Calling. Until about 3 weeks ago I got really hung up on that word.
What is my calling? Am I living it out? Did I miss it?
I believe that in the Christian world there is a undeniable pressure that we need to find our calling, seek it out and then once we find it, we have to operate in it and then that’s all there ever is to do. To be honest, it could be Christian culture or it could be something I’ve formulated in my head over the last 31 years of my life.
Being a missionary in Haiti it would appear as if I’ve found it! My calling! I’ve found the thing I was made for. People would tell me all the time, “Elizabeth you were made for this.” I appreciated their comment but wondered to myself, so if this is my calling, is there anything “next” or is this it? This also began to explain the guilt I was starting to feel at the thought of one-day possibly leaving Haiti. How could I leave my calling? Wouldn’t that be failure? How could I possibly walk away from my calling?
Three months ago, I came back to the United States to work at the Mission of Hope offices in Austin, TX. It was a crazy adjustment and still is. I decided that I wanted to do something that could be considered weak and something that would label me as broken, but I knew it didn’t matter what people thought, that this was something I needed to do. I decided to go to counseling. I had no idea what to expect. I had no idea that it would change my life forever. As we sat and talked about my life and my past, my hopes, my fears and my dreams, it began to be obvious that my perspective on my life was rather skewed. It was very easy for me to see my faults and flaws but it was a challenge to acknowledge the things that I excel at and do well. With an in-depth personality and core value test, things began to rise to the surface. There began to be a common theme in all the past experiences of my life. Work. School. Church. Family. This theme of administration began to connect the dots to all of it. When I locked eyes with my counselor and he uttered the words, “Elizabeth, do you believe that your calling is administration?” it wouldn’t compute. My mind raced with different “callings” that were familiar to me; teacher, pastor, doctor, missionary, mother, accountant, manager, housekeeper. I repeated these thoughts to my counselor and with a small half smile, he said, “Elizabeth, those aren’t callings, those are assignments.” For the next five or so minutes, he began to unpack this new revelation. He recounted my years in 24/7, my work in the restaurant world, my time at the tax office, the leadership positions at church and now, working as a missionary in Haiti. He said, “Elizabeth, you have an unbelievable gift and the Lord has created you in such a way that you can organize and process like not many others I’ve ever met and in all these different life experience you’ve shared with me, it is evident that the Lord has placed you in different assignments to the make the most of your calling.”
This huge rush of relief washed over me. Warm tears streamed down my face. My calling wasn’t something I needed to find and seek out, it was something the Lord had already strategically placed inside of me. He had given me my calling and all I had to do was walk in the strength and giftings he had given me. My calling was something that would be inside me for the rest of my life and all I had to do was faithfully live it out one assignment at a time. The freedom of realizing that I would never miss my calling or accidentally walk away from it was like a deep breath filling every bit of space in my lungs, slowly exhaling to let it really take over and settle in.
It may not have as nice of a ring to it, but my calling is administration! And no matter what the assignment might be; student, restaurant manager, office assistant, small group leader or missionary in Haiti, my calling will always be present. And no matter where life might take me; wife, public speaker, mother, business owner, it will always be another amazing assignment that I have been blessed to live out.