Clarify Your Calling – Week 4

Welcome to Week 4 of Clarify Your Calling! I’m so glad you are here! If you missed the other posts in this series you can find them here:

Week 1: You Are Called
Week 2: Don’t Pursue Your Passion, Pursue God’s Plan
Week 3: The Next Step

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I tucked my legs beneath the wooden school desk and crossed my ankles as the teacher announced our grades in front of the entire class. I loved school, but something about this part made me squirm. Knowing I would get a good grade, but not the best grade made me question if I was really good enough.

Something inside me wanted to be the best. I wanted to hear, “Micah – 100%”.

I strived from my early elementary years to do my very best always looking for the A+ or 100% with a big bold smiley face at the top.

We all assembled at the end of the school year to acknowledge the smart kids. They announced the Honor Roll students, the Most Improved Students, and the ones who excelled in sports or leadership qualities. And then at the very end of every award ceremony they gave out the biggest award of all – the Teacher’s Award.

My heart was pounding, my little third grade hands were sweaty, and I could have burst into tears at the thought of winning or losing. The pressure was too big for my tiny body.

“And this year’s Teacher’s Award goes to….”

When the name was announced my shoulders dropped with a heavy exhale, and the voices in my head began.

“See, you didn’t do enough.”
“You’ll never be as good as her.”
“You’re not as smart as she is.”
“No matter how hard you try, you’ll never make it.”
“The teacher’s see something in her that you don’t have.”

All these years later, those voices still creep into my mind sometimes. They say things like:

“You’ll never succeed at this.”
“She does a way better job than you.”
“You don’t really know what you are doing.”
“Look at how easy it is for her.”
“No matter how hard you try, you’ll never catch up.”

So I sit back and evaluate my life and my calling. And a still small voice overrides all the “you can’t’s” and “you’re not good enough’s” with:

“I am with you.”
“You are enough with Me.”
“It’s not about the A+.”
“It’s not about the Teacher’s Award.”
“You just need to obey.”
“Trust Me, Micah.”
“Walk with Me.”
“I’ll lead you.”
“I’ll guide you.”
“I’m not into awards on this earth.”
“My rewards are eternal.”
“Man might never see, but I do.”
“Trust and obey.”

A wave of fresh grace and confidence washes over my soul and I remember my calling.

When I compare my calling, I question myself. When I surrender my calling, I am confident in Christ.

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God didn’t call me to get a Teacher’s Award or be recognized by this world. God called me to obey His voice step by step, day by day.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” II Corinthians 12:9(ESV)

There might be days of victory with gold stickers, confetti, and trophies, but even it not, I’ll remember my God-given calling – surrender.

I am not called to get awards and recognition of man, I am called to walk with God.

When I walk with man, I am insecure in my worth. When I walk with God, I rest secure in His will and way.

If you tend to compare yourself with others always wanting the A+, it’s time to surrender the good grade for the God-given grace within your calling.

God will equip you for your calling. Don’t give up when you think no one notices and don’t give in to the voices that try to derail you. God is with you and that is enough. Clarity is waiting for you in the presence of Jesus Christ.

Surrender doesn’t mean I compromise my life. Surrender means Christ in me will fulfill my life.

Dear Heavenly Father,

As we sit back and evaluate our callings, help us see clearly. Help us know this world is not a place to seek rewards and recognition, but help us seek You and You alone. For in seeking, we know we will find. Help us rest in the confidence of your presence and help us surrender our souls to your security.

In Jesus Name,
Amen.

Love & Blessings,

Micah

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Clarify Your Calling – Week 3

Welcome to Week 3 of Clarify Your Calling! If you are just now joining us check out the other posts in this series:

Week 1: God Is Calling You
Week 2: Don’t Pursue Your Passion, Pursue God’s Plan

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It’s easy to get my heart fixed on a goal, a desire…a big dream. I plan, prepare, learn, and do all I can to reach the destination of the ultimate place of success.

For me, it’s a desire to help people who hurt – the ones who feel like they don’t have a place to voice their pain. It’s to embrace the reality of this life with gentleness that will break down the walls that harm our hearts. It’s a big dream. It seems insurmountable. But it’s my calling. And it’s clear.

When I embrace it in it’s entirety, it’s impossible. There’s no way to abolish pain. There’s no immediate fix for the fear that saturates the wounds of those who have been harmed over and over again.

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26(ESV)

God is helping me as I embrace my calling. He’s reminding me to stop controlling the bigness of what I think it is, and He’s telling me to do the right thing today.

For me, some days it means putting a band-aid on a skinned knee, kissing a sweaty forehead, and looking deep into the eyes of a child who is learning to walk through this life and figure out where they fit.

It’s pouring my soul into the little hearts in my home who desperately need a mama to say, “I’m proud of you, I see you, and I will always love you no matter what your life looks like.” Most days, it’s simply giving the gift of a smile to the crew under my roof and genuinely being kind to them even on my bad days.

