Calling at Work: What Makes You Come Alive?

by | May 10, 2023

What is your calling? 

Think about that question for a moment. When you think of someone who “has a calling” who do you envision? What type of work are they doing? Do you think about someone running a food pantry? An orphanage? Someone finding a solution to the water crisis?

What about your hairdresser or barber? Your child’s teacher? The CEO of a fortune 500 company? 

When I think of someone living out their calling, my first thought is typically someone in the first group, rarely anyone in the second. Each of those people could be living out their calling, but it could be that none of them are. 

How is that possible?  

Howard Thurman, a theologian, author, and civil rights leader, once said, “Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” 

I feel that for many years I have done myself and those around me a disservice thinking that God could only call me to be a “missionary.” That I was only a valuable follower of Jesus if I moved across the world, put myself in danger, and spent my life living in poverty. 

The Lord blesses many people with an intense passion to do those things. If you are one of those people, then, by all means, GO! Live out the calling for which the Holy Spirit fills your heart with passion. 

But, if you are passionate about event planning, if your heart flutters thinking about planning and watching an event unfold that you spent months on, if you feel empowered to make people’s day at 5:00 am when you are serving them their first of many cups of coffee, if you look at the skills and talents that you have been blessed with and see that being an electrical engineer will best serve how God uniquely created you…DO IT! 

God did not give you those gifts for you to set them aside and not use them.  

With all this in mind, I cannot go on without emphasizing that your calling is not just your job. Many people are in workplaces or have job descriptions that they don’t necessarily feel passionate about. God doesn’t always place us in positions that we would describe as making us come alive. I’m reminded of some wise words a fellow WMI participant shared with our cohort this week during discussion. 

This person explained that while they don’t necessarily feel called to the role that they are in or the company that they work for, they can still live out their calling through the gifts and abilities with which God uniquely blessed them. They said, “Even if [the job I feel called to] is not my job right now, I can still live out those attributes where I am now.” 

Another participant wisely pointed out that our calling can change throughout our lives. God may bless us with multiple plans and positions and companies throughout our lives that allow us to serve our coworkers, clients, and customers with the characteristics with which God has graced us. 

For myself, I have found that now and for the past several years God has called me to many roles that require extreme empathy. Some roles that I’ve been able to live that out include a resident assistant in college, hostess at a pizza place, a barista, and an operations and development manager. Ultimately, God has called me to a life of understanding His people and has put me in vastly different roles where I can serve people well through empathy.  

What is God’s calling for you? Are you going to travel to the other side of the world? Make the decision to be a stay-at-home parent? Take the job at the tech company? Or maybe God is calling you to stay right where you are.  

Take some time this week to take note of what makes you come alive, and the attributes the Lord has graced you with that feed into that passion.

Photo of Jayni Mitchael

Jayni Mitchael

Jayni joined Workmatters in August of 2022 as the Operations and Development Manager. She is a John Brown University alumna and proud mom of a baby girl, Marlowe.