The No Pressure Path to Following Your Call

Women don’t need more on their plate. They usually need less. So, why even consider following your call? 

The truth is that the inner peace and freedom that women desire is very much wrapped in the gift of our calling. Receiving the gift and acting upon its treasure opens the door to what we want most.

The path of calling isn’t more pressure, burden or a distraction. It is setting out to be the woman you were made to be in a way that blesses others on your path. As you live and breathe and move in the center of who you are, inner peace and freedom enters your heart and flows into the lives of others.

If that description feels too vague or hard to put your finger on, here are a few guideposts that will take the pressure off.

Our calling doesn’t depend on us.

You don’t have to think it up or create it. Calling is a revelation from the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will lead and direct you to exactly where peace and freedom reign. Calling will roll itself out as you listen and take your next steps with intention.

Calling doesn’t pull you away from your current life.

Following your calling empowers you to live your current life with more excitement, energy and joy than you had before you followed God in this way. In fact, the roles and responsibilities that you may be frustrated with or grumbling about just might lighten up when you are following your calling.

Following your call allows the people you love the most to see more of the treasure inside of you.

Living out your calling invites your friends, kids and husband (if you have one) to see Christ active and alive in you. Not only that, calling empowers your loved ones to take brave steps to live out the best that God has for them too.

Calling sets your imagination free to do the good work you were made to do.

There is no greater way to put your mind to work for good than designing a plan to follow your call. Our minds were made to think, create and connect ideas to action. Calling engages our mind for good.

Calling doesn’t blow up your schedule.

Knowing your calling helps you make life giving decisions with your time. Calling helps you revisit in a positive way your current schedule, commitments and responsibilities. The journey of calling doesn’t lead you to exhaustion and burn out. It empowers you to be the woman God intended you to be.

Following your call is not another pressure or problem for you to tackle. Calling brings energy and new wisdom into to all areas of your life. It is the path to bring you the inner peace and freedom that so many women deeply desire.

Continue Reading

Wisdom for the Secret Desires of Women – Part Two

Last week, we began by looking at our gifts and our value. If you missed this be sure to click HERE to read part one.

You Are Fulfilled by Living Out Your Gifts

Be honest with yourself. You have the power to choose the life you live. Think about what you are striving to be. There are many pursuits you can set your sights on. Are you setting out to live the balanced life? What about the perfect life? The happy life? The controlled life? If you are honest with yourself, you can probably find traces of each of these unworthy pursuits inside your heart. True inner peace does not live alongside balanced, perfect, happy or controlled. These are facades and misnomers that prevent personal fulfillment.

The Balanced Life

I am just going to say it. The balanced life is a sham. You can’t live peacefully if you are trying to equally serve well in every area of your life. It’s not possible to give well in all areas in every season. The balanced life is the modern word for the 70s superwoman. We are not superhuman now or then. The actual word for this kind of life is voluntary soul-slaughter.

We are called to intimately and honestly put all of our desires before a loving God. In His loving way, He moves our hearts and directs us towards the creativity He built in us. When we are living and breathing and moving in the desires He set within us, our paths become narrowly directed and focused. We realize that our life is personalized and decorated in a fashion that was not meant to be all things, all the time. 

If we listen to the voice of God speaking to our hearts, He will highlight the priorities of the season you are in. If your child has a need for deep leadership and discipleship, then it is not the time to start a challenging work project. If it is your season to lead an intense Bible study, it’s not your season to plan a fundraiser for a charitable event. If your marriage is suffering, it may not be the time to be a host family for an international student. If you put your desires before Him, He will direct your path. 

The Perfect Life

I like the idea of the perfect life because, well, it sounds fulfilling. I’d love to be totally free of faults. I’d love to have all of the qualities and characteristics of perfection. I’d love to be as good as it is possible to be in the past, present, and future. In light of my working mom status, I would even love to be in more than one place at one time. But, then, that would make me God. 

When we desire the perfect life, our fears center around failure and appearances. We are often too afraid to live out our gifts because it is too scary to fail. It is too scary to appear or to be less than perfect. The truth is that perfection prevents the good risks in life that bring the most fulfillment. Take a look back at the nine six month goals in yesterday’s post. All of the goals contain risks. Putting out your work to be accepted or rejected? Influencing others to act when they may not? Becoming a voice that could be criticized? Failure is part of the equation. Desiring the perfect life will keep you from the good chance you will take ground for the calling God put inside of you. 

