I had been on three mission trips before my 17th birthday. My daddy took me to Indonesia when I was 13. Then, he took me to Cambodia when I was 15. Then, I went to Chicago when I was 16. Then, last year, right around this time of the fall, during a church service at Bethlehem Baptist, I felt some unusual clarity on what I am actually supposed to do with my life. I got a “calling” to missions.
I had been considering going overseas as a missionary for some time when this “calling” came. I don’t want to make “calling” sound like something mystical and vague. Honestly, it was a very simply moment for me. I was sitting in the church service and listening to John Piper preach on overseas missions. At the end of the sermon, he said something to this effect: “If you have felt a pull toward missions overseas, I want you to come forward and we are going to pray that God would give you clarity for how you are going to pursue this passion that he has placed in you.” I didn’t go forward that day, but as the whole congregation prayed over the people who did go forward, I was suddenly struck with the thought, “Zoey, this passion you have for people, language, and other cultures is not a haphazard mix of talents and hobbies–it’s from me. You have the freedom to pursue that.”
The way I write it is much more articulate than how the moment actually happened. But that doesn’t change the validity of it. So, I’m called to “missions.” And I’m going to college to learn how to be a writer. These don’t seem to fit. What next?
My academic advisor once pointed out something important about the meaning of “calling.” In the dictionary, there are two prominent definitions for calling:
- a strong inner impulse toward a particular course of action especially when accompanied by conviction of divine influence
- the vocation or profession in which one customarily engages
I think, as Christians, we often define “calling” this way: “The exact career that God has planned out for my life.” We talk about calling as if we can miss it. This is an incredibly irreverent view of God’s omnipotence (“unlimited power”). If we are his children, and he truly loves us as much as the Bible claims, he will not present us with opportunities to “miss out” on his calling for our lives. In fact, we can rest in the knowledge that as we engage in a life connected with God, everything we do will be part of our calling. Your calling is happening now.
So, I’m called to missions, but who says I can’t do that in writing?