In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before, so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.” I was very much afraid,
Nehemiah 2 NIV
As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”
Mark 1 NIV
The words call and calling come to us from the Latin word vocatio, from which we get our English word vocation. A vocation is a calling, a recognition that someone (God) or something (a cause, a particular group of people, an opportunity to seize or problem to solve) has taken hold of us and won’t let go. It’s a summons, if you will. The prophet Jeremiah was called to prophesy to Judah and her surrounding nations, and he described his call as a “fire shut up in my bones” (Jeremiah 20:9).
A calling seizes you, takes hold of you. You don’t invent it. It’s not the same as thinking logically through a career path. You don’t make it up; it comes to you. You might come to understand it as something that’s been present in your life for a long time, but even then it’s something from outside yourself. As I’m describing it here, it comes from God.
Calling is not just for those who believe they’re summoned to church work. My friend James feels called to address the global HIV/ AIDS crisis. Nehemiah was called to lead a massive public works project. Esther was called to help avert wide- spread genocide.
Have you heard God’s call?
This is perfect, as I know that God put a call on my heart to teach when I was 20. I didn’t feel that I could at the time. I was a new mommy, with a not too supportive husband. I had a beautiful baby girl and worked full time. I couldn’t see working full time and going to school at night when I really just wanted to be a stay at home mom. Especially since, in 1987, I made more money per year, without any education, as a teacher made. Had I started one class per semester, it would have taken me about 14 years to get a credential and be able to teach. (2001) it didn’t help that my husband continually told me I was too dumb to go to school.
So, I worked, had a boy, and fought the urge to work at a school. Ten years later, I found myself divorced. It was time to find myself (thankfully, I was a believer). I started college. I still worked, so I only maanaged a couple of classes a semester. Fast forward to 2001…I had somewhere around 30 units, wholeheartedly told God I would obey his word (that is another story) and low and behold, without a college degree, or teaching credential, I was offered a job at the adult school teaching business courses. At the exact time that I would have had a credential, theough a route I had no idea I would take, there I was teaching.
15 years later, and I am 2/3 of the way through a doctoral program, and having been called to start a charter school in 2009, am running a beautiful charter school, that has been blessed by God.
I thought of you when I read this quote from “Forward: 7 Distinguishing Marks for Future Leaders” by Ronnie Floyd –
“A forward leader knows he can’t fix every problem or respond to every crisis. He keeps his powder dry so he has ammunition for the most important initiatives or for the most important crises. I know that the best-selling author Stephen Covey is a Mormon, but his principle “Putting First Things First” is helpful here. He writes, “But you have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage— pleasantly, smilingly, non-apologetically— to say ‘no’ to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger ‘yes’ burning inside. The enemy of the ‘best’ is often the good.” 4”
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The end in mind is to get the …… (horse…student….teacher…..) to do what you want…. it’s a process….