At certain times in our lives, we are pulled in one direction or another. Maybe at 18, we feel that a particular college is what suits us best, or at least that we’ll enjoy time there. Maybe since you were very young you just knew you wanted to be a teacher. I know nurses that have said it is their calling, and they were phenomenal. I met an engineer at NASA who told me she knew that she wanted to work there and just made sure she did what she needed to in order to make that happen. It was her calling.
I never felt that way about a career. I enjoyed my years as an ultrasonographer. I thought I was pretty good at it, and I don’t mind working hard, which gets you a long way in any career. I thought about my career choice in a somewhat practical way. I just wanted to be sure I could make money doing something I enjoyed pretty well, and tried to do my best when that’s what I chose. It was a great choice for me, but not a path I had always longed for.
I suppose the first time I truly felt like I had a “calling” was pretty soon after I began dating my husband. The way that I yearned to guide and raise children with him was the first time in my life that I really felt as if I was just meant to do something. I had this strong desire to have several children and stay home with them to raise them while they were young. My husband can verify that. He suggested that we could possibly complete our family after one child and my feelings about that became very clear! Motherhood is not a desire for every woman, and that is completely understandable. For me, having a family of my own was important and I’ve spent the last ten years constantly caring for these precious little lives.
As this chapter of our lives is coming to a close, I have struggled at times with what my “calling” is now. Our children will obviously still need me, and I will continue to care for them the very best way I know how. But once they are all in school full-time, I try to imagine how my days will be spent. It’s sort of hard to imagine. I can tell you that consistently wiping baseboards, dusting mantels and having the house pristine at all times is not my calling. I have figured it out, though. My calling. And maybe it should be yours, too.
“Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies– in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.”
1 Peter 4: 9-11
One day, my husband thanked me for something that I had done for someone else and I said, without really thinking, “There are a lot of things that I can’t do. But I can be a servant to others.” I have repeated that in my head so many times since then.“I can be a servant.”
Each HAS received a gift. You do have a gift, or two or three, that you can use to be a blessing to others. Encourage those around you any way you can. Sometimes a kind word is enough. This is hard to put into everyday practice when you are, well, out of practice. Here are some practical suggestions:
- If you are a great cook, first of all, I am jealous! Second, cook for other people! Just make food for people you know, particularly when someone is sick. No one is disappointed when food is delivered to them.
- If you’re not a great cook, like moi, but your neighbors have the flu, have pizza delivered to their house.
- If you have an extra seat or two in your car, offer to give rides to the ballfield, or school, and especially to worship.
- If you can walk, park farther away. Not everyone is that fortunate. Elderly people deserve to take fewer steps, even if they don’t have a handicap tag. A young mother with a child holding each hand and one strapped to her chest appreciates a few less steps. Someone may be needing to run in somewhere really quick on their lunch break. Be considerate and park farther away when you can.
- Drop off your cart in the right place, or maybe even (gasp!) walk it all the way back into the store when you’re finished! You are serving the worker at the store and making the world a tad bit better.
- If you are a talented artist, make special things for people. Just to be nice.
- If you know how to write, send people notes. Send your friends birthday cards, in the mail, with a stamp. Send their kids birthday cards. Write notes when people are in pain, not just a text message or Facebook comment. Servants write notes, or even better, they visit in person and hug someone when they need it. A text is better than nothing.
- If you have a camera, offer to take pictures of people. Just a quick family photo can be priceless for a mother who is rarely in photos.
- If you don’t work or have children at home, offer to keep a young mother’s children while she runs errands.
- If you have a career – nurse, doctor, lawyer, teacher, etc. – you are already serving others. Great job! Now be the best you can be, go above and beyond. Serve your clients/patients/students, and serve your coworkers. Stand out and be different in a good way.
Of course there are hundreds of other ways to put others before yourself, but we can all do it. And if you serve others in a way that pleases God, He is glorified. Find a way to serve others. It’s your calling.