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Finding Our Calling

(ROCKWALL, TX — February 9, 2018) When the phenomenon known as American Idol returns to the airwaves in March, hopeful contestants from across the country will set themselves up for either the world’s approval or something much less. Millions of viewers will see some gifted young singers rise to become shining stars while the much greater number of others fade away into relative obscurity.

That extraordinary talent hunt serves as a mirror for those of us who’ve ever craved fame, fortune, beauty (the contestants are outwardly transformed over the passing weeks), and love (in this case, adoring fans). The show serves to confirm that such desires are not uncommon.

Television, social media, and other modern platforms of opportunity allow a select few to achieve their dreams. But many who wish to make their mark in the world will fall victim to society’s motivational mantras: believe in yourself; you can do anything you put your mind to; just follow your dreams. Such half-truths fall short of wisdom.

In his book The Call, author Os Guinness says, “reality reminds us that all the will in the world may not make us what we want to become. When it comes to will power, will is common but power is rare.”

In the quest for a meaningful life, we typically seek to discover our strengths and how to best use them. And this need for significance is not limited to the young; we can experience it with new seasons of life as circumstances alter our options and desires.

Each life is significant in itself, despite our abilities or a lack of them. But if we think our talents are meager, we should consider Jesus’s parable about a master commending those servants who were faithful stewards of the few things he’d given them (Matthew 25:21 – 23).

Author Jon Bloom, co-founder of Desiring God Ministries, says we should not be tempted to think our life is too obscure to leave a mark on the world. “All of us,” he says, “leave indelible marks in the lives of those around us… Our purposeful or incidental interactions and intersections with other people affect the timing of events or ideas or decisions that direct the future trajectory of their lives…. You will change the world, more than you know.”

Guinness says we all receive a general “calling” that relates to our identity and that it’s a faith issue. As God’s creation, the author explains, we have a primary calling to belong to him. Our identity crisis is resolved once we experience becoming a child of God through Christ.

A prayerful entry recorded in St. Augustine’s book, Confessions, contains a poetic line: “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.”

A more specific type of calling relates to work and vocations. However, Guinness warns that, because the world today offers so many choices, we may need to recognize “who we aren’t” before we can discover who we are.

This calling becomes clearer as we respond to God’s guidance. When we desire to follow Jesus by seeking God’s will above our natural desires, our “yes” to him becomes, as Guinness says, “a ‘no’ to the chaos of modern demands.”

The Apostle Paul wrote, “everything comes from [God]; everything exists by his power and is intended for his glory” (Romans 11:36*).

For believers, the journey toward self-discovery can avoid the pitfalls of seeking the world’s approval. The wisdom of God balances us by the reminder that we are only caretakers of whatever gifts we possess.

*Bible verse from the New Living Translation

By Blue Ribbon News faith columnist Patti Richter. Patti lives in Heath with her husband, Jim. She writes and edits Christian faith articles for several publications. Read more of her essays at BlueRibbonNews.com.

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