A Wide Open Calling

I will never forget sitting in that little church in the ugly, grey, communism scarred city of Fiteste, Romania. I was still in my early twenties, still single, and still struggling with the question that every good Christian asks, “What does God want me to do with my life?” My most recent endeavor at the time — writing a book — I had abandoned, because I felt it just wasn’t good enough. So many people had written the same kinds of things before, and done them so infinitely better than I ever could. My work would never amount to what theirs did, it would never have the same global impact. Who was I to even attempt to walk in their footsteps? With this crippling rationale running around in my head, I had given it up, and was still wondering through my life without any clear direction or purpose, hoping and praying that God would open the right door in front of me — or at least point me down the right road.

I never could remember what that preacher was getting at, his words filtered through a very qualified translator standing next to him on the stage; but I never will forget what God was getting at as He translated it through His Spirit into my heart. The message was as clear as if my father had just told us to be home before nine when I was picked up for my first date.

“If you don’t do anything, I can’t do anything with it.”

Sounds like exactly what I wasn’t looking for, doesn’t it? Directionless, vague, utterly bereft of particulars or specifics. But that’s not how I took it.

The truth is in that moment my heart took a giant leap. I felt like God had just rolled the walls of my life away, laying the entire world open before me, and said, “Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? I'm ready so let’s go! I’m right behind you.”

He has reiterated this message to me at other times, repeated it, reworded it, backed it up with scripture, and reminded me of it when my life has taken me to broken places where I’ve felt completely lost.

“Go ahead! I'm right here with you, and I’ve got your back!”

This reassurance has given me the freedom to live and work from my heart, one day, one project, one neighbor at a time. I no longer wonder what God wants me to do with my life; I’m no longer looking and listening for a specific “calling”. I’m just living, doing all sorts of different things, together with God — and we’re loving it!

Next week I’ll be climbing on a plane, and flying down to the poorest country in the western hemisphere. I’ll be climbing a mountain with my food and water on my back and my bedroll on a pack mule. I’ll be helping to rebuild a collapsing school building on top of a mountain where a couple hundred children receive their education — this in a place where almost none of the adults can read or write and where those same children at that school receive what is often the only meal they will eat that day. Then I’ll be getting on a boat, going to an island with 15,000 people living on it, to help build a wind turbine for freezing fish. I might just go offshore in a yacht and catch some fish half my size. If we do, we’ll know where to take the struggling fishermen to find a better catch.

That’s what I’ll be doing next month. What’s God doing with it? I don’t get to see it all — we never do down here. But I look upward, and God and I exchange a smile, and our eyes laugh, because I know that someday He’s going to show me all the things that He worked for good, using all the things that I did. That’s going to be awesome.

Our unlimited God takes our feeblest efforts, and uses them for His purposes; no effort I make, no work that I do, no good that I attempt will be wasted. The greatest waste in this life is that of our days, when we don’t do anything either because we don’t know what He wants us to do, or because we don’t think it will be good enough, or because we’re just too d*#! lazy.

“If you don’t do anything, I can’t do anything with it.”

So, I'm doing something, a lot of somethings - new and different somethings all the time. Actually, I think I have found my calling. It's a calling to live from my heart - thriving in the abundance of a life shared with God. It's an incredible experience; it's freedom and life; it's meaningful and satisfying; and I can't wait to see someday all the good things that God is doing through it!

-- Hannah Montgomery

#mountains #hannah

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