Calling through multiple lenses

Calling can be a confusing term which some equate to career and others to a religious vocation. For today, I thought I’d share some basic definitions from a few different author’s perspectives.


According to John P. Schuster in Answering Your Call, calls are invitations from life to serve a cause. He writes, “A call is the impulse to move ahead in a meaningful way. Calls are the source of lasting creativity in our lives.”

Have you ever felt like you had an invitation from life? What causes do you want to serve? What do you care about?


Os Guinness, author of The Call, defines calling as “the truth that God calls us to himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is invested with a special devotion and dynamism lived out as a response to his summons and services . . . Calling is the ultimate why for living in all of history.” He goes on to say that, “we are not primarily called to do something or go somewhere, we are called to Someone.”

Do you feel like you have an ultimate why for living? What do you think of the idea that a calling implies someone calling you?


In Whistle While You Work, Richard Leider and David Shapiro write, “A calling is not something you do to impress other people or to get rich quick. It’s a labor of love that is intrinsically satisfying.

What do you do that is intrinsically satisfying? Think about what you’re good at and what you’re passionate about.


Another helpful way to understand calling is to define what it is not. Paula McGee takes this route in her article “Calling vs. Career.” She explains that calling is who you are, but a career is what you do. “A calling is what you would do for free. A career is what they have to pay you do.” She sums up her definition of calling as, “that which the Creator sent you to the planet to do. It is your purpose in life—your gift to the world. If you choose your calling you will find a job that you love and as the saying goes, ‘Find a job that you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.'”

If you could give one gift to the world, what would it be? What would you consider your purpose in life?


Spend some time this week thinking about what you would say in response to each of these questions and share an answer in the comments section. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

3 thoughts on “Calling through multiple lenses

  1. Thanks, Tash! Excellent bite-sized thoughts for busy people to quickly digest. The questions are a great way to challenge each reader to engage in some self-study. Off to a good start!

  2. Hi Natasha,

    I read through all your “stuff” last night and am so impressed. You are taking on an incredible job but I have a hunch you are going to be really good at it.
    I had such a struggle in my young years what it was that God’s Will had to do with me. In Bible college I even wrote an essay about “the call” but it did me no good. I mulled over that for very many years but I had a sort of epiphany after I had been a nurse for at least 25 years. The dialysis unit I worked in at the Jubilee Hosp. in Victoria, was a vermin-infested old building that needed to be blown up. But meanwhile, we had to make our patients as comfortable as we could. A woman came in one day to visit one of our patients, a patient that was “mine” for the day and it was her first time on the dialysis machine. The visitor expressed her horror over the conditions we had to work under and asked me how I could stand it. The answer I gave her was God-sent. “It’s my calling and I don’t even notice the silverfish, the mice, the occasional rat,and the gloomy walls. My calling is to help my patients cope with their treatments”. I shocked myself. Many times over the years I wondered why on earth I had become a nurse. After this little encounter, I changed how I saw my patients and and how I treated them. It was such an incredible revelation.
    The search for “the call” has always remained with me. Life changes for everyone and as time has come and gone, I have had to ask the Lord, “what now?” many times. I have become very sensitive to God’s voice. Last year when your grandpa became so ill, I had gone on a personal spiritual retreat. I went to Quadra Is. for 4 days to contemplate, read, pray and most of all I tried to be still and let Him speak to me. This was another life changing experience for which I have been so grateful.
    Not long after that I joined a catholic Bible study at the big Catholic Cathedral down town. A friend had recomended it to me and after some soul searching I took the step. My main reason for doing so was that I hungered to know God without all the trappings that I had encountered over the years. Granted, the catholics have even more trappings than the evengelicals, but I was so warmly welcomed that I still go. It’s done in the lectio divina method and I think I have learned more about my Heavenly Father than ever before. I have become very close to the other women who come. You should hear them pray.
    Well, I will pray that God will use your gifts in helping other people on their journeys. Don’t be surprised if you are the one who gets most of the benefits from your endeavour.
    God bless you and John.
    Love to you, Sharon

    • Sharon,
      Those are powerful stories – thanks so much for sharing your experiences with understanding calling in your life. Thank you for your encouragement and prayer as well – I appreciate it and need it.

      Love to you too!

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