This past weekend I served as the head music person for a weekend retreat, Arkansas Presbyterian Pilgrimage #17, and I had a revelation of sorts about what it means to be “called” to do something. I realized that sometimes we get asked by people to do things and sometimes we are called by God to do things. It’s important to recognize the difference. This may not sound like some huge revelation, but it just hit me at a whole new level this weekend.
The retreat I staffed happens twice a year. I have repeatedly been asked to serve as the head musician for the past couple of years. I have always declined. I have declined because I am not a strong musician by any stretch of the imagination and every music leader that I have seen has been. Also, the position requires strong organization of details — another one of my less than stellar abilities. Consequently, I have said no in the past and I did again this time.
However, this time the request wouldn’t let go of me, internally or externally. Internally, I lacked peace around my decision and found myself repeatedly second guessing myself. Externally, the person who asked me came back and asked again because she was convinced that I was the person for the job. I relented and said, “yes”.
After saying yes, I basically said to God, “If you really want me to do this, then you are going to have to provide a team that can pull it off because my skills aren’t par for what’s needed.” Weeks passed and then I received an email telling me my team members. Within the mix was a professional musician who had written a number of the pieces in our music book. Plus, he had served in the position I was in many times before. There was an old friend who had taught me much of the music I know. He also loves organizing things. Last but not least, there was a woman who has served on multiple teams and knew the requirements of the position. She regularly kept me straight on what needed to happen.
As we were cleaning up at the end of the retreat, I started beating myself up for not having said yes before. I thought, “Why did I resist this call for so long? My self-deprecation though was halted abruptly by the thought, “No. You didn’t resist a call. You were never called to lead those other teams. You just got asked by someone. You couldn’t have led those teams. There wasn’t the right mix of gifts, but this team you could lead.” Wow! What a realization. Along with it came a complete knowing at the core of my being that this was true — I hadn’t been called to lead those other teams, but this one I was.
So, do I have some great litmus test for knowing precisely when God is calling me to a particular task. Not exactly. I can say that my sense of peace or lack there of is often a strong guiding factor. In addition, God’s providential hand seems to also affirm when I am heading down the right path. God provides and opens doors.
I do know this for certain: In the future I am going to take more seriously the role of prayer in making decisions about these requests. When I do say yes, I am probably going to watch for the ways God provides. I am also going to trust a bit more that God may call me into tasks that are much bigger than my abilities.
Right now how are you being called to serve God? Do you have commitments you have made that were not from God?
p.s. My new ebook, “Tips On Prayer, A Quickstart Guide to Improving Your Prayer Life.” is now available on Amazon.com. To check it out click HERE.
Filed under: Uncategorized