The Call

History is full of call stories. Ever since Abraham was called by God to form a nation that sought after God, histories, peoples, and cultures have created a series of call stories to help us understand how we seek after our creator.

Moses had his burning bush.

David had his giant.

Jonah had his whale.

Jesus had the wilderness.

Those are a few ancient examples.

But the tradition continues.

Gandhi fought peacefully for a free India.

Martin Luther King waged war on the unjust Jim Crow laws.

Nelson Mandela overthrew the apartheid government of South Africa.

In each case, deep within these leaders, was a blossoming call story, a realization that they were called to accomplish something in their life.

C.A.L.L.

Often, we can overcomplicate the idea of a call story. We think they need to be grandiose and spectacular.

Maybe they are.

Or they might just feel that way to the person being called.

If you feel like you’re having trouble figuring out why you’re here, think through the C.A.L.L. acronym. Once you’re clear on these four points, you’re well on your way to living your call.

C – Cause

The first part of your C.A.L.L. is always about a cause.

It’s the why of your mission. The aspect of you as a unique creation that is urging you to make a difference in the world.

Michael Hyatt has said, “People lose their way when they lose their why.”

Your unique call story is no different. Find the cause of justice in the world that is burning so deep inside of you that it cannot be stopped.

One ancient prophet once said that his message was, “a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.”

“People lose their way when they lose their why.”

To find your C.A.L.L. you must first find that message of fire shut up in your bones.

A – Attitude

The second part of your C.A.L.L. is your attitude.

Far too many of us derail here. We may know our why but we then allow our circumstances to dictate how we feel about it.

Our goal was to make a difference in three years but it’s taken five (or more).

We thought we would have experienced freedom or transformation long before this moment in our life.

You will never get where you want to go if you always allow outside circumstances to dictate internal characteristics.

When your attitude is fixed on your destination, not on the circumstance, you’ll transform your life and increase your sphere of influence.

Instead of success, you’ll end up like the negative farmer. When it rains, the negative farmer complains that too much rain will wash away the soil and deplete the crops of necessary nutrients. When it stops raining, the negative farmer complains that too much sun will dry out the crop and kill off the harvest.

Don’t look at what is going wrong, but find ways to look at what is going right and create momentum in that direction.

When your attitude is fixed on your destination, not on the circumstance, you’ll transform your life and increase your sphere of influence.

L- Location

The third part of your C.A.L.L. is about a location. It is always at a particular time and place, for particular people.

Think the “longitude and latitude” metric. For Moses, it was Egypt. For Mandela, South Africa.

What is it for you?

Once you know the cause and have committed your attitude, identify the place where your message will reside.

For the homeless in your city?

Abandoned orphans from a country you visited on vacation?

Neglected retirees who have been forgotten by their family?

Whatever it is, the more specific you can be, the more action you can take.

Get clear on your cause.

Fix your attitude.

Reside in a location.

L – Legacy

Ultimately, a life well-lived and a call fully embraced outlives the person.

There’s a reason we resonate with the aforementioned heroes. We are inspired not only by their commitment to change the world, but their belief that we could do it too. Martin Luther King once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” His firm conviction was that each of us has a part to play in bettering the world.

He’s right.

Throughout history, men and women have listened to that voice inside of them urging them to be and do more for humanity. 

You also have that call.

And the capability.

Discover your cause.

Fix your attitude.

Reside in a location.

Leave a legacy.

Answer your C.A.L.L.

 

This part three on a series on calling.

Read Part 1

Read Part 2

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Answering the Call

In 2004, I was a college freshman.

Miserable.

Alone.

Depressed.

I had gone into college thinking I was going to be a science major. However, I remember one night staring into the microscope around 2 am trying to determine leaf structure, that I realized I didn’t want to do it anymore.

For someone already struggling with their place in the world, this was the last straw. I remember sinking into a deep depression. I felt like my whole world had been taken away.

A new city with no friends.

A lifeless major.

No sports to ground my days as they did in high school.

Lost.

Alone.

Discover Your Call

Defeated.

Gambling with God

During this time, I began a deep dive into my place into the world. I started to study the Bible and see if it had something for me.

I head this small voice telling me to think about a career in ministry.

I had tons of excuses about why that was a terrible idea.

I can’t speak in public.
I’m afraid of crowds.

I’m shy
I don’t want to.

Yet in my desire to find my place, I kept reading. I kept studying. And I kept hearing that voice. Finally, I had had enough. In a fit of rage and the cockiness of a 19-year-old know-it-all, I threw my Bible against the wall, promising to read whatever passage it fell open to.

If you can convince me to go into ministry through this, I’ll do it.

I was willing to gamble with God.

I picked up my Bible where it lay, plopped down on my bed, and read. My Bible (*coincidentially?*) had fallen open to Exodus chapter four.

In this story, a man named Moses is being called by God to free the Israelites from slavery at the hand of the Egyptians. Moses didn’t want to. He fought God’s call. He questioned God’s sanity.

Moses said:

I can’t speak in public.
I’m afraid of crowds.

I’m shy
I don’t want to.

Moses expressed everything to God that I had.

That small voice returned and said, “If I can do something with him, surely I can do something with you.”

