How to Follow Your Call When It’s Hard
Welcome to Week Two of the Follow Your Call Series!
I'm thrilled to welcome Julie Loos from Unmasking the Mess as she shares her powerful story of following God even when it wasn't easy. I know you will be able to relate to her story, just as I have and I hope you find the same encouragement here!
Have you figured out what God is calling you to do and it’s been frustrating? So you think you heard God wrong?
Do you find yourself looking at other Christians and noticing that their callings seem easier or problem-free?
Friend, I understand it.
For the longest time, I wished God would text me or have a neon sign confirming that I had heard Him correctly. I never got any message from either, by the way.
However, God lead me to write and blog, and then hard circumstance after hard circumstance happened, and I questioned if I heard Him right.
I mean, when we get into the sweet spot of our calling, shouldn’t it be easy?
This was the way I thought it would be.
Things that Make God’s Calling Hard
Stepping into God’s purpose for our lives should be a cake walk. Where did we ever come up with this idea? Or maybe it was just me?!?
What I’ve come to realize is that God uses the tough situations of life to make us more ready for our calling. So those closed doors and the technology that goes on the fritz as soon as we begin to write are all parts of the refining process.
A season of anxiety and depression in my journey are stepping stones into a greater walk with God and a more Christ-like nature within me.
So even though I may want to throw in the towel more than I want to admit, I press on even when it’s hard in order to receive the blessings God has waiting for me.
I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. (Philippians 3:14, NLT)
When I started to write, suddenly friends and family thought that I had a screw loose.
First, they questioned that God really lead me to it.
You’re going to write, but you don’t even like writing? What do you have to say, anyway?
Second, they discouraged me.
You’re not a great Christian, you’re… and on with the hurtful words they sent my way.
Finally, the people who are supposed to be my biggest fans never ask me about what God is doing in my life. They don’t want to see the growth, the relationship blossom, the fears, and the doubts that I’ve broken free from.
Remember what I wrote about a few sentences back… God uses the whole process to create dependency on Him and the remaking of me so that I can be more like Him. Those family members and friends are a part of this process which grows my character qualities within.
Frustration and lack of support grow patience, and they push me more towards God.
I can get in the way of my calling and make the progress slow or even non-existent.
What doubts and fear do I believe in my heart which makes my calling harder than it needs to be?
I don’t know about you, but how I want to be used in God’s kingdom is grandiose and big. It’s exciting and successful. And yet, our expectations can be bigger than what God’s plans are for us.
This can create a challenge when we strive for what isn’t a part of God’s plans for us.
God’s Purpose in Calling People
Here’s the truth to remember: God doesn’t need our help to fulfill His purposes here on earth, but rather He wants us to cling to Him, find our purpose in Him, and prepare us for eternity where we will use our gifts to serve.
God uses all three of these influencers to grow us more like Christ. Hard times, closed doors, bad attitudes, and lack of support are all tools He uses.
And we know that God causes everything to work together[a] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28, NLT)
Hard Callings from the Bible
When we look into the pages of the Bible, we can see God using experiences to make people more suitable for their callings.
Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den to depend and trust God.
David wrestled a bear and lion to get him ready to fight Goliath, which enabled David to fight even harder battles in the future.
Paul experienced shipwrecks, jail time, and a stoning all of which ushered him to pen the pages of the Bible and give us hope through hard seasons.
When we feel like we must have heard God wrong in regards to our calling, maybe the tough circumstances are all signs that we’re hearing God correctly.
[bctt tweet="When we feel like we must have heard God wrong in regards to our calling, maybe the tough circumstances are all signs that we’re hearing God correctly. #followyourcall" username="NicoleAKauffman"]
God uses these in order to make us more able to fulfill our purpose.
3 Action Tips When Our Calling is Hard
- Daily time with God. We won’t have the strength to endure life’s battles when we aren’t filling ourselves with God’s Word. Dependency and a relationship with God happen through spending quality time in the Bible.
- Spending time in the Word enables us to focus our thoughts on what God says about us. Fear and doubt can’t reign supreme when we fill our thoughts on God’s love and His truth. We can become obedient to God’s calling even when it’s hard surrendering our selfish humanness to what God desires. The only way we can know what He desires is in His word.
- Surround ourselves with an encouraging community. We don’t want naysayers around us when we are being obedient to God. What we need is Christian friends who encourage us, pray for us, and lead us back to God’s Word when we begin to become frustrated and fearful.
Friend, if you find yourself following God and doing what you think He’s calling you to do, and yet you find tension and tough times, just remember its part of the process.
It doesn’t mean you heard Him wrong, or something is wrong with you. Other Christians are also having difficulty in their callings.
