Thursday, November 04, 2010

The Call

We are submerging ourselves deep into evangelical Christian jargon here when we talk about that often mystical concept of "The Call," but it's an important concept to many of us who genuinely want to do what God wants us to do with our lives.

Obviously much of what God desires is crystal clear in the Bible. Books have been written about it. What sticks in my mind is a bit of alliteration made popular by John MacArthur I think...God wants us to be saved, sanctified, Spirit-filled, suffering, saying thanks and...serving maybe!

If we master that list, well, probably the rest just sort of falls in place. Except when it doesn't. Because sometimes it feels like our life is in standby, or that God has forgotten about us. We've all been there, and maybe are there now. Hey God! I'm here! What do you want me to do? What is my call? All of us are so very different in how we go about figuring out these questions.

The Call is not unlike so many other life pursuits. How many times have I had to "re-learn" certainly paperwork issues, like getting a passport renewed, or how to repair something "simple" with my car or computer. Two key concepts jump out.
1. You never completely understand the details of your purpose, otherwise you could quit living my faith and wouldn't need God (some people who reach 40 start to do this, by the way)and
2. Hindsight is 20/20, but when you're in the process, God's call might not be so clear. That's o.k., by the way.

The best Christian book that I've found on this subject is Os Guinness's The Call, Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life. In the first chapter, he says many things that resonate deeply with me, and perhaps with you. "We desire to make a difference. We long to leave a legacy. We yearn, as Ralph Waldo Emerson put it, 'to leave the world a bit better.' Our passion is to know that we are fulfilling the purpose for which we are here on earth." p. 1

He continues on page 3. "Deep in our hearts, we all want to find and fulfill a purpose bigger than ourselves. Only such a larger purpose can inspire us to heights we know we could never reach on our own. For each of us the real purpose is personal and passionate: to know what we are here to do, and why."

Consider the other stop caring, stop seeking, stop asking, Although distractions can be entertaining for a while, we know inside we're just fooling around. The ache of purpose will return. Look at what I highlighted in the paragraph above... "the real purpose is personal and passionate."

This deep-seated desire can be seen everywhere, from the high-school grad who enlists in the Army, to the almost retired faithful Christian who decides to be an elder in his church (my dad). Why do we complicate our lives? Why do we, the Fry family, passionately recruit college students every summer? To make life easier? Hardly. To make life more vibrant, as we seek to achieve together what we could not do alone. I love a trout stream, but I cannot live my life there. Those times only become precious because they are retreats from the sometimes agonizing, sometimes intensely discouraging, but always full of purpose-driven "real" life.

I'm thinking of a great girl that we know from MBI who thought she would get married at Moody and is wondering how that's all going to work out, when married life will begin, etc... It's easy for those of us who have been married for a while to forget those difficult times of wondering what God has for you.

Ok, what's the secret? Well, it's no secret, it's actually quite known, but easy for us to forget. The phenomenal truth that constantly pumps life into us, or should, is that God loves us. Intensely. Intimately. The Creator created us, specifically, with all our foibles and quirks and passions and intellect. He has a plan for us, He is our plan for us.

I remember a gal who visited us here several years ago. Her name is Alyssa. She graduated from college and had an executive position all lined up at Target. She confessed that she loved her blue power suit entrance into an executive setting. Where is she now? In Costa Rica, studying Spanish with her husband. Not sure what the next step is. Living by faith.

It's easy to talk about living by faith, a whole nuther ballgame to actually do it! But in my interaction with Alyssa, it is abundantly apparent that she would do it all over again. Purpose, meaning, life, passion are greatly enhanced by other concepts, concepts like faith, risk, uncertainty and obedience.

What's your "call." If you're not sure, that's ok, you'll figure it out, as long as you really want to!

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