If you desire inner peace and the personal fulfillment that comes along with it, you will need to let go of the perfect life. You will need to acknowledge that perfect belongs to God, not you. You will need to stop holding yourself and your family to a standard worthy only of God. You will need to choose to be less than perfect and more of who you were made to be.

The Happy Life

Who doesn’t want to be happy? Blessed? Joyful? Yes, and Amen. But what if you want a happy-go-lucky, risk-free life more than the abundant life God has planned for you? 

Living a happy, blessed, joyful life does not give you an excuse to avoid the tensions of this life. In every step you take towards living out your true self, there will be tension. There will be risk. There will be the possibility of loss. How do you know if you are pursuing surface happiness over true inner peace? Consider what choice you would make in the following scenarios. Would you face the tension and follow your call or stand on the platform of risk-free and happy?

You know you’re supposed to accept a church leadership position, but the politics of a woman in this role could be complicated. Do you accept or reject the position?

Your boss keeps bringing to you urgent, unimportant matters after business hours so that you continuously miss your free dive practice when you know this skill is part and parcel to your calling. Do you place boundaries within your workplace or do you overlook the importance of living out your passion?

You put off starting the mom’s prayer group in your city because your neighborhood is predominantly Jewish and you are Christian. Do you avoid what God has put on your heart because the group may not look like what you are accustomed to?

You haven’t applied to Bible college because you don’t have the money. You know you can ask your mentor for a loan, but you don’t want to risk harming the relationship. Do you approach your mentor or put away your dream?

Pursuing the happy life will inevitably cause you to dismiss tension and hardship that arises in your life. If you truly desire to have what you want most and the inner peace that flows from it, you will have to choose hard over happy in the proper season. Calling is crucial. Loving yourself by taking risks is worth the potential short-term loss of the happy life. The reward is an abundance of the happy, blessed, joyful life.

The Controlled Life

What does the controlled life look like? A good example is a woman who won’t veer from her calendar. She has already decided on the terms of her ideal life and has made adequate time to live it. Period. End of her story. In light of the fact that planning and preparedness are good, how do you know if you are living the controlled life? Ask yourself these questions. If you answer yes, the draw of the controlled life has a hold on you.

Do you cringe when you feel the tugs of change?

Do you cling to the status quo just because you like the safety of it?

Do you back away from the extraordinary because you don’t have sufficient time for it?

Do you decline when you are invited on an adventure because you didn’t plan for it?

Are you afraid of the idea of being outside of or away from your city, social group, church or workplace?

I can relate to the fanfare of a controlled environment. There have been multiple times in my life when several things have been out of control at the same time. In those seasons, I long for a predictable life. I want to be able to anticipate what is next. I want to see the outcome when the things that matter most to me are topsy-turvy. I want to estimate the length of the pain. I want the heads up for the future. I want to know how to handle the unexpected turns of life, right now. Seriously, there are a lot of us who would like to be our own little prophet of our own little life.

God may want you to break from your normal routine to bring light to someone’s darkness. He may be calling you to give where there is emptiness. He may be choosing you to do what is impossible for someone else to accomplish. Following His lead could shake up everything you know as normal. When He is calling your name for a purpose, clinging to the controlled life will not bring you peace. The spiritual truth is that, if you are forgoing your calling because you can’t shed control when God asks you to, you are leading yourself away from the inner peace you desire most. 

In Living Out Who You Are, You Find Strength

Strength is not realized in doing it all, all of the time. This is called burn out. Strength begins with knowing yourself well enough to know exactly where your passion and purpose intersect. When you know your specific gifts, you are able to take weekly, monthly and quarterly life-giving steps toward your calling. As you live out who you are, you realize just how much you are capable of. Here is your sweet spot. This holy pursuit starts a fire in you that can’t be easily put out. When your God-given gifts are in action, supernatural strength rolls in. When you are living out your calling to the point in which you find your strength, you will find exactly what you desire most, including inner peace.

Fourfold Wisdom

Wisdom begins with the knowledge of what your gifts are. Syncing your God-given gifts with your daily practices leads to realizing your value. Putting your gifts into practice exhibits your value to yourself and others. The eventual result of practicing your gifts and talents in a valuable way lends itself to personal fulfillment. As you live out who you were made to be in the season you are in, strength appears in ways it never has before.

