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The harsh truth about finding your calling

This is a guest post from Jeff Goins: Perhaps one of the most puzzling aspects of the Christian life is this idea of calling, of finding your purpose in life and living it out. I know for me, it's been one of the hardest things to grapple with. As a twenty-something who's almost 30, I&#…
By Seth Barnes

This is a guest post from Jeff Goins:

Perhaps one of the most puzzling aspects of the Christian life is this idea of calling, of finding your purpose in life and living it out. I know for me, it's been one of the hardest things to grapple with.

As a twenty-something who's almost 30, I'm able to look back on this first chapter of my adult life and pinpoint the big moments. Those significant times of dramatic growth. And in every one of them, there's one common characteristic: I was always doing something uncomfortable.

The lie of the American Dream tells us that if we could just bring order to our hectic lives, if we could just stabilize everything, then we could be happy. So we quantify success with material posessions:

  • A nice car
  • A big house
  • A great retirement plan

But in this pursuit of more, we find ourselves increasingly disillusioned with what we have. Maybe that's not all there is to a fulfilled life?

When I was 19, I thought the secret to living a great life was found in chasing thrills. I thought my calling would be something glamorous and full of danger.

Now, that I'm 29, I realize the truth. The mark of a true disciple, of someone who is passionately pursuing God's plan for their life, is obedience. Which is a nice way of saying "doing what you don't want to do."

For me, this means working on a spreadsheet when I'd rather hop a plane to Africa. It means saying no to that cool conference everyone is attending so I can answer emails.

We find our life's work not by chasing our dreams, but by submitting to a larger story. Which means occasionally stepping out of the spotlight and being okay with working in the shadows for a season.

It's not what I would've planned for myself, but it's surprisingly freeing. This is what it means to live out your calling: not always doing what you want — but doing what you must, what is required, what you are called to do.

The paradox, of course, is that this is the most fulfilled way to live.

Jeff is the Communications Director of Adventures in Missions. His new book, Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into Your Comfortable Life, came out this week.

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