I have found for myself that winter is a time of reflection. Maybe, this is because culturally we are told that January and the New Year is a time to think about where we have been and make new resolutions for the coming year. Maybe, it is because I am not a fan of the colder temperatures; therefore, I am more apt to stay inside and be more sedentary, leading me to think and reflect more.
Whatever the reason, God has been revealing to me lately that He is taking me through a time of transition and refinement. He is using this time, as He does in Nature with plants and certain animals, to make me dormant. Not in the sense that I am not productive, for even when plants are dormant, it is not a ceasing of their functioning; it is merely a reduction of their metabolic functions for the purpose of refueling and rebuilding in order to prepare them for the next season of growth.
Are you finding yourself right now also in a state of spiritual dormancy? Are you feeling as if your spiritual growth is stunted? Have you noticed that you are searching for spiritual fulfillment? If so, it may be that God is calling you to use this season in your life to refuel, rebuild, and reconnect to His calling for you in His kingdom.
In reflecting on how God has called me in the past and is currently calling me to a new direction in His kingdom work, I have identified 10 action steps that I believe are helpful in discerning and moving into the calling that God has for your life.
1. Admit that it is possible for God to give you a calling. You are never too young or too old; too bruised or too broken for God to use you in His kingdom.
2. Allow yourself to dream big, God-size dreams. There are no limits to what God can do through you. Can you imagine Abraham’s amazement when God told him to look at the night sky and understand the He would use Abraham to build a nation of His people that would outnumber the stars. All Abraham had to do was to be obedient and believe that God could and would fulfill that purpose and calling through him.
3. Think about the desires or “tugs” that God has used to pulled at your heart in the past. What are the things that you remember saying to yourself, “Oh! Someday, I want to do that!” Maybe you have already attempted to fulfill a dream in some area, but you have been thwarted by something. Don’t be afraid to let God resurrect that desire. Also, think about the things that others have said you are good at. Nothing is too small or too insignificant in God’s plan for you. He has designed your calling to uniquely align with the way that He has created you. He has a place, a “niche”, for your calling that only you can fill. Not that God can’t or won’t fulfill His purpose without you, He will! However, what a waste of your giftedness, if you allow yourself not to be a part of His mighty work here on earth.
4. Purpose yourself to draw closer on a daily basis to God. It will be very difficult to discern and follow God’s calling, if you are not daily connected to God, the Caller.
5. Begin to understand how you best connect to God and His Word. Not everyone is made by God to connect to Him in the same way. Some people are wired to do this through a “traditional” quiet-time of Bible reading. Others, may find that they are most in tune to feeling God’s presence when they are exercising. Those individuals might listen to an audio version of the Bible while walking on the treadmill or while jogging or biking. Still others may find they feel closest to God when listening to worship music. For those people, having praise music playing in the background while reading the Bible can enhance their encounter of the truth of God through His Word. However and wherever you most freely hear the voice of your Creator is where and how you need to make a consistent appointment to meet and commune with Him through His Word. I highly recommend you read, Sacred Pathways: Discover You Soul’s Path to God, by Gary Thomas, in helping to discover this for yourself.
6. Be obedient and step out in faith. Realize and rationalize that if God has called you to this purpose in His Kingdom, then He has not only gone before you to prepare the way, but He will also be beside with every step you take toward His calling.
7. Anticipate and look for the clues that God will place in your path. It is amazing what you will begin to notice when you align your attention to God’s Will.
8. Be patient and wait upon the Lord. Be careful not to place your own designs on how to accomplish His Will. Remember the examples from the Bible of those who tried to accomplish God’s Will through their own devices, i.e. Sarah using Hagar to give a son to Abraham. She tried to accomplish God’s calling for her through her own plan instead of patiently waiting for God to fulfill it.
9. Be in prayer. Daily asking God to reveal His plan for you is vital to staying aligned with His purpose. I would also encourage you to ask others in your community to interceded upon your behalf in this way as well.
10. Be aware of the enemy’s attack. As you step out in faith, fulfilling your calling and purpose in God’s kingdom, Satan will try to stop you. You are in the midst of a spiritual battlefield. The enemy will consistently try to distract, discourage and destroy your attempts to fulfill God’s plan. As every wise soldier knows before entering into battle, you need to put on the armor of God. Also remember, first and foremost, that you, through Jesus’s death on the cross and resurrection, already have victory!
God has masterfully ordered the seasons of Nature. Following winter is the season of spring. New life and new colors emerge from the dull and dreary landscape during this time. Think about it, the verb form of the word spring means to be moving forward in progress, nothing is ever described as springing backwards.
Consider, if you are lying dormant in this spiritual season, trying out these 10 action steps. Let God refresh and renew His vision and calling for you so that you are ready to spring into action adding what only you can add to the beauty of His kingdom’s landscape.