This article was written by Kristel Ward and published by Jesus Calling
Conflict stirred within as I attempted to blend into the audience. The secret struggles in my heart felt exposed as the conference speaker addressed the crowd.
“There are frozen callings in this congregation,” she declared.
The weight of that statement hit my spirit like a bag of bricks. No, Lord, I whispered. I can’t hope any longer for things that never come to pass.
God spoke softly in return. I will be with you. It’s time to take your calling off the shelf.
Two years before, I had packed away my ministry dreams. Ambitions of public speaking, teaching the Bible, and writing books drove me to push past God’s timing. I felt ready to walk into my purpose, but the doors of opportunity were locked. There were no invitations for me to speak, and the remains of a manuscript sat on my hard drive. The verse “Hope deferred makes the heart sick” in Proverbs 13:12 (NIV) explained my feelings. Frustrated and wounded by the appearance of a missed calling, I boxed up the pain in my heart.
From my chair at the conference, I felt the Lord prompt me to respond in prayer. The desire to follow God finally outweighed my hurt, and I rose from the chair. Leery of trusting my grief to the Father, I knelt and prayed, You’re going to have to do it. I can’t make things happen on my own. The pain poured out as tender tears dripped to the carpet.
I sensed the Lord respond with open arms. Oh good. We can start then.
Defrost your dreams
His gentle grace washed over my wounds. It was time to defrost my dreams.
Book deals and speaking engagements didn’t flood my inbox. However, preparation for fulfilling my purpose started immediately. The next day, I met a writing coach who facilitated my journey as an emerging author. Within a short time, God created connections with seasoned ministers who invested in my calling. Puzzle pieces in my life began to shift. God opened doors and steadied my steps as I gripped His hand in obedience.
Wherever you are today, I hope that you, too, know the freedom and fulfillment of walking hand in hand with God. There might be a yearning in your heart to understand your purpose. Maybe there is a void inside that longs to be filled with accomplished dreams. I hope you hear that it’s time to call out your calling.
Here’s how you can get started.
1. Seek Next Steps
Others often ask me, “How do I find God’s plan for my life?” We all want to know our place and purpose, but it’s important to remember that our primary role on earth is to love God. As we are with the Lord in prayer and in His Word, the Spirit of God reveals our next step. Assignments are handed out through an intimate relationship with Jesus. But instead of asking the big question, What is my calling? try asking, God, what are You calling me to do right now? Obedience to the Lord in this season gives us what is needed for the next one.
2. Trust God’s Timing
Waiting seasons are meant for preparation. God is not being cruel when He withholds a calling. He is equipping you to carry your promise to full term.
The words of the apostle Paul offer encouragement in the waiting: “This is the Message I’ve been set apart to proclaim . . . I couldn’t be more sure of my ground—the One I’ve trusted in can take care of what he’s trusted me to do right to the end,” (2 Timothy 1:12 MSG).
Trust in God when your dreams seem delayed. The One who placed them inside you knows the proper time for fulfillment.
3. Reject All Lies
The Bible is filled with people who failed before they first succeeded. Sarah dismissed the idea that God would give her a child but later gave birth to her firstborn son. Moses was called by God to bring his people out of captivity. Before becoming a deliverer, he murdered a man. Forty years later, he was given a second opportunity and led thousands of people to freedom. The apostle Paul persecuted Christians before he encountered Jesus. God later used Paul to spread the gospel to two continents and a huge portion of the New Testament.
Fear of failure, regret of lost time, and shame of sin all want to cancel our callings. If we’re not careful, we’ll believe their lies: You’re not good enough for this. You’ve missed your opportunity. You’re going to have to earn forgiveness first. Those lies are not for you. God is the author of time and redeems it in your favor. There is no magnitude of sin that measures up to God’s grace. All of God’s goodness is made available on your behalf.
Dare to unbox hidden callings and defrost frozen dreams. The Lord can keep them safe from harm until the appropriate time. Stay by Jesus, and He’ll deliver you to your destiny.