Three Ways to Stay Grounded in Your Calling

What has God rested on your heart? What has he laid in your hands? What is his distinct call for you? He has tasked you with something special, a calling all your own. This calling is a gift, though it isn’t always easy to carry.

While my years of parenting toddlers are long gone, the image of a three-year-old tugging at my sleeve relentlessly, asking for a toy, a snack, a TV show, and my full attention seems appropriate for this conversation. Toddlers, co-workers, family members, and social media all have something in common—they all want our attention and they want it now. Every day our attention is being pulled at, and many of these tugs can take us off course from our calling. During seasons of constant pressure from multiple directions, our days can feel exhausting, depleting, and disappointing. 

Staying focused on and growing in our calling can be a challenge in any circumstance, and when we are not grounded, any distraction can knock us off course. Choosing to be grounded in eternal words before earthly wants is a key to staying that course and aligning with his calling. I go back to the visual of the tugging toddler. If we give in to every tug, want, and need from the world, we will be thrown off balance and life can become hard to manage, distractions can take hold, and calling can be left in the dust. God tells us to cling to him instead of the world, and this will keep us grounded. There are practical steps we can take every day to help us do this.

Find a healthy rhythm. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2). The rhythm of the world can pressure us to be everything for everyone and can be suffocating and distracting. While saying yes to others can be a service, knowing when we need to say no is a necessary practice. The practical process of figuring out who we are in Christ, who he says we are not, and what our boundaries are is important. Establishing these boundaries allows us to find a healthy rhythm and release the pressure of pleasing others so that we can focus on the priorities that align with our calling. 

Setting boundaries with our time and what consumes our mind is essential in navigating the chaos in life that might distract us. What is the first thing we do when we wake up? Check email, social media, the calendar for the day? What if we start our day with a renewal of God’s call on our lives? Prioritizing our morning to ground our day in God’s why for our work, resting and reflecting in the commision set forth. Establishing daily intentions as the first thought of the day ensures it never becomes an afterthought—we are giving the firstfruits of our time. Adjusting our morning routine to start with a quiet reflection, journal, devotional, or meditation allows us time to listen to God’s voice, not the conforming words of social media or the morning news. 

Pace ourselves with patience. “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1). In a world that rewards multitasking, multiple posts a day, and moving at an unsustainable pace, patience seems unattainable. But patience is necessary when navigating the tugging requests coming at us. Taking a pause to really evaluate which requests to complete and which to decline allows us to slow down and make better decisions. Not in a rapid moment, but in one that is more calm and still. Utilizing patience to grow in relationships requires the ability to self-regulate in all seasons and circumstances. It might be taking a walk, stepping outside, or sitting in silence—whatever the strategies, find something that works to bring our core back to calm during chaotic circumstances. 

Pray. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). What if instead of pushing through the feelings of fear, inadequacy, doubt, and shame, we take a pause and seek peace? And in that pause, we find peace through time in prayer? Prayer for strength, for direction, for forgiveness, for guidance, for wisdom, for peace. And in that time we truly sit and listen for his response? Pausing to gain peace in prayer can feel counterintuitive in our current culture. But the more we include daily opportunities for quiet reflection, journaling, and seeing circumstances through God’s Word, we gain greater perspective through difficult seasons of this life. We can then see how these are the opportunities that grow us in faith and a deeper calling, not tomorrow’s top tweet or next week’s news story.

In seasons of unrest, we can start to see the stress as insurmountable and seek earthly ways to cope. Being grounded in him is the way we overcome and remain steady. The next time you feel like a whole class of three-year-olds is tugging for your attention, remember that you can find a healthy rhythm, exercise patience, and seek God’s guidance in prayer amid the tugs of the world, so that you can stay the course of God’s calling.

Jessica Cabeen is a nationally distinguished middle school principal in Austin, Minnesota. When not on bus duty, in the classroom, or talking with teens, she writes and speaks about leading at work and in life. @JessicaCabeen 

Scripture quotations are from the New International Version of the Bible.

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