Wednesday, May 4, 2011

CALLED TO......????

     When I was in college, most of my fellow classmates had a general idea of what they wanted to do with their life, but as time went on, some of them changed their major.  I, however, did not.  I knew that I wanted to train to be a teacher of communications and English.  My inspiration came from a high school teacher whom I admired.  He recognized my strengths and encouraged me to pursue them.
     However, not everyone cheered me on.  I remember a public speaking contest I entered (during my high school days) where one of the judges questioned whether a girl should be an extemporaneous speaker.  He was very negative, and his remarks stung me to the core.  Undaunted, I continued to enter contests and won some awards for my efforts.  Then, my high school principal told my parents that he did not think I could make it in college.  He felt my math abilities were in question.  Personally, I had to agree with that assessment to an extent, but I was determined to go on and prove that I could handle college level work.  I graduated Magna Cum Laude pursuing the dream I had in high school.  With a teaching certificate in hand, I thought I was destined to be a public school teacher, but God had other plans.
     While in post graduate studies at Ohio State University, my fiancee and I became Christians, and that changed the course of our lives.  We were married three months later, and I found myself working in public relations for several years while my husband studied his profession.  Later, I did some radio broadcasting and worked in banking.  I had done everything but teach.
     When our family came along, I stopped all work activities in favor of being a stay at home mother.  It was a blessing to have children and pour my life into theirs.  In fact, God called my husband and I to teach our children at home.  It was an unusual thing to do in those days and the very real prospect of having authorities challenge your right to do this was present.  Despite this, we gave our time and effort for 21 years to this endeavor.  It became clear to me that my training as a teacher was being put to use by God in ways I had not imagined.  As Proverbs 16:9 says:  "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps."
     I have shared this to point out the fact that we may have certain goals in our life that may change as the Lord directs us.  At the time, we may wonder why on earth we ever went to college or why we are stuck in a certain position.  This isn't what WE had in mind.  Nevertheless, as Christians we do not belong to ourselves any longer but we belong to the Lord.  Colossians 3:17 encourages us with these words:  "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."  This means whether we are worshipping the Lord, working at our day job or changing dirty diapers, we are to do it all for the glory of God knowing that it is He who has called us.  We are where He wants us at this point in time.
     Part of our problem is that we want to be at the destination now instead of enjoying the journey that God has set before us.  We all know how it grates on the nerves of parents when their children ask over and over again, "Are we there yet?"  Imagine how that sounds in the ears of God.  Instead of embracing each moment of life that He gives us here and now, we are off worrying about tomorrow.  Oh, what we miss when we fall into this trap.
     Romans 8:28 sums up how God works in our lives:  "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good for those who are called according to His purpose."  He takes all the pieces, segments, training, gifts, talents, circumstances (good and bad) and makes them work together for His glory and our good.  He knows our beginning from our end and He is the finisher as well as the author of our faith.  He is writing the book of our life each day, and not a thing happens to us that He does not know about.  God sees the big picture.  We see only a small fraction.
     Through all the many hats I have worn over the years, I have come to understand that God has given to me a gift of encouragement.  It has been the thread that has been woven through every strand of my life.  I know I am called to use that to be a blessing to others.  It gives me joy and satisfaction like nothing else does when I can be used to help someone else.  But God has given you a precious gift too!  In fact, all who believe are given gifts by God to use for His glory and for the mutual blessing and edification of the saints.  This is the call that rises above our occupation or circumstances.  No matter  where we find ourselves in life right now God can use us if we will do all for His glory using the gifts He has given us.  If you do not know what your gift and calling is, just ask God.  He will show you.  It will be your passion and the motive that drives you.  Once you recognize that gift, that passion, God will guide you in using it wherever you are at this time in your life.

What is your calling and passion?  How is God directing your steps in life?  I welcome your thoughts and ideas.  Blessings!

P.S.  Please visit "The High Calling" blog network.  I have a button to the right here on my blog.  It is a place where there are many writers who share wonderful articles on faith, family, and work.  I participate there as well as a number of my blog friends.


Chris Brauns said...

What a wonderful story! Thanks for sharing this.

Barbara Thayer said...

Thank you Chris! I appreciate your stopping by and visiting. I always enjoy your blog and the things that you share. It is good to connect with other Christians as we seek to encourage one another in the faith. Blessings to you brother!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this reminder. I've always felt a little jealous of the people who knew what they wanted to do right out of highschool, since it's taking me a lot longer to figure it out. But it has been a journey of learning to trust :)

Barbara Thayer said...

Amen Harma Mae! It takes time and each day God unfolds new leaves in our life to show us how He wants to use us. Some will look back as I have and see all that He has done for you along the way and how He has used every event. It is amazing! I promise...just isn't the destination we need to focus on as much as enjoying the journey! Blessings my friend!!!

Patricia said...

Love this, Barbara! So, so true.

Barbara Thayer said...

Thank you Pat...Yes, we are still a work in progress aren't we? Isn't it great that every day is an adventure with God? Who knew that you and I would be homeschool pioneers....or where we would be today? You with your beautiful photography and sweet words and me with my devotions all of us trying to touch others for the glory of God! It is a grand journey indeed!

Christina said...

This was absolutely wonderful! And how true -- man plans but it is God's purposes that prevail! And what a blessed assurance we have as Christians knowing that He is working all things out and that He has ordained every detail of our lives. May we rest in His sovereignty and in HIs providence -- even when we do not understand or even suffer disappointment. He is good and does all things well!!!

Love and blessings my dear sister!

Barbara Thayer said...

How very true Christina. Some times I wonder why the Lord is doing something or having me go in one direction when I want to go in another....but He always works every together for good. We can depend on His providence and complete sovereignty. Gives me so much peace.

Libby said...

Very timely thoughts for me to meditate on. It seems the Lord is bringing me around full circle after a painful yet insightful twelve year journey. Thank you Barbara for your faithfulness to encourage others!