One of our pastors once said something in his sermon that caught my attention: In order to set your priorities, define what you are called to BE. But I didn’t fully recognize how to apply this until later.
My husband was interested in going on a one- week mission trip to Haiti. (See “A Helpmate or a Nag?” in chapter 1 of this book.) Because we had always gone on mission trips together, it didn’t really occur to me that God might lead me to stay home, so I started the prayerful surrender process. I wasn’t interested in going, but I finally got to the point where I had peace that God would provide for all my needs and I was willing to go, even though I couldn’t claim to be enthusiastic about it. I just figured God would give me the enthusiasm once I got there, like He did on a previous trip to Romania. Therefore, I told Tom I would go. Then one night, I awoke with a strong impression that I needed to continue to pray about going to Haiti. So, I began praying again and within a week I had confirmation that God was calling me to stay home. However, I cheerfully continued to help Tom in his preparations to go.
Later, the revelation came to me on how to apply that sermon tip. Write out who I’m called to be, and then see how the thing I’m considering lines up with my calling.
I’m called to BE:
a) a supportive (not manipulative) Christian wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandma, and friend.
b) a mentor to women (individually, in groups, or via my writings)
c) a mentor to our grandchildren
I finally learned that it’s ok for Tom and me to have different passions and callings (but there are ways we can be supportive of each other). Tom serves in the church as an elder, an usher, and sometimes as a leader in the mid-week children’s program. I serve in the women’s ministry and to women outside of our church. I feel called to write, but Tom doesn’t. He feels called to periodic short- term mission trips and, in general, I don’t. (Though I will always pray about any trip he plans to go on.)
Until the Haiti trip, I just assumed God would always want me to accompany Tom (since I always had in the past). But after I’d surrendered and decided to trust God, and He gave me supernatural peace about trusting Him, He revealed He wasn’t calling me to go.
I think I had gotten confused because, in the many years of raising children, with the exception of our professions, we always did things together (as a couple, or as a family). Now, in our retirement years, we often do things separately during the day, and we’re both fine with that because we also have many times together.
So, it is helpful to define who God created us to BE and identify our passions. Then, when faced with a decision, we can see if it aligns with our calling and abilities.