You are gifted.

You are valuable.

You are fulfilled.

You are strong.

This is the fourfold wisdom for the secret desires of women.

Your soul is at peace.

Continue Reading

Wisdom for the Secret Desires of Women – Part One

Some of us think we know what we want and we pursue it. We set out to accomplish it, and whether we fail or succeed, surprisingly we discover it does not bring us what we most desire.

Some of us can’t decide what we want. We are stuck in the wanting of something, nothing, and everything. We stay stagnant or very, very busy, but we still don’t get what we most desire.

Some of us, however, land right in our sweet spot. We experience value, fulfillment, and strength, and get what we desire most. If all women have desires deep within them, then why are so many of us missing our mark, landing somewhere else or stuck? When it comes to our true desires, how do we know when we are on the path to our sweet spot or when the winds have directed our path?

In a recent survey of creative, resourceful women, I found that almost all the women had groundbreaking six-month goals. Here are just a few:

Get a blog accepted to an online magazine

Get a blog accepted to an online magazine

Begin free diving

Influence my generation to give to the next

Grow my company so I can hire other women

Start a mom’s prayer group in my city

Apply to Bible college and get a degree

Travel to a place I’ve never been

Blend our families in my new marriage

Create a voice for singles in my church

Whether or not you have a six-month goal, let’s consider the nine listed above. If each woman accomplished the goal she verbalized and memorialized, would she experience value, fulfillment, and strength? Would she have what she desired most? Would she experience inner peace?

Inner peace may sound like an elusive notion. It may even sound monkish, new age or self-indulging, but, in my experiences with women, it is what we desire most. Whether it’s parenting, personal calling, marriage, community involvement or friendship, women have a deep desire for an inner peace which flows into key areas of their lives.

When we are setting out to accomplish our secret desires; when we are venturing to our sweet spot, the key question is: Will this bring peace to my soul? If Godly peace is the center of your pursuit, you can be confident you are setting out on a path that will bring you what you desire most.

So, then, how do we get to our sweet spot? The wisdom that will lead you to the peace and fulfillment you desire begins with your calling. The statements below embody the fourfold wisdom for the secret desires of women.

You Are Gifted

You Are Valuable and Valued

You Are Fulfilled by Living Out Your Gifts

In Living Out Who You Are, You Find Strength

Wisdom begins with the knowledge of what your gifts are. Syncing your God-given gifts with your daily practices leads to realizing your value. Putting your gifts into practice exhibits your value to yourself and others. The eventual result of practicing your gifts and talents in a valuable way lends itself to personal fulfillment. As you live who you were made to be in the season that you are in, strength appears in ways it never has before. You are gifted. You are valuable. You are fulfilled. You are strong. Your soul is at peace. This is the fourfold wisdom for the secret desires of women.

You Are Gifted

Look to the Past to Find Your Future

Women, in order to know your gifts, you will have to know yourself. You will have to take quiet time to look into your past so that you can see your future. As you look back in the silence of the moment, you will remember what made you smile at six. You will dream of impossible and bold adventures like you did when you were twelve. You will love with all the passion and fearlessness you had when you were twenty. You will remember coming into your person and claiming who you are. All of these thoughts, feelings, and memories will point you to who you are and then to your future path.

When you remember, like I did, that I love wise owls and shimmery butterflies, you will know that it is time to incorporate creative gifts back into your life. When I recalled the years I didn’t shave and marched for my causes, I realized that my business could be used as a force for good in my community. When I pondered the years of babies and being broke, I remembered that I can do anything new or hard in my life’s path. My memories brought me to my gifts. My gifts brought me to my future.

When you take the quiet time to look back, you will see into your future. The space that was once empty, blank or bleak will come into focus. Your vision for your future in your current season will become clear. Suddenly, you can see where the lamp at your feet and the light on your path are leading. You can walk down this path in boldness because you have a vision.

Pain Is a Part of Your Gifting

Sister, you are unfinished. There is a future path you can walk because of the past and present pain you have weathered. The best part of unfinished is that there is so much more to come. As undesirable as a season of pain really is, it carves out wisdom, compassion, and grace in a unique way. Pain and suffering are not the end of you, nor do they define you. Personal pain is simply evidence of the unfinished work and the great journey ahead.

