Reader Question 2
Today we’ve got a new question, and it’s a good one too. If you have any wisdom to share, I’d love for you to add it to mine by leaving a comment! Here we go…
Last year I felt what I think was a call to go into Christian speaking. I already speak extensively for my secular job, in fact I leave in the morning for a few days teaching in Illinois.
I have some fears about moving forward – finances, first steps, etc. My biggest fear, however, is that I’m being ambitious rather than really hearing God. The call felt strong and clear, but I didn’t feel any specific direction at that point. In fact, I felt a distinct impression that God was preparing me. Usually this would make me antsy, as I’m rather impulsive, but it felt ok.
Now I feel like I should do something, but I have no idea what and I’m wondering if I was just being presumptuous. Now that I think about it, maybe God was “calming me down” before I moved forward. Any guidance for these mixed feelings and moving forward? ~Michelle
Oh, goodness. I’ve traveled this journey myself. For me, the first round of wanting to be a speaker was truly ambition. It was easily identifiable for me because of the things it evoked– covetousness of what a specific speaker had, jealousy over her opportunities, the desire to be up front, the craving for affirmation. These were my overwhelming feelings, so there was no doubt that my motives were warped. I prayed for God to remove the desire to speak, and He did. I served contentedly in the ministry I had been given for several years after that.
Years later, I began to believe that God was giving me a desire to speak, but I was afraid it was the old motives again. Over time, I realized that it was very different. I felt a passion to share the messages God had given me, but I had been humbled by the years and wanted to serve. Amazingly (why am I always amazed when God moves?!), He also began opening doors, and I had multiple opportunities to speak.
For Michelle and all who are struggling with calling, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Why do I want to speak? Is it for applause, affirmation, or acceptance? Or is it to serve my audience?
- What’s my end goal as a speaker? Do I want to stand in front of thousands like Beth Moore? Or am I willing to speak to the five that show up?
- How do I think I’m going to become a speaker? By being discovered and asked to join the Deeper Still team? By years of hard work with little to show except a stack of Starbucks cards and a sunroom full of potted plants?
I think the answers for true calling are probably obvious. 🙂
Don’t get me wrong. I think most of us start by staring up at Beth Moore or Lysa TerKeurst or Christine Caine on a stage and thinking, “I want to do what she does.” However, if we don’t move quickly beyond that to being willing to serve wherever God calls, then we need to look at motives. (And probably do a little reality check. Sorry. Just sayin’.)
So what are the ways that we can be sure we’re called? Here are some essentials to calling:
- It’s consistent. Our callings must be consistent with scripture. Anytime what we think we’re hearing from God contradicts scriptures, our perceptions are incorrect. But if scripture supports our calling, then that’s one “check!” on your list.
- It’s confirmed. A second way to know that you’re calling is sure is if others affirm it and circumstances start to fall into place. If you are called to speak, at some point, you will be asked to speak. Michelle, you mentioned preparation, and I think that’s key. I’ve watched many women prepare even though they’ve never been asked to one event only to have God open doors soon after. That’s so cool to see happen! Also, there will be some naysayers out there, but most of the godly people who live by scripture and love you should affirm your calling. If everybody is telling you differently than what you think, that’s a reason to step back and take another look.
- It’s in-conceivable. If your calling seems easily achievable to you in your own strengths, abilities, and talents, then it might not be from God. God’s callings often seem inconceivable to us, and that’s a good thing. It makes us depend on Him.
Hopefully, this answer gives you lots of room for soul searching. Michelle, I can’t tell you for sure if you’re called, but there is an element of your question that encourages me. People who never question their own motives or calling worry me. Often that hyper-confidence spells trouble. The fact that you’re actually examining your heart and motives is a very good sign! Keep seeking God’s direction, and I have no doubt that He’ll reveal it to you in time.
Amy, you mentioned being asked to speak. What about “testing the waters” and volunteering for say a small group at your church so that you can get feedback and you yourself can see if you “like” it? After a few times would you may be more certain about God’s calling
Absolutely, Rose. I agree! There’s nothing wrong with talking to a leader in your church and offering to speak for a small group or event. The other place I often encourage new speakers to volunteer is MOPS groups. They are in constant need of speakers to fill their monthly programs, and they often have little to no budget. They’re a great testing ground and a receptive audience!
Amy, thanks so very much for your extensive and helpful response, I really appreciate it! You have given me a lot to think about with your wise words. I’m very goal oriented and used to getting a lot done and quickly. Perhaps the goal isn’t just ending up in front of a group, but the process as well! Thanks again, I”m continuing to pray about my next steps and I’m looking forward to any further comments from other group members. Michelle
You’re so welcome, Michelle! Blessings to you as you pursue God’s next steps.