Amy Carroll » Sharing Deeply » How Do You Know You’re Called to Speak?

How Do You Know You’re Called to Speak?

Note: So sorry for the mis-send about the sale a couple of weeks ago. Administrative error. The sale is coming on Black Friday and Saturday! More info soon.

Calling is a fraught word, isn’t it? It can seem mysterious. Or a word only meant for “special” people.

How can you really know you’re called to speak? I can’t answer that question definitely for everyone, but in the next couple of posts, I’d love to share my personal story that I recorded years ago. I hope it’s an encouragement to you and that it gives you some clarity.

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I had been our church’s women’s ministry director for several years when Barry changed careers, and it looked like we’d be moving. I have to confess that I only prayer-journal sporadically, but I was writing what I was learning and hearing from God during that time. In my listening time, I believed that God was speaking to me about a speaking ministry. I wrote down everything I believed I was hearing, but I still had thoughts like,”What if this is just my own desire?” and “How would this ever come about anyway?”

After our move, I was just sure I must have been mistaken. Not only were there no opportunities to speak, no one even knew me in my new area. I started to despair of ever being used by God again. I slipped into a “funk” that was very close to full-blown depression, and I felt alone and unseen.

One day I was at a true low-point. I had never asked God for a sign before, but that morning I prayed, “God I don’t even know what to ask for, but today I need a sign. ANYTHING that shows me that You see me…that you haven’t forgotten me.” I was hoping for any little thing, like someone inviting me to lunch!

That night I cried myself to sleep, because I hadn’t received any kind of sign.

Two days later, though, I came home, and my answering machine was blinking. I rushed over, happy just to have a human voice on my phone.

The message left me stunned. A woman who I had never met from a church that I had never heard of was asking me to lead their women’s retreat. It was a good thing that I had not answered the phone in person, because I sobbed and sobbed. Not only had God not forgotten me, He was beginning to show me that He really was calling me into ministry.

The next year was full of surprises. God made it clear that my control-freak self would not be orchestrating this ministry. He would open door after door. None were related to another. None were by word-of-mouth. Because each opportunity to speak was clearing ordained by God, it was amazing and affirming.

But at the end of the year, I realized that I needed help. I had gone as far as I could without someone teaching me. My heart’s desire is to communicate God’s character and His gospel with as much clarity and passion as possible, so I began to search.

She Speaks was where I landed. God divinely provided the finances to attend, and I joyfully registered.

If you’ve been here awhile, you know the rest of the story. I applied to be part of the Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker team, and my speaking ministry began to grow slooooowly. Step-by-step God has given me more as He’s equipped me.

Calling hasn’t meant giant steps for me. It has meant opening each door as God has opened them, and though sometimes I’m overwhelmed by the quick progress of those around me, I’m content with the pace of my progress.

Lessons from My Calling Story:

  1. Pay attention to what God’s saying, and write it down. You’ll need the reminder that it’s real when the calling gets hard. (And it definitely will!)
  2. In His sovereignty, God confirms His calling. Although you may be in a wait, you can be sure that He will open doors for your message in His perfect time.

What was your calling experience? Let’s encourage each other with the variety of ways that God confirms our assignment.

~Amy

Note: I’m sure many of you perked up with curiosity when you read about my application to the Proverbs 31 Ministries’ speaker team. Unfortunately, the application process there is closed. Please let me encourage you, though. If God has called you to a speaker ministry, He will equip you to build a ministry and possibly a team. You don’t have to do it alone!

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10 Comments

  1. I had always known from the age of 16 or 17 that I’d write my book (which is now underway) but as a young person with no self-esteem nor any confidence because I always heard messages from my mother (it was her mental illness that she spoke through) messages like, “You don’t think! You don’t use your head! Whenever I did something that didn’t meet her expectations or was wrong I completely failed I never thought I’d reach my dream or goal. Fast forward 40 years and I am moving forward (I was on his timeline all those years. Retired military wife). I realized some time ago that God allowed my experiences as my mother’s daughter for a greater purpose, but in the meantime I had things to learn and I needed to grow and understand my past before I can move ahead and be used by God. But now that the time has come I am concerned about how to launch a speaking ministry. So many steps to line up, the logistics, the planning of messages to speak on before and after a book launch, the ideas and how to put together courses, website development, etc. Frankly, just trying to process all of that just seems like this speaking ministry is too much, but when I began to pray about this, I keep telling myself that if this is God’s calling, He’ll provide the people, the connections I need and other helps along the way. Then he began to send me affirmations that I need to keep going as I was almost ready to throw in the towel; it was just getting too overwhelming at 58 years old. Then I heard someone say on a radio station say that if he didn’t fulfill his purpose he knew later he would have regret. Then, on the very same day I received a bookmark from Jill Briscoe from the Just Between Us organization that read: “Being used by God is an adventure you don’t want to miss!” I immediately laughed because God has used humor to guide me in the past, then as the message sunk in I started to cry. God was sending me confirmations to help me know I’m to pursue my book and speaking ministry. That was last week. I’m moving forward, not sure how all the pieces will come together, how to pay for it, the details, the social media pieces, the author platform, etc., but I’ve known for many years; it was a strong impression in my heart that I’d one day be speaking on the topic of mental health. I want to spread the message that even though I suffered loss, much loss, God restored me and I want to share that message that He can do the same for others, despite my fear and all the unknowns, I will trust He knows how to get me where He wants me.
    The website listed below is for my first book. I don’t have a website for my current project.

    1. Go, Lisa, go! Cheering you on as you follow God into your calling.

  2. Thank you, so much Amy, for these powerful words. I am currently interviewing for a position with my church, but I’m still not sure if God is calling me to ministry through my local congregation or through my own speaking/writing ministry. Of course, I use the words “my own” very loosely, as I know that it will be ALL Jesus if anything takes off. What I love MOST about your message here is that God opened the doors for you. And with the pressure to build a platform in social media to have a ministry, it was so good to hear your encouragement that God will make a way if He wants something to happen. We can trust our Father to take us to the places where He wants to use us! Thank you again!

    1. Praying for you right now, Kim, that God will give you clear direction. I know He’ll speak to your open heart!

  3. Cindy Perry Patton says:

    Oh, Amy, I feel like this post today could have been a letter addressed only for me (“Dear Cindy…”)! Thank you for encouraging words and for being a vessel through whom God is speaking to me! I’m excitedly awaiting all the details for She Speaks, 2020 and plan on attending to see if pursuing my speaking ministry is truly part of God’s calling.

    1. Yay! I’m so glad it was an encouragement, Cindy, and I hope our paths cross at She Speaks!

  4. Love this! <3

    God always writes better stories than we do. xo

    1. Oh yes! So well-said, Lyli!

  5. Thank you! This is so timely. I tend to keep telling God I am ready, let’s go! Instead of asking where and what direction.

    1. I know for a fact He’s gifted you and called you. Can’t wait to watch what He’s going to do!