It’s about letting Jesus shine through in the difficult moments, and pointing lives to Jesus even when circumstances force us to our knees – this is where my calling is.

It’s writing one more blog post and putting it out into the world wide web not knowing who will read it or who’s heart will be hugged by a simple, “You are gonna make it through this.”

It’s being pleasant when my husband walks in the door and praying desperately that God would help me be the best version of me.

It’s calling a friend, sending a text, and being sensitive to the lives God has purposely placed in my circle of life.

Big calls completed are never achieved overnight with enormous leaps of success. Big calls require teeny tiny steps of obedience one day at a time.

As I learn to clarify my calling, I’m learning the beauty of the mundane. Miracles happen in remaining faithful to the mundane masterpiece of today. God is doing something. He has called us. He is working.

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Take the next tiny step.

Kiss your husband passionately.

Look into your child’s eyes purposefully.

Talk to a friend compassionately.

Live your life purposefully.

Embrace God’s Word presently.

This is where you will clarify your calling.

Goals are good, but they are not where greatness resides. Greatness resides in what you do in this moment with the calling God has etched upon your soul.

What is your tiny step today?

Are you willing to take the next step even if it seems insignificant?

My tiny step is pushing “post” on this blog. I hope you will share it with someone you love. You never know the difference your tiny step will make.

Dear Heavenly Father,

As we learn to take little steps of obedience, please guide us with your Word. Show us where to focus, when to move, and when to embrace the smallest actions steps. We know you are calling and we commit to listen intently. We choose to embrace obedience even when it seems too simple, too small, or insignificant. We know the glory is yours in every goal and in every call. As we seek clarity in our callings, give us eyes for your purpose and your purpose only.

In Jesus Name,
Amen.

Love & Blessings,

Micah

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Clarify Your Calling – Week 2

Welcome to Week 2 of Clarify Your Calling!

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Have you ever felt like God is telling you to do something big for Him, yet you feel unqualified and inadequate to complete the task?

As I struggle with my own call as a writer, I often think, “I’m not cut out for this”.

If I had a degree in journalism, knew every grammar rule including the ones that I can’t pronounce, and could throw together a piece of writing without dependence on God’s strength, wisdom, and clarity, I would be doing everything in my own power.

Without God, it’s not a call, it’s a cultivated craft of man.

If we are looking for clarity in our calling, the first thing we need to do is ask God for His direction.

I’ve often heard the advice that you should do what you are passionate about, but I think I disagree. Passion can be misleading. I’m passionate about a lot of things. My personality type is to dive in and do things with all my might. My heart thuds valiantly to do something and do it well. One of my life-long passions is volleyball – particularly coaching.

I could easily get myself a job as a volleyball coach. With five years of experience, I could step out on a court and help a team reach their potential and I would pour my passion into every moment. But for this season, that thing I’m super passionate about isn’t my calling. It’s not what God has called me to do even though my heart bursts within my chest at the thought of teaching a teenage girl how to control the ball and perform to her best ability.

Before you embrace the thing where your passion bleeds, ask God for His direction.

Don’t pursue your passion, pursue God’s plan.

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How do I know God’s plan?

1. Seek Him Daily

As you struggle with what to do, where to go, how long to stay, when to make a change, or how much time to give to whatever it is that fills your day, fervently seek God.

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13(ESV)

2. Serve Him Faithfully

This doesn’t mean you are at the church every waking moment fulfilling acts of service that take up every moment of your life (unless God is calling you to that). But the service I am speaking of is heart service. It’s a daily surrender that can only be acted on in complete release of the will and desires of man. It’s giving up the thing you want to hold onto and allowing God to place something different into your hands. It’s letting go of the turmoil that you rehash day after day and embracing the peace that only God gives. It’s removing things that cloud your view of God and keep you from spending undivided time with Him. It’s living a life devoted to Him in every moment. There’s so many things that fill up our lives each day that have nothing to do with Him. Faithfully serving means your day is filled with His stuff.

It’s letting go of good things to make way for greater things – God things.

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. Psalm 1:1-2(KJV)

3. Surrender to Him Expectantly

God promises to direct His children. We know this is true. However, there are plenty of people in the world who go to church, put in their time and wonder why God isn’t showing them the way to go. It’s not about doing this, so God will do that. It’s about surrendering to His way. Sometimes that means doing things even when we don’t feel like we are the best person for the job.

When God calls you, His call qualifies you even if your skill set is lacking.

But Moses said to the LORD, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” Exodus 4:10-12(ESV)

Step 1 to Clarify Your Calling: “Don’t pursue your passion, pursue God’s plan.”

Dear Heavenly Father,

Guide us, Oh Lord, as we seek your purpose. Show us where to step and where to step back. Give us wisdom to know when you are calling and discernment to know how to stop feeding our passions and start pursuing your purpose.

