By Megan Rawlings
When I was in my twenties, I experienced what I now refer to as my “quarter life crisis.” Looking back, I suspect that many of my friends who had recently graduated college or just started their lives as adults in the workforce were also going through this existential crisis. The pressure of knowing what I would do for the rest of my life was one of the heaviest pressures I have experienced to date.
I started college with the “calling” to be a medical missionary. I was under the impression that my purpose in God’s kingdom was to assist people in times of crisis, such as famine and natural disasters. Imagine my surprise when, during my clinicals, the unpleasant smells related to sickness and disease forced me to lean my head out of the window in the nurse’s station. The potent smells were overwhelming for my receptive nose, causing me to feel incredibly nauseous. Every week I thought it would get better, but it only grew worse. How could this be? Would God call me to do something I had to physically struggle to accomplish?
Sure, he would, I thought to myself, he called Jonah to go to a pagan nation and preach repentance. The problem was, I am not Jonah, and all “callings” aren’t met with drastic opposition. Please do not misunderstand. I had a friend once tell me she felt a nudge toward youth ministry but couldn’t commit to it because teens “aren’t her thing.” I laughed and said, “Well, it looks like you know what you’re supposed to do.” She is now a primary volunteer mentoring female teens in her church’s youth group.
God can call us to things we don’t necessarily want to do, and he can call us to things we are over the moon about. I felt devastated on the last day of my clinical. I knew this was not what I was supposed to be doing. I remember the phone call to my mother.
“Mom, I don’t think this is it.”
“Well, Meg, what are you going to do?”
That was the question, wasn’t it? I felt a nudge toward women’s ministry but thought it would be too complicated. Nearly every woman who has felt called to women’s ministry will know what I mean by that.
I disregarded it, believing that God was leading me to fulfill a greater purpose. As a millennial I felt special, and I held the strong conviction that I was going to do something extraordinary for God. I believed he would lead me to a ministry of national influence. While my youthful arrogance may seem humorous to some, I believe it to be the underlying cause of the crisis I mentioned earlier.
Through years of prayer, trial, and error, I have come to understand that the calling God has on our lives is not solely about us.
Let’s fast-forward a few years. I was attempting to navigate the women’s ministry God entrusted to me. In a conversation with a friend, I expressed uncertainty about God’s plans for us. “It seems as though he is silent,” I murmured.
As I looked to the ground in self-pity, she uttered one of the most profound statements I have ever heard: “Continue to carry out the most recent instruction given to you by him.”
The idea’s simplicity is astonishing and its depth is unparalleled. When you find yourself in a situation where it seems like God is not providing an answer or an opportunity that you have earnestly prayed for, continue to faithfully follow the last instruction he gave you.
It’s easy to get distracted by novel and enticing things . . . to participate in ministries or capitalize on opportunities that promise to be successful and thrive. Ultimately, however, it’s our duty to be consistent and steadfast. God has charged us to be persistent and to complete the assignments he has given us. I think about the words of Jesus, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:48).
What has God told you to do? Are you actively doing it in a way that honors him? Continue to run the race as if to win the prize.