I’m 37 and I finally feel like I am DOING the things I have dreamed of doing in my life, and I feel like they are God’s dreams for me as well. Now, I’m no Carrie Underwood, singing all across the world. I’m no Michael Hyatt, writing and speaking all over the world. But I’m Ann Skaehill, doing the things I’m meant to do in my little circle of the world.
In 6th grade, I remember doing some kind of “career project” wherein I had to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. My project was about being a writer. Now, I wasn’t exactly sure what KIND of writer I wanted to be – and honestly even through my Sophomore year in college I thought I would work for Hallmark and write witty and sentimental sayings for their greeting cards.
Because I believe God pursues us and keeps dreams alive in us, He never let my dream to write slide by the wayside. I have had other talents pop up that I jumped on and turned into money makers for my family all while God was putting new dreams in my heart.
When I felt called to work in ministry, I laughed. Ok really, we ALL laughed. I was the mom with the f-bomb problem – I had no business being in ministry! And in fact there were things He wanted me to experience and learn so that He could call me out of ministry for a season where He cultivated those things within me. Talk about confusing!
A few months ago my husband and I went for a walk and he said (in love), “I feel like you’re all over the map! You are basically working 4 part-time jobs right now and you’re making me crazy! So what IS your dream? Or do you seriously have a bazillion of them?”
Good points. After my initial defensiveness subsided, I realized he had some exceptionally good points. God might call us to do new things, and in fact He might keep a dream alive in us for a long long time. When it’s time to take action and follow your dream, you have to let something else go. My best friend always says to me:
“Everytime you say yes to something, you are saying no to something else.”
Because I was essentially saying yes to 4 part-time jobs, I was saying no to my family and to God’s FULL calling for my life. Again. (I really hate it when I repeat this cycle!)
So it’s time. I’m shutting down one of my spinning wheels. It’s taking time to get through the work, but I have peace about it. And as I get closer to completion, I feel my passion coming more alive in the areas of writing and ministry. Correction, I feel HIS passion coming alive in the areas of writing and ministry. By continuing to say yes to this 4th thing, I was saying no to the big picture of how God wants to use me in these other areas. I was doing something because I was good at it, not because I was called to it.
How do you know if you’re called to something or not?
1. Write down EVERYTHING that you’re doing. I mean everything. This includes carpool, taking meals to people because they are sick, volunteering with a pet rescue place, your career… everything. Then pray over that list. Ask God to bring to the surface the things that He intends for you to have your hands in/on. Ask Him to make it clear to you when it’s time to start saying no. Don’t be “that guy” and walk into church Sunday and say “I can no longer serve because God’s not calling me to it. Bye!”
2. Talk to your people. I can’t shout this to you loud enough. Your people know what you’re good at and what you clearly have no business doing. It’s going to hurt, because you think you’re good at spinning all those plates. And frankly, you might even think you’re CALLED to spin all those plates. Maybe you are. But because you’re human, I’m positive you have at least one plate that needs to find a new home.
3. When you feel like God is calling you to something, you will simultaneously have this sense that it’s not about you. Because He might even be calling you to something that you know NOTHING about. Get your seatbelt on, because you’re in miracle territory. He’s about to work wonders for HIS good, through you. And when you walk away from a job well done, pride won’t be an issue because you won’t be able to stop praising GOD and all that He has done in this thing you knew nothing about.
If this three-step process isn’t enough for you, please go read Jennie Allen’s book: Restless. She will lead you down this amazing road of self-discovery. She will help you peel back the layers of your life so you can lay out the pieces and see your detailed map to God’s calling for your life.
Start thinking about what you need to say no to.
It’s time to stop spinning all those darn plates.