In Jesus Name,
Amen.

Love & Blessings,

Micah

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Clarify Your Calling – Week 1

I was a little girl when I first heard God call me by name. It wasn’t an audible voice, but it was a heart thumping conviction that consumed my mind until I had to kneel and confess my need for a Savior.

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No matter the age, when God calls His child, it’s a unique experience for the one who is called. I can’t tell you exactly how it happened, or precisely how it felt. I can’t describe the words that entered my mind or the way I was compelled to surrender. But I can tell you this – Jesus called me.

Throughout my life I’ve had various “lump in my throat” moments when I knew the Holy Spirit was speaking to me. In middle school I remember kneeling down after a chapel service in my Christian School. God spoke to me, and in that moment I knew my life’s purpose was to serve God with all my heart through church ministry.

In high school, I travelled on mission trips and heard God tell me to spread the gospel with all my might and strength.

In college, I heard God tell me to wait on His perfect timing and teach my heart out to the children He would place in my classroom.

As a young wife, I listened as God spoke words of love into my new role as a help meet and friend.

When I became a mother, I embraced the call of God on my life to love and nurture the gift of life God placed into my arms.

And over the years I’ve heard God tell me sit, go, talk, be quiet, hold on, rest, love, show compassion, stop, learn, grow, step, wait, calm, be, encourage…

There are so many calls I cannot express every word. I wish I could tell you I’ve leaped at every call and acted quickly in obedience, but I haven’t. There have been long nights when I wrestled with God. I’ve told God every reason why I shouldn’t be the one to do what He has said. I’ve given excuses. I’ve let others take the lead in the name of spirituality even when I felt God’s conviction within my heart. I’ve stepped in when I thought I knew best and taken control of things that God never told me to do. Oh, how I miss it sometimes.

But God is gracious and merciful. And even when I make a mess of the calling He imparts, He uses my human imperfection to refine me and works through the mess in spite of me.

God is calling each of His children. He is calling you.

I don’t know what you feel when God speaks to your heart, but for me it’s heart-thumping, soul-gripping, and mind-boggling truth. Often I hear His voice through His Word, through the silence, through the innocence of a child, or the words of a teacher. However He does it, He speaks. He’s alive. He’s real and He is calling us, every single one.

So what is God saying to you? Is He calling you?

For the next few weeks, we will discuss how to “Clarify Your Calling”. Mine won’t be like yours, and yours won’t be like mine. But if you’re thinking you might be called, you probably are. It might be to tenderly love a child, to honestly listen to a spouse, or to flip a country upside down with the gospel of Jesus, but no matter what it is, it is holy and it is good. God’s call is confident.

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6(KJV)

Love & Blessings,

Micah

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Breaking Up With Perfect – Book Review & Giveaway

In Amy Carroll’s new book Breaking Up With Perfect she shares from her personal struggle of striving for perfection. When our desire to make everything exactly right impacts our relationships and how we live life, we are in for trouble. Amy’s wisdom on this topic is invaluable!

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Amy brings out the everyday issues we deal with like making endless lists, putting off a good thing because it’s not on the schedule, and doing more and more for the sake of acceptance rather than service. It’s a hard lesson beautifully wrapped up in sincere stories, heartfelt compassion, and honest revelation. Amy knows firsthand what it’s like to struggle with trying to make life perfect and she reveals the difficult truth of how it affected her life.

Beyond our mothering skills, housekeeping standards, planners, and calendars, there is a world that needs women who are surrendered to the voice of God. When we set aside all the things we know to do, and listen for how God would have us be, we are ready to begin the break up with perfect.

Dumping perfection is a learned discipline that doesn’t happen overnight, but has the potential to be life changing if we will embrace the lessons so tenderly presented in Amy’s book.

If you are anything like me, it’s probably time to cut the strings with perfect and embrace each day with a new perspective. Amy’s insider tips are perfect for the woman who is ready to ditch perfection for a deeper rooted relationship with God.

Sometimes it seems like others have a perfect life and the struggle to keep up is impossible. Amy diffuses the need to press on for more perfection, and encourages us to embrace the life God has given us even if it isn’t perfect.

One of my favorite features of Breaking Up with Perfect is the list of Fifty Ways to Leave Your Perfect and the Going Deeper section in the back of the book. These simple resources are valuable tools to encourage your heart on your less than perfect days.

One of my favorite quotes from Amy’s book is: “It’s not just an “issue” or problem to be a perfectionist. It’s actually sin.” Ouch. But, this quote has helped me so much!

I’m giving away a copy of Amy’s book! Enter below by entering your email address and leaving a comment on my Facebook Giveaway Post. If you share the Facebook post and tag me your name will be entered a second time.

Amy Carrol's book cover

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I will announce the winner in the comments of this post on Thursday!

If you want to join Amy for an on-line study you can connect with her HERE.
Love & Blessings,

Micah