as my shoes. I ran to the restroom before the ceremony because fancy makes me nervous. Afterwards, I grabbed a cool drink and took a quick stroll by the pool.

I noticed some admiring glances from inside and it made me feel beautiful and confident. Smiling coyly, I tucked my hair behind my ear to let everyone know I was cool with the attention. As it turns out, some sweet older lady let me know the back of my dress was tucked up into my pantyhose.

I bless that woman to this day.

Hiding in the bathroom for the rest of the night was the only logical thought I had but the bride kept calling to me from the other side of the door. The sound of my precious friend’s sweet voice made me have to think hard about things. There were many reasons why I could’ve stayed perched on the commode fussing over my pride like a brand new baby.

But…I was really only there for one reason.

And I also really wanted to dance.

The feelings I had the night of that wedding remind me a lot about how it feels to do what God calls us to: a little naked, vulnerable, and sometimes foolish and drafty.

While I can think of many reasons to just not answer the call, I’ve only listed five here. If you’ll keep reading to the end? I’ll give you just one on why it’s worth everything you’ve got.

  1. It’s hard. People often say that anything in life worth doing right is going to be hard. I don’t believe this. Eating ice cream is not worth nothing, is it? To this, I just say the two words that always preceded a sure spanking if I lost my teenage mind and sassed my mamma: So what? It’s hard to do hard things. That’s why they’re called hard. The pain in doing things that are not easy is often the sharp carving of our hearts to look more like Jesus so our calling points directly and only back to Him. Sometimes we want to feel surprised that following God is more like a marathon and less like a nap. First, He made our hard choices known as a plain fact (John 16:33). He also promised it will be worth it. And while there will be some days that chasing God’s voice might feel as difficult as eating ice cream? There will be others that will be more like copying the entire Bible legibly with your opposite writing hand. The good news? God usually follows this up with more ice cream. Even better news? In chasing God’s voice, He is always found. And He is ever and always worth more than difficult.
  2. People might look at you. Back in my day before sports utility trucks were invented and New Kids on the Block were still in their cribs, six kids would have to pile into the one back seat of a powder blue 1975 Oldsmobile. Body heat and tempers would steadily rise like a thermometer on a Texas sidewalk. On more than one occasion, I might be taking in the fast-moving countryside out of the nearest window when my brother would bellow, “Mom! She’s looking at me!” Turning to look at him, perplexed, he would scream again, “She’s doing it again! Make her stop!” I began to notice a pattern early on: whether or not I was looking at him, he thought I was looking at him. This just drove him so cracked-out crazy nuts he forgot about anything else. What exactly does this have to do with your calling? I’ll tell you what I mouthed at my brother once when I was looking at him and what I tell myself on the regular: get over yourself. This run is so much less about us and more really and only about God so we just have to remember where to fix our eyes, even if we think people might be looking at us.
  3. You’re busy. Seriously?
  4. It’s going to cost a lot of things. In terms of risk analysis, pursuing your calling could be considered a poor bet. It’s going to exact a price from your hide that hardly seems worth it in the moments of taking: time, pride, circumstantial happiness, forgiveness, mercy, subscribing blog readers (just for instance), and maybe, sometimes unfortunately, a friend of family member. People are going to see you are a wild and messy person willing to run down the street emotionally naked and vulnerable in the breathtaking belief that answering God’s call is worth the perfect life you always thought you wanted. The problem with the perfect life? It’s always smaller than what God really wants for us.
  5. There are already a lot of people doing what you feel called to. Some days I feel like every person on this planet and all of her children and his cousins all have blogs and are writing books and make weird child birthing jokes when asked to speak at women’s events. On one hand, this isn’t really true. I am a writer so I am with writers and we all write. On the other hand, don’t we know that we are all actually doing the same thing if we are answering any sort of call from God? Sometimes when I get worried about feeling singular and special in my space while doing my thing? First, I check my motive. #oof. Know what I do next? I read Ephesians 2:10 and remember that I am God’s most carefully crafted love letter to the world…and that makes me feel special again. (Psssst. You are too, you know).

Sometimes I will hear a song on the radio that I can’t not sing to. I will clap my hands and hold a fake microphone and mouth the words through the window at the red light while pointing at scared strangers. In that moment, I feel free and alive and I don’t care about not looking foolish.

My heart just wants to do this thing and my body seems to follow. 

When you were a starry twinkle in God’s eye and He was dreaming about you before He made the earth, He was humming a song. And as He was knitting you together, He was singing softly under His breath and thinking about the specific time and place for which you were made…and how beautifully you would sing right where He put you.

God’s calling is the song He put in your heart.

The reason we answer?

It is to sing God’s song right back to Him. 

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Melissa loves playing with words, digging for beauty in what appears to be a plain moment, and homemade salsa on just about everything. You can find her answering her own call the best way she knows how at melissablair.net.

3 thoughts on “5 Good Reasons Not To Answer Your Calling

  1. Brooke Burgess

    Thank you, Melissa.
    And thank you, sister, for sharing. Great read, and encouraging message. So many reasons not to step out in faith, but nothing compares to abandoning those reasons with reckless discard and trusting in our Creator to know us better than we know ourselves.

    Hallelu.

  2. Wendy

    I love this line: “The problem with the perfect life? It’s always smaller than what God really wants for us.” Okay, I love this entire article! I accidentally texted a rough draft of a something I had written to my sister this week — I was mortified. Not because it was bad, but because the hardest part of writing is thinking that someone you know will read it. I mean, they know me, right? And so I fear they are thinking, “Who is she to write these words?”

    Thanks for sharing these encouraging thoughts. This lady needed them!

  3. Haylie

    Just fantastic. I mean, really. Amber, thanks for having smarty pants friends who get it and can articulate it and for being willing to let them do that on your blog. {I’ll totally be sharing this on my own blog’s Facebook page, fyi! Which is a super big deal because my mom looks at that thing on the regular. So yeah…}

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