Calling: Our Timing and God’s Timing—Guest Post by Jennifer Kolb

Kileaua lighthouse

 

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I’ve lived a lot of life—in person and over the telephone—with my dear friend, Jennifer Kolb. She is truly a lady of wisdom. As I talked through the ideas of knowing God’s best and what is good enough with her, her thoughts challenged me to really think through what each of these look like. I asked her to share some thoughts in a guest post. Please welcome Jennifer!

~~~~~

I grew up watching “I Love Lucy” reruns. I watched them so often I memorized much of the dialogue. In one of my favorites, Lucy becomes the spokesperson for a miraculous tonic called Vitameatavegamin. “Are you tired, run-down, listless? Do you poop out at parties? Are you unpopular? The answer to all your problems is in this little bottle…”

Red dirt path

How many times have I wished for a simple fix for the weariness and listlessness I feel? What if a little bottle could fix feelings of invisibility, frustration or guilt, feelings of being overwhelmed or not really contributing to the bigger picture?

Over the past few years, I entered a new season in life. I’ve struggled with the conflicting messages between our culture and my own heart’s yearnings. Where is God calling me now? Why can’t I find contentment? Why is my heart in one place, but God’s direction seems to be leading me someplace else?

Foggy waterfall

I’ve never felt such conflict in purpose since saying yes to God over twenty years ago. Is it just a “change of life thing” or something more? This tension has provoked me to dig deeper and attempt to find some answers.

One lane bridge

Ecclesiastes tells us “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Most of us walk through distinct seasons of adulthood: singleness, newly married, married with children, empty nesters, widowhood, etc.

Some of us pass through these stages one at time in some kind of order. But life isn’t always orderly. Depending on the circumstances, we may pass through these stages in a different order, skip some altogether, or even go through several seasons simultaneously. How do these changes affect our calling?

deep blue waves

Something I’m learning through praying and studying God’s word is this: the central things God has called us to as followers of Christ do not change. But our unique callings as individuals will probably change with each season of life. Different seasons offer new opportunities to explore our individual gifts—those things God has created in us that we delight in or are particularly good at.

Hydrangeas

Problems arise when we listen to current culture’s messages telling us we can and should be able to “do it all.” Maybe we can . . . eventually.

But can we really do it all at once? Can we maintain such a pace without consequence to our relationships, our physical and mental health, or other sacrifices along the way?

Should my focus be on doing it all… or on doing what really matters?

How do I make choices that don’t leave me weary or discontent? Choices that reflect God’s best for me? One thing that helps me is to not compare myself to others—wishing I was in their season of life or had their gifts.  I need to focus on what God has called me to in this season.

If I’m distracted about “what comes next,” I become disappointed with life today. God wants me to use my life right now, right here.

Footprint and waves

I don’t want to miss what He has for me in this moment in time. I don’t have to be someone else or somewhere else for God to use me.

I have this dream that I’m afraid to speak about out loud. I’ve taken small steps toward its realization. A few years ago, God provided an opportunity to jump in in a bigger way. I prayed about it, sought counsel from others, and felt confident God was providing this open door.

I loved it; it seemed like a good fit. I was growing, being challenged, was energized, and ministering to others.  I loved it so much, I missed the clues that this may not have been the right time. I noticed a growing tension between what my heart wanted and what God was calling me to at that season of life.

crashing waves

I became increasingly stressed, tired . . . ok, irritable. I couldn’t keep up with my family’s needs. My physical health started suffering. Even worse, so did my time with the Lord. God told me I needed to set it aside. I didn’t want to. I pouted and played the “It’s not fair” card.

Was I wrong about God’s call to this opportunity? I don’t think so. But maybe my ultimate vision at that time was different from God’s vision.

Rocks and water

Maybe these little appetizers in life are God’s way of growing skills, increasing trust in Him, and practicing for whatever may come next.

I believe God works in each experience to bring about His purpose in us, for His Glory.

There is no greater value in one season over another. Each is valuable to God, and He wants to use whichever one we’re currently in. We may not be doing exactly what we love now. But, we can grow to love the season we’re in if we allow God to use it for His purpose. What if life’s circumstances rip a hole in my plans? God isn’t taken by surprise. In all of it, He has a plan for my future. He’ll use it all—in His timing.

Balanced rocks

Some days I still feel like I’m on hold. If I look at life from God’s point of view instead of focusing on circumstances, I’ll see Him using my unique calling right now, maybe just differently than I anticipated.  I’m discovering these places of waiting are where God does the most work in my heart.

He hasn’t forgotten me.

I’m not invisible to Him.

small orchid

It’s not about recognition, making huge impacts . . . or about me at all. It’s about faithfulness to the One who gives the callings in the first place.

The answers to life’s struggles will never be found in a bottle of Vitameatavegamin, but in something much bigger, much better—a Person. If I trust God with my life’s callings and leave the results up to Him, I bet I’ll find unexpected blessings and the fulfillment I desire.

What about you? How have you discovered your calling in the season you’re living in now? How do you balance “doing it all” with “doing what matters?”

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “Calling: Our Timing and God’s Timing—Guest Post by Jennifer Kolb

  1. Welcome, Jennifer, and thank you for the lovely, thought-provoking post.

    I’m not really living in a season – it’s more like the final fateful morning at the Alamo, what with an illness they say is fatal and which is sure painful! I am struggling to stay in the game as I write this – it really, really hurts.

    Sure, there’s a calling involved, and that is to set an example of good attitude, good manners, and good cheer. In almost every moment there is something to be cherished, in every really miserable hour there is something about which I would say, “No, I would not trade this to be pain-free.”

    And the calling is to write about it.

    I sure didn’t plan to be here. It’s not what I wanted, but it’s the hand I’m holding, and I will play it to the best of my ability.

    Betting it all, I may yet win.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andrew, I can not begin to imagine how difficult your hours are each day, or the extreme courage it takes for you to keep fighting. Your calling to write truthfully and honestly is of great value. I read some of your words on your blog and have been greatly impacted. You are using what God has given you to help so many that will follow this path. Thank you. You will win. I am praying for you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you so much for your kind words, and faith-filled thoughts, Jennifer.

        And thank you for the prayers – Tennyson’s words are brought to mind, that by prayers is the whoe world bound ’round the feet of God with golden chains (from “The Passing of Arthur”, the last poem in the cycle “The Idylls of the King”).

        Liked by 1 person

    • Andrew, once again, your perspective challenges me in the best of ways. Thank you for the reminder to look for the things to be cherished in each moment. Your choosing to focus on looking for something good in your situation, your determination to keep a good attitude inspires many of us. Continuing to pray for you, friend.

      Like

  2. Thanks for this perspective, Jennifer! I like how you link a global calling to our own, changing individual callings. When I’m feeling adrift, I try to remember that Christianity is communal – that I’m part of something bigger. When I focus on that, usually my own small priorities fall into place.

    Like

    • Lisa, sorry for the delay in commenting. We’ve been out of town for the past couple weeks, and keeping up with “real” life was tricky! 🙂 I agree. Remembering we’re a part of something bigger than ourselves really helps us keep a good perspective, doesn’t it?

      Like

Comments are closed.