When I was in Kindergarten I had two dream jobs: a UPS truck driver and a Dad. Our UPS delivery man was one of my childhood heroes because he would always deliver gifts from my grandparents. Naturally, I equated UPS with a poor man's version of Santa Claus. My Dad wore Ray-ban sunglasses and could throw a football. I wanted to be that. It may not have made sense to everyone at the time, but I felt like I had struck gold with my vocational combination. At the time, I probably would've volunteered to do both for free.
A popular narrative for people, especially people in my peer group of 20-30 year-olds, is "what will I do with my life?" What's my "calling?" What's my vocation going to be? Many people end up waiting. And waiting. And waiting. All in an effort to try and discern "God's will" for their lives. The thing about waiting indefinitely is that sometimes we just end up taking a dead-end job or a career that we aren’t truly excited for just to pay the bills. I think there is a great importance in praying, waiting, and listening to God but sometimes I think we miss it. We wait so long that we miss opportunities to be serving and doing now. We need to re-learn what listening to God means. Our lives could be overflowing with answers to the question of what our vocation should be but we still miss it because we are waiting for the answer that fits into what everyone we know wants for us.
Scripture: "I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you... In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good." Romans 12:1-2, 6-9.
This scripture leads me to several thoughts. Firstly, I love that all are called and gifted. I love that there is a place in the Kingdom for everyone to serve. Not everyone will be a UPS driver but there is space for everyone's gifting and passions in the Kingdom of God. You don’t need to keep trying to fit into other people’s expectations for you. This verse frees me to be myself, just as God has gifted. Your passions won't make sense to everyone you know, and that's okay.
So to the questions surrounding: what's my calling? I would ask the question: what does your heart break for? If you could think of every need, disease, issue, lack, or void in the world - what do you most want to fill with the Kingdom? What is the one thing that exists in the world that you can’t stand? What’s an organization that is doing good work to fix it? That's your calling.
When I was in kindergarten I never thought I would end up being a youth pastor for a few hundred kids in San Diego but this is where I am after several years of God refining and breaking my heart for what breaks His. If I could, I would do my job for free. I’m not perfect and am continually growing to be a better pastor, leader, and friend but I’m excited to get out of bed. I love helping students and people ask big questions about a bigger God.
Where will you be used in the Kingdom? What does your heart break for? Don't just wait. Jump in. Do something with the passions and compassion God has gifted you. Go serve for an organization that is doing good work. Love others recklessly. Give with abandon. And maybe, just maybe, we will get invited into seeing the Kingdom crashing to earth because you are living out your passions.