5 Things To Do When You’re Frustrated in Your Calling
This post was guest written by a member of our Revelry Church community! We hope it encourages you and helps you find answers when you are frustrated in the path your life is taking, the gifts you have been given, and just how to find your voice and purpose in a world of so many options that are competing for what you have to offer.
“I was 19 years old when I realized spoken word poetry was my calling. I stepped up to a microphone at a conference in Pittsburgh, knees shaking, and spoke words I had poured out on paper months prior. It was exhilarating. It was one of those few moments when you just know God is going to use you to reach people for Christ. In that moment - my Divine purpose on this earth was revealed.
Fast forward a few months. I found myself doubting and unbelievably distraught because I felt as if I had misheard God. I had found myself in the biggest creative slump of my life. I couldn’t write a single word let alone given an opportunity to share my words on a platform. If I was honest, I was no longer using my gift to praise God; I was using it to receive notoriety and adoration. I had lost sight of the gift, and I took God’s silence as God taking the gift away.
Callings are a beautiful thing. Being “called by God” from a Biblical perspective is multi-faceted. The Greek word for calling - “kaleo” - means to be invited into something, specifically a Divine call to partake of the blessings of redemption. We are ultimately called to belong to Christ and to participate in His redemptive work in the world. So God may “call you” to a specific job, skill, or area of expertise that you can utilize to bring Heaven to Earth. In a nutshell, callings are the very method God uses in His children to reach the broken world. They are by nature a demonstration of God’s grace; that the Creator of the Universe would choose to bless humankind with a passion in which they will show others the good news of Jesus. Some spend most of their life just trying to figure out by what gifting they will use to change the world and some are blessed to know that calling. But like I did, some lose sight of the purpose of their calling.
You are not your calling.
Your value does not come from what you do but rather by Whose you are.
Far too often we find ourselves equating our gift with our worth - if we aren’t impressing thousands with our gift then we feel we aren’t really doing much of anything. I had it in my mind that because God wasn’t giving me words anymore, He had taken away the gift for good and gave it to another faithful believer. But this is so far from the truth. Romans 11:29 says “for God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable.” God’s isn’t a liar. He doesn’t just give us a gift and snatch it away. I believe that God wants to constantly remind us that it is a gift from Him, not a fruit of our own labor. So in my experience, when I became boastful and stopped writing for Jesus but wrote for my ego instead, I just couldn’t write. God didn’t take away my gift, but my pride definitely blinded me from it. But what’s so beautiful about God is that He still desires to use us despite us and He does it in His perfect timing. Even though we may wholeheartedly believe that God is faithful to use us, frustration in the waiting may still exist.
This all being said… what do you do when you find yourself frustrated in your calling?
1. Be patient.
You can’t expect your gift to reach its full potential overnight. Forcing progress will only produce fruit that are premature, shoddy, and frankly... bitter. Wait on God to give you opportunities and I promise you that He will open the door when you least expect Him to. And it won’t be a result of you “earning it.”
2. Be willing to learn.
The best test of your pride is this: do you get annoyed when others with a similar gifting to you experience success? Ouch, that hurts. Your gifting is not the same as your calling. Just because someone is gifted in the same way you are, it does not mean they have the same calling as you. Only you have the capacity to influence your specific community during this specific time with your specific gift. Instead of becoming jealous of others, humble yourself and realize you have something to learn from those who have tirelessly labored in your shared craft.
3. Stop comparing yourself.
You will burn out in no time if you constantly measure your progress with someone else's. It can take years to be given an opportunity or a platform; may we never envy others who have been blessed with one when we haven’t. Look at it this way: Jesus didn’t begin His public ministry until He was 30 years old. Now that is Man who He didn’t need to claw for the spotlight because He was confident in what God had called Him to do.
4. Stir up the gift.
2 Timothy 1:6 says: “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you...” In Greek, to “stir up” means to rekindle the fire. Even if you feel like all you have are embers, rekindle the coals of your gifting. Tend your gift like a newly budded plant. Sow time and energy into it and watch it mature and blossom.
5. Remember - it isn’t about you.
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” Ephesians 4:11-12. Our gift exists to build up and encourage the Church. Your gift was given to you so you could show others who Jesus is. Never believe the lie that your gift exists to get you famous or earn you praise. If you do receive fame from your gift, then obviously God wants you to use that platform in the public eye in a significant way. But in everything, may your gift always point to the Gracious Gift-Giver.
God is so faithful to use us when we allow Him to. He will use our gifts and talents to bring Him glory and demonstrate the love of Jesus to so many people around us. You don’t need a huge platform or following to affect the Kingdom of God; you need only a willing heart that is in full surrender to God’s will. Even if your calling seems far far away, it is right in the palm of your hand. Use your paintings, your sermons, your poetry, your hospitality, your empathy, your songs, your gift to demonstrate to the world how God has so dearly loved us.