Finding Peace When You Can’t Figure Out Your Calling

It’s easy to let the noisiness of the world block out God’s voice. But then we lose sight of his plans for us.

Do you remember those ancient phones that were shaped like boxes?

Do you remember going to Radio Shack to buy a longer cord so you could move around while talking on the phone? Do you remember sitting nearby and waiting for an important call?

In the cell phone world, you no longer have to sit around waiting for a call to come in. You can run errands and go places and visit people, all while having the ability to answer virtually anywhere you are. But have you ever missed a call because it was too noisy around you? Maybe it was traffic or a train or a party. Maybe it was at home. Regardless of the locale, one thing is certain, noise is everywhere. Sometimes you miss the Lord’s call not because we were not home but because it was too noisy.

Family noise says “travel while you can,” “get married, settle down, have kids,” “we wish you would stay.” Church noise says “get involved and stay awhile.” Society’s noise says, “go with the flow and do what feels right for you”. Not all noise is wrong or bad, but all noise can be distracting. Even good noise can cause you to miss a call.

But what exactly is the nebulous and mysterious, Christianese word, “call”. What does it mean? I, myself, struggle to come up with a good explanation of being “called” to missions as a pre-teen. It was like a prodding, almost wriggling, and restless sensation caused by an idea which permeated my thoughts and plans.

Life was noisy. But in a time of quiet, the Lord spoke to 12-year-old me. There was no audible voice or miraculous sign. No angel came and delivered a message. Instead, the Lord used the testimonies of numerous missionaries over the span of several years to coax out an understanding in me, albeit quite in competition with my own desires.

For the next seven years, amidst the noise around me, that calling persisted relentlessly.

That is when the Lord used the pain of an injury to draw me into the quiet. He spoke through his Word, “Stop your fighting and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10a, HCSB, emphasis mine). I read the verse repeatedly, and I realized I had been fighting. Fighting to ignore the relentless, wriggling call; fighting to turn up the volume around me; fighting to find a secondary way to obey, while doing what I wanted.

In that pain, there was quiet. There was peace. “Ok, Lord, you tell me what’s next”.

Two weeks later, in a missions conference, he said, “Stop your fighting and know that I am God, exalted among the nations, exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10b, HCSB, emphasis mine). I didn’t know where he would send me. I didn’t know how he would use me. But in the peace of those moments, I knew it was best to stop making noise and just listen.

A near abandonment of photography, for three and a half years, led me into international missions. At age twenty-four, the Lord opened doors for me to pursue photography again. He answered my “why” and “how” questions with a this-is-it moment. This time, his peace persisted, as I learned how the Lord wanted to use my skills with my calling. A pathway which has brought me, for now, to Togo, West Africa to serve him, using the skills he has given because it was to this which he called me, through the noise, eighteen years ago.

You might not have to sit by the phone to wait for a call, but make sure to answer and to listen to it when it does come!

Do you feel God calling you to missions? Do you have a heart for the lost but aren’t sure how to help? Learn about the partnership opportunities that you have here.

Hannah Strayer

Hannah Strayer is a media specialist serving in Africa with ABWE. Hannah uses her photography and media skills to share the needs on the field, help missionaries more effectively communicate with supporters, and share the gospel with nationals. Support Hannah’s ministry.