If you have been around ministers of the gospel for any period of time, you may have picked up on a belief in a "calling" to a certain profession. A pastor, for example, could not be satisfied if he was a plumber, because that is not his calling. If you are called to perform a certain job and you do not do it, you will find yourself perpetually dissatisfied, and probably not very pleasant to be around. This is why pastors stay pastors, even though the pay is bad and the job is hard. They believe they are living God's will for them, and that the rewards in heaven will highly outweigh the stressors of this present age.
But what about the rest of us?
Last night, I spoke in front of my church reporting back, along with the youth who went and my husband (who is a youth pastor and definitely feels called to this) about our sojourn to the state youth conference last week. I wanted to tell them about how God is allowing me to do public speaking for the first time, a desire of my heart long pondered over and finally granted. Yet I hesitated to call it a calling, as I had thought of it. I hesitated and said something flimsy like, "I have always wanted to do public speaking" instead of using the emphatic language of a call. I considered this later. First I thought I was just nervous because it was my own church, but then I realized there was more to it than that. I don't have a "calling" in the sense that pastors and preachers and understand a calling, because in that definition, if you are doing anything else, you are out of line. God is not (sometimes I wish He would!!!!) calling me to stop working at a clinic and spend life on the road speaking to different groups of people. Rather, He has given me an innate enjoyment of public speaking and sharing inspirational words with large groups of people (unlike some folks this doesn't make me nervous, at least, not as much!) and is slowly providing me with more opportunities to do these things. In the meantime, I am called to support my husband and minister beside him, to work full time as a therapist, and to strengthen and encourage my church. That is my calling. Public speaking and singing are the icing on the cake. I know in my heart that I will get more opportunities to do these things because they are God-given desires and gifts.
So the next time I talk to my church family about speaking arrangements, more of which I believe are coming, I think I will say something more like this: "God has given me a heart for speaking to people about Him, and I am so glad He is giving me opportunities to do just that." I hope they can understand how I am both called, and not called, to a unique sort of ministry.