What is your calling?

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As college students, there's a lot of pressure to know what we plan on doing for the rest of our lives. And if you're anything like me, that's a really hard thing to figure out. In February I wrote a blog about my serial major changing habits. Those habits, which you can read about here, have lead me to have a lot of questions about my calling, my goals, my ultimate answer to the forever looming question of "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

And thankfully, because our God is a good Father, I read a book that lead me down the road to answer my questions.

Today, I'm going to share part of what I learned with you.

John Mark Comer is a pastor and writer in Portland, OR and his words have changed my life. His latest book, Garden City, made it onto my "5 Books to Read Before 25" list. It's also the book that the Father used to shepherd me into the answer that this title asks, "What is my calling?" And all of these questions are directly from Garden City

So from here, I am going to take you through these questions. In my opinion, they could make or break what you declare your major as. My hopes in writing this is that these questions will do what they did for me. I want them to provide you with somewhere to start laying a foundation for your future. 

If you read them and you don't have an answer-- good. Seek the Father. He wants you to know His will more than you want to know it. 

What do you love?
This is simple. And this may change as you age. And that's okay. Just keep asking yourself. The Father will show you what you really love.

What are you good at? (Oh, and bad at?)
Self awareness, yay! It's good to know what your strengths and weaknesses are. If everybody acted like they're good at everything, bad things would happen. Ask this question, don't be falsely humble, and make a list of the things you love and that you're good at. And embrace the things you're bad at. Allow the answer to this question to narrow down your list of dream jobs. 

What does your world need?
This is an easy one, but beautifully, if differs depending on where you live. At the end of the day, the world needs Jesus and it needs love. So if what you want to do doesn't involve those things, scrap it. Start over. Seek the Father. He wants to use you to further His Kingdom and show His kids His love. But beyond that, does the world need more doctors? more teachers? more non-profits? Ask the Father what His world needs. 

Does it make the world a more Garden-like place?
When Comer says "Garden-like" what he means is "like Eden." Our role is to work to return the world back to what God made it to be. It is a concept further explained in the book, so definitely read it if that struck a cord with you. But, for your answers' sake: does this work, your calling, benefit the Kingdom of heaven? Does it point people to Jesus? Does it encourage peace? 

What are the open doors in your life?
If you can't get hired as a bank teller, you probably aren't meant to be one. God opens doors and He closes them. He will make your path open and known if you are meant to walk down it. If He closes the door to that college with the really specific major that you want, it's likely you aren't meant to have that profession. Pay attention to your opportunities. 

What is God blessing?
this builds off the last one. If you keep getting an opportunity to work with international students, seek Jesus in that. If you keep getting promoted at your job, seek Jesus in that. If you got a scholarship to the school with the major you want, seek Jesus in that. He will bless what He calls you to. 

What are people who know you saying?
This is so important. The people we love, whether you believe it or not, want the best for us. If you want to be a cook but your parents don't like your food, you should step back and ask yourself what that means. This doesn't mean that you should only pursue what you're complimented on, but it does mean that you should listen to what your people are saying. Jesus often uses the most important people in our lives to point us down His path. 

What's the Spirit stirring in your heart?
Freshman year, I felt the Spirit leading me to start and blog. And I didn't. I laughed at the idea. Flash forward three years: I write for Choctawk, I have that personal blog I laughed about, and I'm an English Writing major. The Spirit knows what He's doing. If you have a stirring to learn another language, pursue it. If you have a stirring to teach, He'll show you. He doesn't keep silent about the things He wants us to know.

So, what's your heart saying? If you have a clear answer, seek Jesus. If you don't, seek Jesus. He will show you, I promise. It may not be in your timing, but it will be in His. If this stirred something in your heart, I definitely want to encourage you to order a copy of Garden City. It's an important read for those of us with open futures. 

And ultimately, our calling is to love God and love others. That's the bottom line. If what you want to do doesn't accomplish those things, start over. 

Friends, here's to the future. And to the One that holds it. He had great things ahead for us, no matter what our calling is. 

-Ashton
writer + sister + friend

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