Keep pressing on, keep praying for strength, and keep living out God’s word.
“Radical obedience to Christ is not easy... It's not comfort, not health, not wealth, and not prosperity in this world. Radical obedience to Christ risks losing all these things. But in the end, such risk finds its reward in Christ. And he is more than enough for us.”― David Platt
Julie Loos is the mom of 5 kids and has been happily married to Greg for 19 years.
She loves to read, eat chocolate, drink iced tea and spend time writing in the midst of messes.
You can find her blog at Unmasking the Mess.
This is just what I needed to read this morning. I have felt like “throwing in the towel” so many times it’s hard to count! I just completed a big project (a website and video course on mental health) and now comes the big work of marketing, and all that goes into that. It just seems overwhelming.The 3 actions steps are so important and even though I know them in my head, I need to submit to them – if that makes sense. It’s easy not to depend on God and just go it alone. Thanks again for writing. Visiting from #Searchingformoments
You have so much insight in your writing, which has given me new perspective on something I’ve been struggling with. It’s quite obvious to me that writing is indeed God’s calling for you, keep it up!
Just this morning I was reading through at my usual pace in the book I’m studying–Luke–when I came to the part about Jesus being rejected by His hometown peeps. This was exactly the message I’ve been needing because it’s often the people closest to me that don’t get what I do or support it like I would hope, Julie! That seems to be your experience as well. But I decided this morning that if Jesus could press through that hurtful rejection to His calling, then I can and should do the same! Thanks for your inspiring words, my friend, and thanks also to Nicole for this fantastic series!
Thank you! I’m in a season of transition, and I felt so certain that I knew what God was asking… yet it’s not at all what I had in mind. I’ve struggled daily with the unknown and the doubts.
I definitely feel called to be a mama to my boys, but there are some super hard days when I feel unequipped or unable to!
This is so beautifully written. I agree with you, God has His way of letting us know his plans for us. He may test us or he may not, but whatever it is, we just have to trust Him because He will not do anything that will not make us better.
Loved this post! I went through some similar trials years ago when the Lord called me to start a Ladies Bible Study group in our church. I was in my twenties and another older woman close to me questioned my desire and calling, feeling that an older woman should do this kind of ministry. God comforted me with this thought, “I called you, not another woman.” And in my flesh, I thought, “Well, if that’s so, then why isn’t an older woman already doing it?”
Anyway, I’ve gone through teaching a no-show class to teaching very large classes and any size attendance in between. These experiences taught me to do what I do primarily for Him and trust Him with all the results, giving Him all the praise.
So when God led me to start my blog, I’d already learned some lessons that have helped me persevere as my readership is growing fairly slowly. It’s all in His hands!
Thank you so much for your insight here and for the reminder that it’s God’s work and for Him and to just keep on no matter what the naysayers say!
what a fabulous post, and exactly what i needed to hear! hearing our call can certainly be difficult but sometimes i think we pretend we don’t hear it because it’s not what we want to hear. Regardless we need to trust in the Lord and remember He has everything planned for us. it’ll all work out how it’s suppose to if we keep growing in our relationship with the Lord.
What a great encouragement. Some of the best things in life are not easy. I love hearing these suggestions to work through the hard stuff to allow God’s will in our lives.
It’s so true that God’s calling on our lives can feel wrong when it’s not going the way we’d hoped. He’s always challenging me to grow, and it’s not always easy! Love your tips on staying the course by being in God’s word and in community.
“When we feel like we must have heard God wrong in regards to our calling, maybe the tough circumstances are all signs that we’re hearing God correctly.” <— that right there is what I needed to hear. Thinking that it's supposed to be easy is such an attractive trap.
It’s so true! People are constantly spreading the lie that we know we are in God’s will when everything goes smoothly and easily for us, but sometimes (like you said) God purposes and uses hard things to better prepare us.
This was such a great reminder thank you for sharing your insight. Sometimes we get so caught up within ourselves we fail to see who the caller is and the power he holds to help us and guides through our calling.
Beautifully put! Thanks for sharing this. Often times in my own life when I’ve started doing something I feel God has called me to, there is always some resistance that rises up. But that’s a good sign! The enemy doesn’t want to see us succeed. So we trust God and come out on the other side stronger as we hold onto His promises.
I love this. I met similar obstacles when I started writing and still encounter them as people learn that about me. Love your tips and especially ‘Frustration and lack of support grow patience, and they push me more towards God.’
Thank you for the opportunity to share my story!
I think the hardest part is believing in the message and trusting the call.
I agree that spending time with God In a daily basis is the best way to gain strength to deal with life’s challenges.