Confession #88: The Fear/Peace of Being Called: A Guest Post
I recently asked a friend of my to guest post on my blog. As a current senior in college, she reminds me so much of myself. Feeling called to Haiti, searching for answers, and knowing beyond a doubt that God is calling for radial obedience- she is walking in my former footsteps right now. Even down to her fears- her fears that were once (and in many ways still are) my own. Rejection. Failure. The opinions of others. Nasty little fears that are not of God.
I’ve been talking a lot to my friend lately- encouraging her, sharing my story and my struggles, and praying alongside her while she seeks for God’s will for her life. When I was her age, God spoke His answers to me as I wrote. And so I asked my friend to do the same. Write about what it looks like in your life to just know that you know!
Perhaps you have already discovered your calling. Perhaps you are walking through the same questions and doubts as my friend. Either way, her message is beautiful and speaks to all. Enjoy…
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If you were to ask me about a month ago, “Where are you going to be after college?” I would have nicely made up a perfect little story that I thought you wanted to hear. Why, you might ask? I am one of those people: a people pleaser. Like many of you, I am sure, I like to know that I am accepted, my dreams are approved, and my actions are affirmable. I sway from time to time trying to act like it doesn’t matter, but ultimately, I fear rejection. I fear that my dreams will be rejected, that my words will be scrutinized, and that I will hurt the people I am closest to by taking action. It’s not a good day unless I know that the people I interact are happy with what I do, say, or accomplish. My thoughts, interactions, and dreams, are mostly all about pleasing the people all around me. I am a people pleaser, but I am slowly learning to fully accept that God will be the indicator of my happiness and success, not the standards of this world. And I dare to dream until my calling becomes reality.
On a typical day these are the thoughts that run through my head…
What am I doing with my life?
Is this really where God is calling me?
Is this my own selfish desire?
What will people think?
I am being so silly; I know what I am supposed to do.
I have lied awake for countless nights, daydreamed through countless days, and mapped out several different plans of what I imagine my life would look like if I decided to live out my dream- to live and teach overseas in Haiti. For a while, I avoided it; I put these thoughts on the back burner and went about my daily routine. It wasn’t until a month ago that I really began to take this seriously. I mustered up the courage and sent Jillian a Facebook message, seeking advice. (Side note-If you don’t already know, Jillian is so encouraging, intelligent and a wonderful woman of God. If you ever need some advice or someone to lift you up-she’s your girl.) Jillian responded promptly to my message and fed me a lot of wisdom. We were able to relate in so many ways and her experience as a missionary overseas has definitely be an encouragement and blessing to me during this time. The constant daydreaming and restless nights have become less of a burden as I seek advice from my friends, mentors, and reading. I turn to God in prayer and He is revealing a lot of exciting and profound things to me during this time. He is showing me what freedom really looks like and how to accomplish peace through His answered prayers.
Recently I read a passage from, Anthing by Jennie Allen:
Freedom isn’t found in rebelling or pretending. Both places bind us tighter. Freedom is found in a person who took care of the buttons we are missing, the places that are scarred in us and stolen from us.
I haven’t been stripped of my dreams, my things, or anything like that, but I am beginning to realize that freedom is the gift that God has given us through His grace. God’s grace and His love is what keeps my head above the waves; I just need to accept it and take care of the things that God has purposely placed in my life so that I can glorify Him through these things. I want to live out His purpose and His calling, but how can I possibly know the exact plan God has mapped out for my life?
What will I be leaving behind to live out my calling?
Will the ones I love the most be on board 100%?
If they aren’t, will that be okay?
These are questions that come up on a daily basis. Even with all of these unanswered questions I am finding peace in God’s faithfulness each day by lifting these anxieties to Him.
When I recently began to question my desires a friend told me this, “These kinds of desires aren’t selfish. If God has anything to do with them, they are His desires too. If you are passionate about teaching overseas and find peace in it, God has given you that passion.” This encouragement has stuck with me and I am so thankful that I can rest on these thoughts and know that God gives us these desires to live out, pursue, and glorify Him through. When you accept this, like I have, and find peace in His plan, that is where the real freedom begins.
As Jillian and I conversed over Facebook, she recommended that I read, Restless by Jennie Allen. If you are in a place where you are unbelievably confused, restless, and in need of some direction, I highly recommend you read this! The scripture that Jennie Allen uses to convey her message, has given me direction, encouragement, and the peace to allow God to move rapidly in my life and reveal His calling for me.
For so long I have avoided my calling, my gift, and by doing this I have learned I am denying God. This passage from Restless has convicted me in the midst of my avoidance:
To hide our gifts or to deny them, or to compare them and wish them away is not only taking from God, his church, and a world that needs to see expression of God you bring. It’s the expression he designed you to bring to it.
I have been encouraged through this passage to pursue and chase my dreams, not run away from them. I have been encouraged to not only pursue my dreams, but to glorify God through them, and to be an obedient disciple of His truth.
Don’t deny your gifts because it may not be what someone else has in mind for your life; live out your calling. I don’t want you to look back and regret missing an opportunity that God so clearly placed in front of you. Bring the expression and passion that God has designed you to bring into this life. When I say this, I am speaking to myself; let’s break free from the things we have enslaved ourselves to and really get to the bottom of what God desires for our lives.
The freedom I receive when I accept God’s grace and the place He is calling me to be, fills my soul, and lights a fire deep down inside of me that encourages me to chase this dream. It is through much prayer, reading, advice seeking, and a heck of a lot of daydreaming that I have come to peace with where God has called me to be. I have been to Haiti on three different short term missions; all of which have led me to the stage I am in now pursuing His calling. God has used each of these amazing missions to show me through the beauty of His creations and people, that Haiti is where I am called to serve Him. God has used the people of Haiti to draw me to this closer to this amazing place. I see Christ in their beautiful faces, freedom in the way they live, and the opportunity to walk closely with the Lord with the people Haiti.
My peace resides in God and His beautiful handcrafted plan for me to live a life devoted to Him. I encourage you to listen to the words God speaks into your life and don’t miss out on the opportunities that God gives you to use your gifts, passions, and dreams to glorify His name. Listen, pray, and then respond.
“Do not neglect the gift you have…” 1 Timothy 4:14.
Have you ever felt the same way as my friend? Are you currently in her shoes? How do you feel God calling you? What fears do you have?