Perhaps I’ve now found my calling? I work at a Christian university, and last week during the chapel announcements, one of the Resident Educators made known his intentions to begin a small group that lets students explore their calling and ideas of life after college. He began by rhetorically asking students if they had figured out their lives yet. “No, you haven’t?” he responded dryly. “Pity; everyone else has. Turn to your left and to your right, and all those seated nearby indeed have their futures all worked out. So this group is just for you, since you’re the only one who hasn’t figured it out yet.” My co-worker and I turned to each other and joked that we should go find out what out what we apparently should have figured out in college.
In all seriousness, though, I’ve never really known what my calling is. In high school, I heard God calling me to minister to teen girls by encouraging younger girls around me at school and church. I didn’t know if that meant I was one day to do this full time in a paid ministry position or as a weekend youth volunteer. While I have not received a specific life call to ministry, I’ve been a youth sponsor and Sunday School teacher for many years now. I am confident in knowing this is something that I am called to do (a story for another post; I love sharing how God has a sense of humor and nudges us in the direction He calls us to go). It’s a rare testimony to see a single 20-something volunteering youth ministry. To give of myself and my time while I’m young and single has been a unique yet unmistakable calling to this season of life.
I want to encourage teens that it’s worth waiting for God’s plan – His plan for college (or not), whom do date, what to do with said date, how to progress a relationship, how to marry Mr. Wonderful, my dream career, ministry opportunities, a place to live, children, and so forth. I have learned that my ways just cause problems for my life. But I also know it’s hard to wait for God to bring me my husband. And then I think, what if He never does? Can I really surrender my biggest dream over to God’s will? Could I serve God by myself without a most wonderful, godly, attractive man? What if I’m supposed to be single forever?
That’s a lot to explore: our culture says that you’re nobody until somebody loves you. (Thank you, crooners). Well-meaning friends tell me that I’ll be a quite a catch for some lucky guy that God is still preparing, and my default response is, “Thanks; I hope so.” Cynicism begins to rise in me. Guys, I’m still alone. So if I’m always single, then am I worth anything? Am I treasured? Loved? Of any value to anyone? A contributing member of society? Is it even worth me bothering to keep on living?
But God does not value us based on what we do or who we’re with. No, He values you because He made you. He is the One who gives you your unique value, and I think He had fun making you like no one else. To Him, you are priceless, never-endingly popular with Him, highly sought out every single day to be His friend, and accepted without a doubt. It’s a radical way to look at yourself. You’re not valued because your friends are popular or because your boyfriend has been deemed one of the top hotties of the school and looks good while throwing a ball. No, you are valuable because the King of the Universe says so. Just cuz. He speaks, and so thus you are. And that is all you need.
Is this hard to believe? Think about it: what is popular just because someone “important” says it is? The [name any group of athletes] team members like [fill in something from pop culture], and so everyone in the school does. The [insert label here] group overuse a catch phrase, so everyone does. Some random person you’ve never met before posts this amusing video on the YouTube, your friend shares it with you and ten friends, your friends watch it over your shoulder before you re-share, and before seventh period, everyone is imitating it: (over)quoting lines, dumping ice buckets on their heads, making competing videos just like it, etc. Eight hours ago, you had never heard of this. Your life was complete…until you were enlightened of just what you’ve been missing. Isn’t most advertising based upon this principle? I’m pretty sure we’ve mastered the joining the bandwagon thing pretty well by now.
So why is it so hard for us to grasp that God values and treasures us? Perhaps we start to grasp the sheer size of having a relationship with the Creator of the Universe and don’t feel worthy. Why would God choose me? I’m nothing special – I don’t even think I’m anyone special! Perhaps we discover that we’re searching out instant gratification. Practically everything in our lives is available on demand. Without great amounts of effort, even the depressed and lonely can find someone online who surely will stop them from feeling poorly about themselves, but a relationship by faith with a God we can’t see? That seems like a lot of work without tangible results. No one will understand, and I’ll get a label that I’m not sure I’m ready to sign up for.
But God stops the show, changing the whole course and throwing in elements we never could have dreamed up. Ladies, let’s dare to put aside our doubts and fears. What God has done in the past, He will do again. My pastor used to preach on passages of Scripture that suddenly changed directions with the words that announce God is on the scene and moving: “But God…”
- Genesis 8:1 – But God remembered Noah and all the animals that were in the ark
- Genesis 17:18-20 – But God still intended to give Abraham a son through Sarah as promised, who was old and barren, and even after Abraham took matters into his own hands, God would bring blessings
- Genesis 45: 1-8 – But God sent Joseph ahead of his brothers to preserve the family-God’s chosen people
- 1 Chronicles 28:1-8 – But God would have David’s son, Solomon, be the one to build the temple for Him
- 2 Chronicles 20:14-16 – But God is the One in charge of this battle, not the multitude of enemies
- Psalm 73:14-28 – But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever, regardless of the prosperity of the wicked
- Luke 16:14-15 – But God knows the heart and detests that which is highly esteemed in the sight of men
- Acts 2:23-24 – But God raised Jesus after the godless put Him to death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power
- 1 Corinthians 1:26-30 – But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong
- 1 Corinthians 3:6 – But God is the One causing the growth, and not those who plant and water in ministry
- Ephesians 2:1-7 – But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our sins, made us alive together with Christ
We serve a God who does not change, a God who insists on pouring Himself into loving us. Shall we give God a chance to prove Himself?