God has a unique calling on each one of us, our unique contribution to the world. The powers of darkness are terribly afraid of it because when you walk in your calling, they lose real estate. The enemy’s strategy is to so grievously wound us, as early in life as possible, that we don’t ever step into the calling on our lives. Your calling is that important. If you don’t fulfill it, no one will. Then the world misses out and you live a boring life instead of the adventure you were created for.
So how do you find it? Your calling is the intersection of three things — your passion, your skills, and your market. You need all three, or you don’t have a calling. You have something else. Let’s look at these one at a time.
This is a very practical post today. Have fun with this! Go through this exercise with the Holy Spirit. Ask him to show you the answer to each of these questions. He’s totally into this.
1) Your Passion
What sets your heart on fire? What thing makes your heart leap out of your chest at the thought of doing it? Alternatively, it might terrify you. For those of us still working our way out of our wounding, a calling can be terrifying. It can fly in the face of inner vows we’ve made to protect our heart. It can force us to face our fear.
For example, suppose your calling is public speaking. Suppose God wants to give you words and speeches and messages that will inspire and change a myriad of lives. But in grade school, the enemy set it up so you got severely made fun of for making a mistake during a class presentation, or maybe answering a teacher’s question wrong. You vowed you’d never speak in public again. It wasn’t safe.
Now that vow is holding you back from stepping into your calling, and the thought of public speaking terrifies you. But God wants to heal that. You can renounce those inner vows and the benefit they give you, choosing to trust God for your heart’s safety instead of your own means.
So if you feel either exhilaration or terror at doing a thing, that might be your passion. If your heart didn’t care about it, you’d be indifferent. And if it’s terror, there may an inner vow in the way that you need to work through and remove.
Make a list right now of what you’re passionate about. Use both the positive and negative questions: What exhilarates you? What terrifies you?
Another great question for finding your passion is, What angers you? What problem do you want to see solved? What fight do you want to pick with the world?
2) Your Skills
This is much more straight forward. What are you good at? Make a second list. What skills, talents, and abilities do you naturally have? What were you just always good at? Alternatively, what skills have you developed? What have you learned to do really well? Put all these on your second list.
3) Your Market
Your market is what will people pay you for. God doesn’t want you to starve. He’s a God of provision. He’ll provide for your needs so you can pursue your calling. The easiest way is if people pay you for it.
Honestly, people don’t care about your skills or your passion. They care about themselves. Not dissing anybody here, we all do. But when you solve a problem for people, they will pay you for it.
Make a third list. What will people pay you for? What problems can you solve?
The intersection of all three lists is your calling. Are you surprised? Or did you know it all the time, but were afraid to think about it? What is that thing? Share it in the comments.
What if there’s nothing on all 3 lists?
Oh no, I’m doomed, I have no calling! Now just hold on there, Mr. Melodramatic. You have a calling, we just need to dig a little deeper. The stuff of life has just buried it a little bit. What is on two of the lists?
Skills and Market without Passion is a Job
But what happens if you’ve got skills at something and a market but no passion? That’s a job. Maybe you used to have passion for it, and you’re convinced that job is, in fact, God’s calling on your life. How do you move it from job to calling? You have to rekindle your lost passion.
Ask the Holy Spirit how. One way is to go back to the beginning. Remember when this thing first romanced you and you fell in love with it? How did you approach it then? Can you do the thing the way you did at first and reclaim that lost passion?
Dude, I have never loved my job! Then your job’s not your passion.
Passion and Market without Skills is a Daydream
Without skills, people won’t pay you for long, if at all. If you’re sure this daydream is God’s calling on your life, how can you move it from daydream to calling? What baby steps can you take right now to start acquiring the skills?
Maybe your daydream is to be an author. If that’s your calling, start a blog and start putting your work out there regularly for people to read. Maybe your daydream is to be a missionary. If that’s your calling, enroll in a class at your local community college to start learning your host country’s language.
Passion and Skills without Market is a Hobby
God doesn’t want you or your family to starve. If it’s your calling, God will provide provision for you to pursue it. Usually that’s getting paid for it. How can you take your hobby and solve a problem for people with it? Where does it touch an area that other people care about? It’s ok if it’s a niche thing, as long as somebody will pay you for it. It’s ok if it’s not for everyone, as long as there are enough people who collectively will pay you enough so you can keep doing it.
Alternatively, God may provide provision through something else. This is especially true in the early days when you’re honing your craft and acquiring the skills.
Think of the 17th-century European composers and artists. They had patrons, usually nobility or royalty, who would cover their expenses so they could write their music and make their art. Oftentimes today, your job is your patron. It covers your expenses while you get good enough for people to start paying you.
What if there’s nothing on any two lists?
Then go with your passion list. What on there makes your heart sing? Is there something that equally excites and terrifies you? That could be it.
But, as it stands, you’ve got no skills and you’ve got no market. So start acquiring them. What baby steps can you take now to start getting better at that thing? How can you solve someone’s problem with it? Look at people who get paid for it. What problem do they solve? What’s their business model? How do they do it?
You have a unique calling from God. Hopefully this exercise has helped you discover it. So take action! Have you identified your calling, but you’re missing either passion, skills, or a market? Stare down your fear and start your God-given adventure today. Tell us in the comments what steps you’re taking to acquire the parts you’re missing. Let’s do this!
And, BTW, God wants to introduce you to your calling. He’s dying (literally, Jesus did) to have partnership with you. Will you partner with him and seek agreement with him for your life? Found out how to hear God in Dave’s free ebook “Hearing God and What’s Next: 12 Ways to Hear God, 3 Things to Do about It, and 6 Ways to Know You’re Not Crazy.”