Divine Callings
Mysterious Ways|February/March 2021
Have you ever felt called to a purpose?
Kaylin Kaupish

I remember the exact moment I knew I was meant to be a writer. I was in my fifth-grade computer lab. A friend and I had finished our assignment early. “Let’s write a story,” my friend said. It was as if a light had switched on. Not over my head. In my heart. I just knew this was what I was meant to do with my life. For years, I sensed there was something special about this moment. It was an inflection point. Recently I wondered—could what I experienced have been the tug of a divine calling?

Examples abound in the Bible. Time and again, God calls upon people to take action. As when God called on Jonah to travel to Nineveh.

Or how David was destined to become king. Or Esther being called to save the Jewish people. We can even find divine challenges in our history books. Florence Nightingale felt called by God to become a nurse. Sojourner Truth claimed a holy vision inspired her fight for abolition and women’s rights. These callings are more than messages from God. They are profound moments in which God shows us what we were put on this earth to do.

But are divine callings reserved for people destined for greatness— biblical figures, historical movers and shakers, visionaries and prophets— or are they something that normal people, people like me, can experience? Experts on the topic insist that divine callings are accessible to all of us. Gregg Levoy, author of Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life, says the first thing we need to understand is the difference between a calling and a job. “We often mix up these ideas,” he says. Though our job can be our calling—and is for many people—a calling can also be different. In his book, Levoy shares the story of a man who runs a coffee company but whose calling is abstract painting. The man continues his job and follows his calling simultaneously. For most of us, a career is a vital part of our life, but figuring out our divine calling is often different. “The big question we should be asking ourselves isn’t ‘What should I do?’” Levoy says. “We should be asking, ‘Who am I?’”

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