Ever feel like you're hitting a brick wall with all your best intentions? Before you know it, all the good, God-serving things that gave you a sense of calling and mission lay in shambles at your feet, leaving you to wonder why you thought they were so great in the first place:
Maybe you heard God wrong.
Maybe He never called you in the first place.
Maybe you’re just not up to the task.
Maybe you over estimated yourself.
In the course of one week, half of my “calling” seemed to disintegrate. As a writer, who seeks to lead others to develop a strong relationship with Jesus, I felt like an utter failure.
I’m struggling to promote a book that I believe God compelled me to write. A generous local business offered to host a book signing for me. Only three people showed up—and they were all my friends just there to support me. And they already owned the book.
I’m an editor for a Christian website that I love and fully believe in. Last week, the founder emailed with discouraging news.
I decided to host a Bible study in my home and invited all my neighbors. Five women seemed excited and committed to attend. Before nine Monday morning, all but one had cancelled.
What do you do when all your “good-God things” go bad?
How do you quickly redefine your purpose, your calling, when everything you set out to do suddenly seems small, worthless, ineffective and empty?
I sat on the floor debating whether or not to cry. What now, God? Should I just quit this whole writing thing? Am I just not meant to be a leader?
A verse floated across my mind:
“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” Galatians 6:9
But how do you not lose heart when nothing seems to succeed, when you feel completely unproductive with nothing to show for your efforts?
Recently, I learned the origin of the modern definition of productivity:
“In the late 1870s … Frederick Winslow Taylor produced the first efficiency study and in doing so created the practice of ‘scientific management,’ from which we ultimately were given the concept of ‘productivity,’ a linguistic construction of the words product and activity, or ‘product activity,’ as it were.”
As concise as that sounds, I don’t think that definition of productivity is the kind that pleases God. It’s certainly not the kind exemplified in the life of the man who penned Galatians 6:9.
“Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea … “ 2 Corinthians 11:24-25
Not exactly a stellar resume. But if you know Paul’s story, you know that the greatest harvest was sown and reaped in the constructs of chaos and seeming failure.
Paul was confident in his calling, if not in its immediate consequence. Paul was mindful of his mission, if not in its momentum.
There’s a lot than can appear discouraging—even like outright failure. There are a lot of reasons to lose heart. But we must not.
First Corinthians 15:58 says, “ … Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
Your work in the Lord is not in vain. Don’t lay down your calling in search of a better plan just because reason (and pride) tells you to. Remember, God uses the small things, the small beginnings, the foolish things. (Zechariah 4:10, 1 Corinthians 1:27)
And, “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
The not growing weary is your job, the harvest is His.
Abby Kelly is a nomadic, military spouse writing from wherever she momentarily finds herself with her husband, their wonderful dog, Brave, and two tolerable cats. Abby began writing in the process of recovering from a more-than-decade long eating disorder. She credits Jesus Christ for her full recovery and for filling her with a passion to encourage others to seek freedom from their own addictions and struggles. Now, Abby is the senior editor for two online Christian publications: www.tblfaithnews.com and www.mydailyarmor.org. She is a freelance editor, as well. Abby continues to write for numerous Christian publications as well as maintains her personal blog, www.predatory-lies.com. In her free time, she and Brave enjoy volunteering in hospitals and schools as a pet therapy team through Pet Partners.
Genre: Bible Study, Christian Non-fiction