As a college senior, I feel an incredible amount of pressure to have my life figured out and to be living out what I was born to do. This is most likely the case for any college student or young adult who may be preparing to face the real world. Society leads us to believe that our lives must be perfect and full of purpose in order to have meaning. I blame social media for this, as that is the main platform people of my generation use to share their so-called perfect lives. Obsessing over what other people are doing in life leads to comparison, which can lead to believing that everyone else has their purpose in life figured out.
Trust God’s Plan to Find Your Callings
Many of us have been told our entire lives to trust in God’s plan, and it’s time for us to start believing that. It’s easy to say, “I trust God, and He has a plan for everything, so there is no need to worry.” But how often do we live life as if we fully believe that? Probably not as often as we should. The psalmist reminds us that God is always listening to us: “I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills His purpose for me” (Psalm 57:2).
We often stress about what great, amazing, groundbreaking thing we are going to accomplish that will give our life meaning. A couple of weekends ago, while out with some friends, a man came up to me and started asking me deep questions that would rarely even cross my mind. He said, “So, what one thing are you going to do in your life that will change the world?” Of course, this question had me at a loss for words. I started to panic because I knew I had to think of something great for this man to believe that I already knew my life purpose at only twenty-one years old.
Meanwhile, he started telling me about his plans to offer free sports programs to kids in the St. Louis area who may be low-income and therefore lacking athletic opportunities. Obviously, I thought his plan was great, but it made me stress out even more about how I was going to answer him. Finally, I made up something on the fly and excused myself. This question, while sending me into an anxious state, also made me think more deeply about our purpose in life. I realized that our lives don’t have to have just one calling. Why can’t we accomplish several great things through God’s plan for us?
God knows our hearts better than anyone else, so He knows what is best for us and how each of us has our own purpose. In Callings for Life, we are reminded to trust God’s plan: “God does not call us and then abandon us. He promises to uphold us in every calling, no matter how difficult it may be” (p. 129). Although we are all sinful people, God is committed to using every person to accomplish many callings in this life.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Live in the Present
When we worry so much about what we are going to do in the future, we forget about living in the present. I know that I am constantly worrying about the future, whether it be long-term or short-term—something is always on my mind. I often find myself worrying about the future (or past) so much that I forget to see all that I can do right now. The minute we stop worrying about the future is when we can start to see God’s purpose for us now. Callings for Life again reminds us that “God bestows countless blessings upon those who live present-tense lives. Not least of these is an awareness that He, through His grace, is already at work through us” (p. 45, emphasis in original). Jesus came to earth, suffered, and died in our place to pay for the times we fail to achieve God’s purpose in our lives. By Baptism, we receive Jesus’ perfect righteousness and presence every day of our lives. This means that no one has to wait to begin a life of love and service. Even when you may think that your time or opportunity has passed, there is no limited timeline on callings, which means your purpose in life can begin now.
Ways to Recognize Your Callings through God
There are plenty of easy ways we can find our purpose through Him. Starting our “callings journey” right now with smaller tasks could eventually lead to something huge later on. Things you can do every day include educating yourself on God’s Word and how to use it, being more self-aware, strengthening your faith, using social media to bring light to God’s Word, and making it known that you are willing to help anyone in need. Especially during these nationally tough times, it is important that we step up and begin to work on our purpose through God’s Word and to trust in His plan. Even the smallest act could mean the world to someone else.
The next time I am asked what I want to do in life to change the world, I will no longer say something I don’t mean. I can confidently say that my purpose in life is to always be kind, continue to strengthen my faith, spread the Word of God, be available to those in need, and be a good friend and an even better daughter of the King. Through all of that, I will trust God to lead me through all my callings. That is how I can change the world and make it a better place, and you can too!
Quotations from Callings for Life: God's Plan, Your Purpose copyright © 2020 Jeffrey Leininger. Published by Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved. Scripture: ESV®
Take a moment to examine all of the different ways God is calling you to live out your life according to His plan in Callings for Life.