Is God Calling You?

Your life’s all planned out. College and career decisions have been made. The dreams are big and expectations high. There is relief in the knowing except for the gnawing. In the deepest part of your soul, you feel the tug. In the noise of life, you can hear the still, small voice calling you to a different path. But it doesn’t make sense. It feels scary. What will people think if you change your plans now?

So what do you do when God calls you into a life you didn’t plan?


When God Called Me

It’s 1983 and I have my life planned——the next ten years of it, anyway. I’m a high school junior with big plans to play basketball at a small college, major in biology, attend Veterinary School, and take over the local practice of a veterinarian who is planning to retire. My family is proud, my coaches and teachers are pleased, and as far as I know, my plan is good.

When classmates and friends discuss the future and their uncertainty, I am relieved to know that I have a plan.

Then the gnawing begins.

It starts with a reoccurring dream that I don’t understand. Years later I know that God’s purpose was to help me see myself the way He sees me, to visualize myself doing what He was calling me to do. At the time, all I can see is an animal-loving, basketball-playing, small-town girl. God saw so much more than just the image I saw in the mirror or the one others had created for me.

Here’s what I learned:

In my Father’s eyes, I will see a reflection of the person He created me to be, not just who I am.

Nothing about the gnawing makes sense. Why is God calling me into ministry? No one in my family is or ever has been in ministry. I don’t even know any women in ministry in my very small town. But I am a committed Christ-follower and have a desire to be obedient.

Over the next months, God’s presence is more real than I’ve ever known. He speaks through every scripture I read and every sermon I hear. The knowing takes a backseat to the gnawing as I search for confirmation and clarity. Neither comes immediately. God’s plan unfolds on His schedule. I know God is at work so I wait in faith.

With uncertainty I move forward with my plan believing that God’s perfect will will be revealed to me and He will direct my steps day by day. I graduate from high school, accept a basketball scholarship, declare biology/pre-vet as my major, and successfully complete my first year of college. I’m relieved to see the lazy days of summer come.

It’s a scorching day in the south and I’m mowing grass in my granddaddy’s yard. I look up to see my pastor in his little white Chevy and hope he doesn’t see me. I’m a sweaty, dirty mess but I stop the mower as he walks my way, preparing to greet him and apologize for my appearance. He chuckles and makes a witty remark to ease my embarrassment. Then without any small-talk he asks, “Have you ever considered going into the ministry?” At that moment, God’s plan for my life begins to take shape. I briefly explain the gnawing I’ve experienced and he nods knowingly. He plainly lays out the next steps I should take. It’s a 15-minute life-changing, divine encounter between an obedient, godly man and a 19-year-old girl seeking God’s will for her life.

I take the steps he says to take. I am afraid. I disappoint a few people. I am out of my comfort zone and in over my head. But the gnawing is gone and the knowing is certain. I feel a peace I haven’t known for a long time.

This year marks 30 years since I answered God’s call to ministry. He has blessed me with various ministry roles and guided me every step of the way. I cannot imagine any other life for me.

Is God Calling You?

You’re a girl with big dreams and a plan. But you know the gnawing of which I speak. Even now you worry that a change of plans would be scary, disappoint many, and move you out of your comfort zone.

I hope my testimony encourages you. [Tweet “Say yes to God. You can trust Him.”] He has a life planned for you that’s better than any you can imagine.

So what do you do now?

  • Keep listening to God by reading His Word and spending time in prayer.
  • Continue with your plan until He makes it clear what you’re to do differently.
  • Stay teachable, moldable, and available as you wait in faith.
  • Prepare your heart to receive guidance from a godly mentor. God will use him or her to confirm His call on your life. Find a Christian Mentor
  • Believe that God is preparing you for what He has prepared for you.
  • Trust that God wastes nothing. He can and will use every experience and circumstance for your good and His glory. You might want to read My Back to School Lesson.

Let’s Talk About It

Obedience is both a decision and a journey. Moment by moment we choose God’s way that results in an obedient life. As we travel together we can encourage and comfort one another. I’d love to hear your story of how you’re responding to God’s call on your life or how you may be wrestling with His call.

We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9 NIV

4 thoughts on “Is God Calling You?”

  1. I thought all my life I would be a missionary nurse. I got my BSN, RN and master’s degree in Medical Missions. Then I found myself (for the last 9 years) in chronic pain with fibromyalgia. I was so.confused. But then I start to blog and start a FB site for people (and another one for moms) with chronic illness and pain. Three years later I find myself leading an online Bible study for ladies with chronic illness, starting a prayer group, and writing a book. One day, I realize, I am working in medical missions. It doesn’t look like what I had in mind, that is for sure.

    For moms:

  2. I have had the same experience… only I didn’t feel the gnawing until I was six years into teaching. When I heard the call, I knew immediately because the gnawing had made me feel restless for so long. The call felt like peace immediately. Even in answering, things haven’t looked as I assumed. I thought I’d be a chaplain or a pastor, but God’s path for me has proved so unconventional. So now I am preaching, teaching, blogging, coaching, pursuing another degree, and authoring books from my position as stay at home mother. The hardest part has been accepting that He wants me to work for Him, and no one else. That means no official job, title, position, paycheck, office. Just me trusting Him for my every need while doing His work in earnest. According to my plan, I should be a superintendent of schools, or at the very least a principle, but His way feels more right than anything has ever felt in my life because He has used every gift, job, heartache, and victory I’ve ever experienced to make me fit to do a work that is uniquely mine. That’s why I am and always will be Purpose Girl. Jeremiah 1:5

  3. I have worked at a job I love for 13 years. Lately I’m feeling that gnawing conviction that i will need to leave soon. I have very mixed feelings about this. Although I am not called to full time ministry, I feel God has another direction for me, although I am not sure what that is. I am worried I will not be able to use the things I have learned there, although I am sure that He is the one who placed me there over a decade ago. I am waiting and praying for His timing and direction as this would be a big life change for me.

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