“The confidence of my calling enables me to overcome every difficulty without shame, for I have an intimate revelation of this God. And my faith in him convinces me that he is more than able to keep all that I’ve placed in his hands safe and secure until the fullness of his appearing.”2 Timothy 1:12 TPT
Conflict stirred within as I attempted to blend into the audience. The secret struggles in my heart felt exposed as the conference speaker addressed the crowd. Midway through the sermon, she declared, “There are frozen callings in this congregation.” The weight of that statement hit my spirit like bricks.
No, Lord, I whispered. I can’t hope any longer for things that never come to pass.
God spoke softly in return, I will be with you. It’s time to take your calling off the shelf.
Two years prior, I had packed away my ministry dreams. Ambitions of public speaking, teaching the Bible, and writing books drove me to push past God’s timing. I felt ready to walk into my purpose, but the doors of opportunity were locked. There were no invitations for me to speak, and the remains of a manuscript sat on my hard drive. Proverbs 13:12 illustrated my hurt: “When hope’s dream seems to drag on and on, the delay can be depressing” (TPT). Frustrated and wounded by the appearance of a missed calling, I boxed up the pain in my heart.
From my chair at the conference, I felt the Lord prompt me to respond in prayer. I watched others make their way to the front. It was a short distance to where they were standing, but it felt like a mile in my heart. I sat in my seat and wrestled between responding to God and fear of failure. The desire to follow God finally outweighed my hurt, and I rose from the chair. Leery of trusting my grief to the Father, I knelt and prayed, You’re going to have to do it. I can’t make things happen on my own. The pain poured out as tender tears dripped to the carpet.
Oh good. We can start then, I sensed the Lord respond with open arms. His gentle grace washed over my wounds. It was time to defrost my dreams.
Book deals and speaking engagements didn’t flood my inbox. However, preparation for fulfilling my purpose started immediately. The next day of the conference, I met a writing coach who facilitated my journey as an emerging author. Within a short time, God created connections with seasoned ministers who invested in my calling. Puzzle pieces in my life began to shift. My husband took a work-from-home job that allowed for travel flexibility. Other schedule requirements disappeared, which permitted more time to write and speak. God opened doors and steadied my steps as I gripped his hand in obedience.
Years later, I’m drinking a cup of coffee as I write to you. And I hope that you know the freedom and fulfillment of walking hand in hand with God. There might be a yearning in your heart to understand your purpose. Maybe there is a void inside that longs to be filled with accomplished dreams. I hope you hear that it’s time to call out your calling.
With anxious eyes, others often ask me, “How do I find God’s plan for my life?” We all want to know our place. Discovering purpose is a universal desire, but it’s important to remember that our primary role on earth is to love God. Our deepest need is to know him and allow the Holy Spirit access to the private places of our hearts. As we are with the Lord in prayer and in his Word, the Spirit of God reveals our next step. Assignments are handed out through an intimate relationship with Jesus. But instead of asking the big question, What is my calling? try asking, God, what are you calling me to do right now? Rather than seeking God for the whole plan, try asking him for your next steps. Obedience to the Lord in this season gives us what is needed for the next one. Whenever we submit to God, we’re successful. Failure is not a finality when we’re following Jesus.
The Bible is filled with people who failed before they first succeeded. Sarah dismissed the idea that God would give her a child but later gave birth to her firstborn son. Moses was called by God to bring his people out of captivity. Before becoming a deliverer, he murdered a man. Forty years later, he was given a second opportunity and led 2.5 million people to freedom. The apostle Paul persecuted Christians before he encountered Jesus. God later used Paul to spread the gospel to two continents and write two-thirds of the New Testament. Despite these people’s failures, God secured their assignments until their maturity matched their purpose. God protected their promise until it was time to be delivered.
Waiting seasons are meant for preparation. God is not being cruel when he withholds a calling. He is equipping you to carry your promise to full term. The words of the apostle Paul offer encouragement in the waiting: “The confidence of my calling enables me to overcome every difficulty…And my faith in him convinces me that he is more than able to keep all that I’ve placed in his hands safe and secure” (2 Timothy 1:12 TPT). Trust in God when your dreams seem delayed. The One who placed them inside you knows the proper time for fulfillment. Reject the lies that say you will lose your promise while you’re waiting.
Fear of failure, regret of lost time, and shame of sin all want to cancel our callings. If we’re not careful, we’ll believe their lies. They sell slander, such as You’re not good enough for this, You’ve missed your opportunity, and You’re going to have to earn forgiveness first. Friend, those lies are not for you. God is the author of time and redeems it in your favor. No magnitude of sin measures up to his grace. All of God’s goodness is made available on your behalf.
Dare to unbox hidden callings and defrost frozen dreams. The Lord can keep them safe from harm until the appropriate time. Stay by Jesus, and he’ll deliver you to your destiny. The rest of Proverbs 13:12 explains the feeling of a hope fulfilled, “When at last your dream comes true, life’s sweetness will satisfy your soul” (TPT). Accomplished callings are like sunshine to a weary heart.
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