Have you ever felt like you were just meant to do something? Like you were created perfectly for a certain job or maybe a specific sport? Or have you ever been watching someone do their thing and thought to yourself that they were just “born to do that”? I worked with a few men like this on the Dallas Fire Department who often made me question whether they could ever be happy doing anything else. Guys like HH, Strib, and QB just seem like they were created solely to do that job and to do it very well. Some call it being predestined and others say it is a natural ‘bent’. Christians will often use the term ‘calling’ to describe an overwhelming feeling that you are supposed to be doing something specific, as in “I feel like God is calling me into ministry.” That very topic came up this morning when a co-worker pointed over at her son and explained to me that her 5 year old son has already started experiencing this phenomenon. He dropped a bomb on her when he recently let her know that God is calling him to be a ninja. You heard me… a ninja!
My advice to the little karate kid is simply this: answer that call from God! Dude, only a select few get to be ninjas and you have to take advantage of an opportunity like that. Chances are that at some point in his young life he will be called to another line of work, but until then I suggest he put all his energy into ninjaing.
Through personal experience, conversations with many people, and after receiving what I would call wise counsel on the matter, I feel like I have learned a lot over the last couple of years when it comes to this topic. I thought I would share 3 things that I feel we need to consider when we feel called, led, predestined, born for, or bent toward something. So before you run off to start taking ninja classes, consider these things:
1. If you say no to a calling, you will be uncomfortable.
I had a very wise older gentlemen named Jim Newsome tell me that the 2nd most miserable person in the world is the guy that felt called into ministry, but never did answer. He told me this right after I decided to leave my job as a fireman to go into vocational ministry. I appreciate him encouraging me and affirming a decision I made hesitantly. I actually turned the job offer down at one point, but after the initial relief from the stressful decision-making process, I began to feel as if something was constantly tugging at my shirt. It was similar to those times when my youngest son Jackson will pull on my shirt time after time saying, “Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad Dad” until I finally give in and answer him. He gives me that look like had I just answered him in the first place, he wouldn’t have had to say my name so many times. A voice in my head kept telling me “you can’t say no” as if my decision was simply unacceptable. I’m not sure I would’ve ever been completely at ease had I not finally given in to that nagging voice. Is there something that keeps tugging on you? What is it that you just keep feeling like you have to do but haven’t acted on?
2. You can’t create your own calling.
Naturally I had to ask Jim to tell me who the most miserable person in the world was. He retorted with “the guy who wasn’t called into ministry but decided to go for it anyway.” After feeling encouraged by the first half of his little quip, I was now wondering if I would end up being that guy! I went from feeling encouraged to terrified in a matter of seconds.
Let’s face it, as cool as we know it would be, we can’t all be ninjas.It can be painfully obvious when we see people who are clearly not working within their strengths or skill set. If you saw the MVP award presentation after the World Series last week, you know what I mean. Watch the video on the left if you haven’t seen it yet. I don’t share this to insult or degrade Rikk, but I think this viral video shows the level of discomfort that can come with working outside your sweet spot. Not everyone is suited to present awards to athletes in front of MILLIONS of TV viewers. In fact, I bet very few people are comfortable doing that. I think Fox and Chevy created their own calling for Mr. Wilde and it caused him tremendous trepidation. He was set up for failure from the get go and I feel sorry that he was put in that position.
Also under this category, I will include one of my favorite sayings. Don’t do stupid or hateful things in the name of Jesus! I am fairly sure that God will not call you to sell all your possessions and give all of your assets to a televangelist. I am quite certain He is not asking you to protest the funerals of soldiers or to hold up signs that read, “God hates _____!” We should all avoid the temptation to use the ‘God called me’ card to justify our foolish actions.
3. He may call you back later.
Where you are and what you are doing today may look nothing like it will in the future or like it did in the past. Just because you trust your instincts and follow what you feel you are being led to do, you cannot be assured that you won’t be led down a different path later on in life. We have to be open to change and to opportunities as they arise. I honestly believe that God wants to use each of us to be part of His story, but we have to be willing to be flexible as the plot changes and to be open to playing multiple roles. I hope you are willing to answer when some unexpected doors open for you. As for me, I am going to enjoy where I am right now and patiently wait for His next call, hopefully it will include a ninja.
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