Why Life Calling Doesn’t Happen by Accident

Photo courtesy of Lucxama Sylvain from Pexels

Did you ever have a moment that made you come alive? When you felt like you could do this forever? When you started to dream about a life ordered around that gilded inspiration? We call that moment a spark of calling.

Three Remarkable People

Kypros Nicolaides was a medical student who didn’t care for medicine; he was in school to appease his father. Then a new professor brought an ultrasound machine to class. Kypros saw the image of an unborn baby for the first time, and he was undone.

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He had a spark of calling, which eventually led him to pioneer new procedures and technology that saved scores of unborn babies and their mothers.

Mother Teresa thought to lead a quiet life. Not big on attention and fanfare, she wanted to stay in the back and just be faithful. Then she saw people dying on the street, ignored for being poor and elderly, stepped over like they were unseen.

Photo courtesy of Terry Fincher/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

She had a spark of calling, which led her to provide a place for people to be cared for—and even die—in dignity and love. Her kindness would put her on the world stage, winning the Nobel Peace Prize and sought after by presidents, prime ministers, and royalty.

Wilbert Awdry was an Anglican minister who preached sermons to help people lead lives of moral character. Then his son got sick, and he began making up stories and telling them to his son to pass the time. He enjoyed this activity and was good at it.

Photo courtesy of ABC for Kids Wiki

He had a spark of calling, which led him to create a whole cast of characters—and the Thomas the Tank Engine series was born. He found a new way to teach moral character, selling millions of books around the world.

We look back on these people and think their next step forward must have been easy and obvious. That’s because we see their lives for what they’re known for.

Process Involved

But although they had a powerful, maybe irresistible spark of calling, there was still a process involved. They had to figure out what the spark meant, how they would order their lives in its direction, and what dream they may have to give up pursuing a greater one.

In other words, a process followed the spark.

You and I stand in their great company. For all of us, life calling doesn’t happen by accident. You will not stumble into living your calling. You may stumble into feeling a spark, but you will not accidentally, haphazardly, whim your way into living your purpose.

  • That’s because life is fraught with obstacles and distractions, and we are seldom if not with focus and attention, listening to our life.
  • That’s because although calling is received and heard, it does not come to us fully formed and matured, rather it’s the process of trying and failing to live our calling that instead forms and matures us.
  • That’s because we are not made as islands or isolated heroes in our stories, even if the cultures from which we come tell us the point is winning the day on our own so we can get all the glory.

Follow the Signs

So please, pay attention to the signs, but devote yourself to a process once the signs have gotten your attention, whether the signs are images of unborn babies, sights of suffering people, stories that build character, or other things.

The sparks are signs, and the signs and sparks are telling you something, but the journey is not over; alas the journey has just begun. You’ve been granted a means of grace meant to lead you on, so don’t miss them or make too much of them; treat them as signs that lead you toward something greater.

Life Calling On Purpose

And that something greater is your life calling, that supernatural purpose for which you were made. It’ll take your passion and your strengths, working along with your enduring values, to bring the good into the world that was set out for you to bring.

It’ll take people to urge you on, models and exemplars to learn from, intentional practices to keep you going, and lessons and insights to learn. This is much more than the spark that led you here! But thanks for the spark!


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