Editor’s Note: This piece originally appeared on Rebecca Hopkins’ blog, “Borneo Wife,” when she and her husband served in Indonesia. She now blogs from her new American home at rebeccahopkins.org .
It’s almost like the deep, dark secret of overseas work. That confession, usually made by a woman, sometimes with reasons, other times with self-chastisement hanging onto the words.
“I wasn’t ‘called’ to be here.”
She’s just along for the ride, supporting her husband, her kids, she says. And I cringe if I hear the next words. “I don’t matter here. I don’t make a difference.”
But I sit amazed at her dedication and sacrifice, despite what she believes is a lack of a Word from Above to come here. She came anyway, even though she wasn’t so sure if her role matters, if she is special, if she was “called.”
I call that faith.
“am I called? not YET”
I read recently on a blog about a woman waiting to hear her call to this work, asking God to give it to her. She wants to do it. Her boyfriend wants to go. But she waits anyway.
I have some honest questions about this.
Are we supposed to be waiting for specific directions from God Himself? Does God want to use our desires, our dreams, our gifts? Does He instead call us into things we would never choose on our own? What freedoms does He give us in how to engage our world?
Of course, when asking “Am I Called?”, there are important things for which to wait.
Even when an opportunity presents itself, we still need training, funding, logistics and a plan that will honor local voices. We need to learn what it means to help as part of a community, but not become outsider “white saviors” who may actually harm. We need to make sure we’ve thoughts through risks for our family, gathered some resources for our kids.
But should we also be waiting for an audible answer to our desire to go, serve, and love?
MY OWN “CALLING”
My own experience is somewhere in the middle on this. For years, I’d wanted to do this overseas thing, with or without a husband.
But I received no big magic words, no moment of heavenly insight, no signs, no deep voice in the night calling my name. Just a gradual awakening in my heart to the beauty of entering other communities in an intentional way.
My husband Brad’s story, on the other hand, includes moments of divine clarification, wisdom from above, even, I suppose you could term it, “a calling” to be in Indonesia.
He wanted to be there, too—his own desires part of the equation, too. But once upon a time, he wanted other things, things he had to give up to follow this dream.
CALLING, VERSION 2.0
And when we arrived, living the challenges of this life, we both struggled with other versions of “Am I called?”
Why do we feel so inadequate for this? Why is it so hard to do something good? Where is God in all the mess of serving? Why don’t we just go home?
I’ve heard, too, people (back in our passport nation) say they could never do this. This overseas thing. This work. This killing-of-shrews, power-outages, pregnancies-in-tropical-heat, far-away-from-family thing.
Amen to that. I don’t think I can do it either.
I’ve seen, too, the passions—you could even call them “callings”–without the “going overseas.” I cyber-met a woman this week who lives in the States, but started a nonprofit to help fund care for vulnerable children Indonesia.
She’s never been here. She’s a busy mom. But she’s doing what she can to answer that tug in her heart to do more. And her dedication to a people she’s never met…amazes me.
Though she isn’t “going anywhere,” she is definitely going places.
Am I “Called”?
So, what about you? Do you feel “called?”
Do you wish you were “called,” and feel like you aren’t? Maybe you feel like you missed it, maybe weren’t listening close enough. Do you think someone else more capable should have been “called” to your life?
Or maybe you think the answer to “Am I called?” came years ago. You’re sure you fulfilled your calling, to motherhood, to overseas work, to your job, years ago. And now you feel like you have nothing.
Wherever you are in the world or in your journey or with your questions, may you know there’s room in God’s invitation for us all.
Like this post? You might like
- God’s Will…and the Clarity I Didn’t Have
- Does What I Want Matter? On Desire & Dreams (…and 7 Reasons Not to Go Overseas)
- Free Printable Infographic: 5 Ways to Pray for God’s Will as You Consider Going Overseas
- He Said/She Said. You Say? “How can I know if God’s calling/leading me overseas?” Part I and Part II