One of the most common questions I get asked in spiritual direction is, “How do I know God’s call for me?” So often we are looking for a quick answer and magic bullet to this question. There is not a quick answer to this question, because when it comes down to it, it takes time to discern God’s call for us. It is a discovery well worth our time, though. Let’s look at a few key starting points.
Prayer anchors our discovery of knowing God’s call for us. It is hard to know God’s call for us if we do not know the One who is calling. The first call we come to discover, then, is the invitation into relationship with the One who calls. Daily prayer in our inner chapels is about being with God and coming to discover the beautiful promises given to us through that relationship—promises such as how we are uniquely created, formed, chosen, and called.
Prayer helps us not only to know God, but also to notice God’s work in our lives. It also makes us aware of how God’s call for us happens in our day-to-day lives. I often invite people to begin naming their calls by noticing whom God has already put in their lives to love. Part of our call is to be the hands and feet of Christ to those right in front of us. While we each have a unique set of gifts that God gives us to use in the world, we also have a unique set of relationships that are a vital piece of how we are called to live out our relationship with God in the world.
As a spiritual director once reminded me, no one else can be my children’s mom besides me; no one else is my parent’s daughter but me; no one else is my brothers’ sister or my grandparents’ granddaughter, and on and on. My spiritual director invited me not to miss God’s daily call to love those in my life well and to carry a bit of the Good News into my daily relationships. This expanded my understanding of God’s call for me into my day-to-day life, realizing it was not all a far-off search into the unknown.
What about you? Who are you in relationship with right now? Who is God calling you to uniquely love and bring an aspect of the Good News to each day?
Accepting Our Gifts
Noticing not only who we are called to love but also what our gifts are helps us know God’s call for us. Often, I invite people to look back over their lives and name their natural gifts. We each have unique gifts given to us by God that invite us to bring an aspect of the Gospel out into the world. When people look back over their lives, they might notice their natural gifts have to do with numbers, math, spreadsheets, and data analysis. Others will see they are drawn to creating new ideas and birthing them into life. Others might see they have a gift for taking complicated ideas and breaking them down for others to understand. Some thrive on keeping order and being organized. This list could go on and on. Once we can name and accept our God-given gifts, we can offer them to God for God’s use. When we name a gift in our life, we point it to God by asking God the simple question, “What do you want me to do with this gift?”
Knowing God’s call for us begins with getting to know the One who calls. It expands with noticing who is already in our life to love. Our understanding of God’s call for us strengthens with accepting our gifts and offering them to God for God’s use.