Today I wish to direct your attention to a post by Tim Suttle about calling. Suttle blogs at Paperback Theology.
Suttle is responding to an article in Relevant Magazine entitled “3 Big Myths About Calling: Ideas to avoid when figuring out what to do with your life“. While he considers much in the Relevant article to be helpful, he pushes back against some of the major assumptions which underlie much of evangelical talk about calling. One of these is the idea that discovering one’s calling is all about getting in touch with one’s true self. Not so. The true self is not some thing which dwells deep inside of you and which you have to dig out by focusing inward to get in touch with it. Instead, the self is something which exists in community, in relation to other selves. The self cannot be isolated from community without destroying the person. Thus, discovering one’s calling is not about getting in touch with one’s “true self”, it is about getting involved in community and letting them walk with you through the process, and trusting the guidance of the Holy Spirit along the way.
Another assumption is that calling is a place of freedom. Not so. Calling is a place of obligation. Jeremiah embraced his calling as a prophet to rebellious Israel, and it cost him dearly. Jesus sweat drops of blood while praying earnestly for a calling which did not involve a Roman cross. Calling is not about personal fulfillment, it is about the kingdom of God and about joining in with that kingdom the same way Jesus did, through cross and resurrection. Jesus calls us to die to ourselves, including our need to experience personal fulfillment in this life.