I have a trusted sister Kay who barely relates to pain because she has embraced it so well. Her journey began when her husband’s business partnership went bad. Resulting litigation, great financial loss, multiple moves away from the town they called home, uprooted kids, church changes, homeschool experiments, school transfers, and more professional changes brought painful challenges. Kay’s nature is to be rooted, well planned and under control, but she was uprooted in almost every way a person can be uprooted. Kay worked through her pain. She made it a point to make home wherever home was. The best part is that a very finished person remains unfinished.

You will find some of your giftings from your seasons of pain. My friend has learned that home is not a city or a town or a church or a Bible study or a ministry. Home is with her family. She has a definition of home that belongs to her. What will my friend do with her gift? Who will she impact? What will she dream up as a result of her pain? If we can understand that pain makes us an unfinished work, we can be filled with hope that there is so much more to come.

Your Heart’s Call

All of us were made with a heart call. You may not know what yours is yet. You may have more than one. My heart call can be summed up in the words uninvited or excluded. It bothers me when a person is left out or ridiculed because they are different, unusual or perceived as not good enough. I noticed when someone is laughed at, treated unfairly or attacked for no good reason, compassion and action would rise up in me. I may not have always consciously known that about myself, but I discovered my desire for compassion and action towards injustice when I listened to my heart call.

Once you pinpoint at least one of your heart calls, you can take intentional steps towards your calling. For me, I began to take my time to listen to a lost, lonely or hurting person. I could see it in their eyes. I learned that when my heart string was activated, I needed to take time, whether I thought I had it or not, to listen. I eventually realized that taking my time to listen to others lead to freedom in them and freedom in me. When I am living out one of my gifts in a positive, intentional way, God moves and fruit appears. When you listen for your heart’s call, you will find your bend and what type of injustice you were made for.

You Are Valuable and Valued

There are many good things a woman can choose to be and do in her lifetime. Something magical happens when her choices are derived from the calling over her life. A powerful layer of self-worth begins to form when she’s living out her calling. Why is that? The reason is that she is living and breathing what she was made to do.

When a woman follows her calling, she sees the value of who she is. It’s not that following the call brings the value, it’s that living out her gifts and talents brings the knowledge of her worth to herself. As she is engaging in a way that brings forth awareness of her worth, she experiences the beginning of inner peace.

The best example I can give you is my dear friend Madeline. Madeline has been through extraordinary pain in relationships. Pain has a way of putting a question mark right through our sense of worth. Madeline intentionally processed her pain instead of hiding or running from it. In her season of pain, she spent her time reading life-giving books, engaging in her community of sisters and devoting hours to quiet time in the Word. She often shared transparently about her pain with trusted sisters and brothers. In a season where it would have been easier to hurt alone, Madeline welcomed others into her world even though it was broken with sharp edges and open-ended problems.

As the pain transformed her heart, her gifts and talents began to surface. Madeline undoubtedly learned a few things about herself in this season. She learned that there is nothing wrong with being the spiritual leader of her home. There is nothing missing from her life as an unmarried woman. Her family is not incomplete or less than. If she ends up meeting a lifelong partner, it won’t be someone to complete her family or replace who she is, but a partner to love and lead with.

As she healed over time, Madeline began to take a few cues from her life. She is regularly asked to take on leadership positions. She may have already known that she is patient, methodical and inclusive, but she did not know how well she was suited for leadership roles. Madeline has learned that she has the ability to create practice and order from vision in order to serve a greater purpose. The work she did during her deepest pain brought her gifts and talents to the surface.

Although Madeline suffered greatly in a few key relationships, she was able to realize her worth when she began to live out the gifts and talents that were already in her. As she recognized her value in living out her gifts and talents, she became a licensed business life coach and went back to school to get her master’s in counseling. Madeline’s personal calling is underway and much of her journey began with recognizing her worth and value all over again.

The pain we experience causes us to question our value and worth. When we process through the pain and begin to find ourselves, we are filled with motivation to live out of our gifts and talents.  This is the sacred place where we recognize our worth and run after our call. Nothing can stop the faith-filled pursuit of a woman who knows her worth. This is the key to finding inner peace which flows within her and then to the people she values most.

*Join me next week where I’ll share Part Two of Wisdom for the Secret Desires of Women

 

 

 

Continue Reading