Discovering Your Call

Now, I’m not saying I’m the next Moses. I’m far from it.

I’m also not saying that your call has to be as dramatic or painful as mine. I sure hope it’s not.

But here is what I have learned in the almost fifteen years since that day: Everyone has a call.

Your unique experiences, gifts, passions, interests, skills, and background have made you truly unique in this world. There is no one like you and you are like no one else. The world needs you. It needs your voice. Your perspective. Your championing of issues close to your heart. The world needs you, in all of your glory, to embrace who God has made you be at your core and live fully alive.

Without you, this world is incomplete.

Discovering your call is about finding whatever it is that makes you come alive. It is about blending your God-given potential with your world-changing desire.

So listen to that voice. Pursue it. Be open to it. As crazy as your world-changing idea may sound, it echoes in your soul for a reason.

It’s time to answer your call.


We are in a series on calling here on the blog. If you have a story idea, question or topic you want to be covered, or if you’re ready to work with Justin please fill out the contact form below.

 

The Backstory

As a boy growing up on the plains of windswept Kansas, I led a relatively normal life. My mom spent time as a librarian, teacher, and business owner. My dad worked on the land. My older brother and I spent hundreds of hours outside battling bad guys from all sorts of foreign planets, inventing makeshift toys, and practicing the latest wrestling moves we learned from Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage.

As normal as my childhood seemed, if you knew me, I hardly doubt that “normal” would be a word you would use to describe me. Instead, I’m imaginative, passionate, and perhaps a bit creative. Driven. Focused. Intense. Loud. Thoughtful. Complicated if not a bit too simple.

That’s the tension we all live in right? We bumble and stumble through this world looking to find our place in it.

We ask questions like: Why was I made? What’s my purpose? Why am I here?

Each of these questions and the yearning desires that go along with them can point us to our calling, or in pop culture terms: our origin story.

Discovering Your Origin Story

Discovering your origin story is the quest of all great superheroes (of which I would consider you one. Look at all the amazing things you can do!).

Think of Spider-Man. An awkward, geeky teen suffering from personal angst (something we can all relate to) gets bitten by a radioactive spider.

Or Thor. Passionate and committed, he must also prove himself worthy to his father, to be king, and to wield the mighty hammer Mjolnir.

In May of 2008, your life changed dramatically, even if you didn’t know it at the time. That’s when the first Iron Man movie released and introduced to a wider audience both the Marvel universe and the idea of the origin story.

Your Origin Story

Discovering your origin story doesn’t have to be nearly as dramatic as any of those superheroes though. Instead, it can be done by intentionally investing time in yourself. Discover your unique story, perspective, and outlook on life. What makes you tick? What do you find important? How do you want to better the world?

In fact, in the upcoming release of my new E-Course “Discovering Your Origin Story,” we look at the three questions you must ask to discovery your calling:

  1. What makes me feel totally and completely alive?
  2. Who am I called to serve?
  3. What does success look like to me?

While much more could certainly be said, this is the foundation for all work in discovering your origin story. Passions, hobbies, skills, are all important and all play a role, but it is these foundational questions that must first be answered.

Living Worthy of the Calling

All superheroes, even our modern-day ones, must choose to live worthy of their calling. One ancient writer, a man named Paul, wrote to a group of early Christians and said the same thing. He urged them to, “Live worthy of the calling they have received.”

My sincere desire and prayer for you is that you would do the same. Your life, gifts, passions, and unique quirks are far too valuable to waste, lose, or go unused.

May you live worthy of your calling.

May you discovery your origin story.

May you impact the world.

And may you be filled with joy as you do so.

 

 

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self trust is the first secret of success - Emerson Quote
self trust is the first secret of success - Emerson Quote
Self-trust is the first secret to success – Emerson.

Learning to trust your instinct is often the hardest part of understanding your calling. The world, and well intentioned others, have filled us with lies that we have started to believe as truth.

Learning to Trust Yourself Again

As children, we often intuitively trusted our own judgments. We made friends easily, forgave quickly, and ever so naively jumped off the fence thinking we would be ok.

Somewhere along the way, however, we started to doubt our capabilities. We listened to the fear present in other people and settled for the merely ‘average’ life.

Don’t rise too high or you might fall. You don’t want to be a failure, do you?

The problem, of course, is that you were never made for average. You were made for exceptional. And the great lie is that by never trying, you would never fail.

Building your self-trust, that deep-seated belief in yourself, your capabilities, your resolve, your gifts, and your contributions to the world is often the hardest part of embracing your calling.

Deep down, we know we were made for something special. Yet, deep in our hearts, we have let the lies of the world take root. We have abandoned the calling placed on us by our Creator to settle.

Listen to this: you can settle and make it through this life. But you will never reach your full potential. Never make your maximum impact. Never transform someone’s life for the better. Never be truly happy.

Self-Trust is the first secret to success.

Developing your calling requires that you learn to re-trust yourself. Your gifts, passions, abilities, emotions, and perspectives. That “gut feeling” that you were made for more? It’s 100% true.

Trust that.

Lean into that.

Listen to that voice.

Take action on that instinct.

Learn to self-trust, embrace your calling, and transform the world.