For the last four years (yes, four years!) I've been looking at the topic of 'vocation' and 'calling'. They are the sort of words we can use a lot in church, often without thinking about what they imply. It's amazing that God, the awesome creator of the universe, chooses to interact with us, that he calls us and gives us freedom to shape our loving response. We often have an individualistic tendency to focus on 'specific callings' to particular things and to worry if it feels like we don't have that. The implication is that God micromanages us. While the idea of God orchestrating every details of our lives is comforting in some ways, it can also cause anxiety about 'what if I miss God's plan for me?', raise questions about God's responsibility for evil, and, frankly, it's not entirely consistent with Scripture.
God certainly does have plans for us. He absolutely calls each of us. God is always at work in the details of our lives. While that sometimes takes the form of a very specific revelation of his will to a single, specific thing, this is the exception rather than the norm. The New Testament overwhelmingly speaks about God 'calling' us in terms that apply to all Christians, but which respect our God- given freedom. We are called to faith, discipleship, belonging in the Church, and to everlasting life. We are called to orient ourselves to Christ and life in ways that are holy, distinctive, and always seeking to love God and neighbour. There is a common Christian shape, but we are all variations on the theme. It is my responsibility to make this common Christian calling personal.
This is a huge encouragement. If God wants to clearly direct us and make his specific will know, he can do that (Acts 16:6-10 comes to mind as an example)! We should absolutely pray, but don't be anxious if God doesn't reply with a ten-point action plan. If there is no lightning bolt, then we have already been given the tools we need to make wise, Christian decisions.
God is 'calling' us to exercise the freedom he has gifted us, not to do whatever we want, but to use our discernment to make wise decisions for the love of God. If you are facing big decisions this week, don't be anxious. Use them as opportunities to turn again to Christ and live out your Christian vocation. In doing so, even the most mundane and 'un-churchy' things become our vocation, our loving response to God's call upon our lives.