How Am I Supposed to Know My Calling?

How am I supposed to know what my calling is?

I get this question all of the time and, for whatever reason, many times this week. As I thought about it, I was reminded of a story:

Earlier this year, Liz and I made a trip to The City by the Bay, San Francisco. One day, as we made our way through Union Square, there was a man. His blue hooded sweatshirt hid the distinction of his face as he sat down on a bucket. Unlike many of his counterparts, he wasn’t just asking for spare change, he was earning it.

Spread around him in intricate fashion were buckets, buckets of all shapes and sizes. Atop some of the buckets stood crates and inside the holes of those crates were bottles, perfectly positioned to dangle. It was his drum line.

He played beautifully; he played with passion. The vibrations of the buckets and bottles echoed from the building surround and it drew me into that place.

His name was Emmet and he was making music.

What I Learned From Emmet

We use words like purpose and calling to describe our heart’s longing.

Sadly, some of us don’t use these words at all. We’ve given up on purpose and passion left us long ago. Passionless living is life threatening, it keeps us from our very purpose; to be light.

Please don’t allow yourself to go there – you were created for more than that. It’s time to rekindle your passion, to consider, that someone out there needs you to make music again; rich, beautiful music that only you can make.

Still, there are some of us who have passion and feel purpose, but we allow our circumstances to drag us down. All too often, it is the trap of comparison where we falter. Our proverbial stage isn’t big enough or our audience too few.

Nonsense; learn from Emmet.

He wasn’t playing for a sold-out audience, he was sold-out to himself, living out his passion in his space, earning his change. Is it sad or unfair that his talent doesn’t afford him a shot, a chance at fame?

Absolutely not.

The real tragedy is silence.

There is something inside of you that calls to you, the music your soul longs to sing. It doesn’t have to be literal music or art. Maybe it’s motherhood, perhaps it’s your profession; you love encouraging others or maybe you have a knack for making people laugh. I promise you, there’s something within waiting for you to live it out.

Do you want to know what your calling is?

The quickest way to find it is to quit waiting for someone else’s approval.

Tap into the music within your heart, His glory that rests within each of us. It’s all the approval you need.

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

Forget about who’s listening; forget about the size of the audience. You were prepared in advance for this.

Start making music.

Sing loudly today.

People will dance.

QUESTION: What music were you made to create? What is one obstacle you’re facing today?


, , , ,

17 Responses to How Am I Supposed to Know My Calling?

  1. Steven Tessler August 19, 2014 at 6:06 am #

    I know that I’m here to help and serve others. I’ve done that all my life.

    The obstacle now is not pinpointing it to one thing. Very frustrating…..

    • Matt Ham August 19, 2014 at 6:19 am #

      What is your biggest struggle or your deepest wound? I found that it begins there. You’re very clear on your strengths and passion. Match that with where you’re learning the most.

  2. Laura Hile August 19, 2014 at 9:56 am #

    Following my calling feels like that sometimes—like I’m drumming to a throng of passers-by—strangers, busy with their own lives, who care nothing about me.

    Ah, but my calling is not all about me, is it?

    Emmet is a drummer. He makes music; that’s what drummers do. And he does so with confidence. I don’t see him searching the face of every person on the street, desperate for approval and validation..He’s earning change, yes, but he isn’t earning validation.

    If he did that, he wouldn’t be any good as a drummer, right?

    Here’s the Aha! moment, for which I thank you, Matt. My calling—what God has wired me to do as an encourager and teacher and writer—cannot function if I’m seeking for approval from those I am sent to serve.

    • Matt Ham August 19, 2014 at 3:27 pm #

      Hey Laura! It’s so great to hear from you!

      You make some fantastic points and I’m glad for your input.

      Approval can be such a vile thing, if we let it.

      Thanks for being here!

  3. Tammy Helfrich August 19, 2014 at 1:58 pm #

    Great post. It reminds me of my favorite quote from Jon Acuff. “Forget finding a purpose. Live with purpose instead.” It’s changed my life to view everything that way. Keep encouraging people to dance!

    • Matt Ham August 19, 2014 at 3:27 pm #

      Tammy, I love that quote – I’d never heard that before. I might have to snag that 🙂

  4. Gregory Hill August 20, 2014 at 7:34 am #

    I was made to create music of positivity, authenticity, and vulnerability. One obstacle I face today is juggling multiple responsibilities while still making time for friends and family. I know which is most important.. but my culture needs me to be present with them and lead.

    • Matt Ham August 20, 2014 at 10:17 am #

      Hey Greg! Thanks for being here – It’s so great to see your passion lived out. One thing I’ve had to learn is that I AM present with my culture and leading them when I am leading those around me. Finding that delicate balance between being authentic in real life and with those you are influencing globally is key.

  5. David Mike August 20, 2014 at 8:41 am #

    My biggest struggle is time. One, I work two jobs, have a family with all kinds of extracurricular activities & church. Not a bad thing but hard to find time to write. Two, I feel like I need to interact with everybody on social media in order to maintain a presence and to support everybody who also is doing the same thing I am. Major time consumer.

    • Matt Ham August 20, 2014 at 10:18 am #

      David –
      It is incredibly tough and you seem to do a great job at it. One thing I have to do is limit my areas of time in proportion to my goals. For example, a year ago I spent a LOT more time commenting on blogs and being in the social interaction while I was building my space. Then I began existing more in my space and less elsewhere. Am I making sense? That transition occurs over time as you let it, just have to trust it.

      • David Mike August 20, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

        Do you feel like you are letting people down when they have no comments other than your own? I want to encorage some of these great writers but it is to the expense of getting my story written.

        • Matt Ham August 20, 2014 at 2:16 pm #

          Believe me, I’ve been on the receiving end of no comments and on the receiving end of 1 page view in a day. The truth is, a good message, well delivered, and authentically distributed will reach its intended audience at its intended time. The key is trusting in that timing. I have plenty of aspiring or up-and-coming peers who I support, but that doesn’t mean I’m commenting on every post. I’d narrow it down to a certain number and rotate it every week. And I say this because your goal is to tell your story, right? You have to discern what your goal is and organize your time around that goal.

  6. Dan Black August 20, 2014 at 10:43 pm #

    Fantastic post Matt, we all have been given “music to create.” However, not everyone creates the music they have been called to create. Great read here!

    • Matt Ham August 21, 2014 at 5:01 am #

      Thanks Dan – great to hear from you! I hope you’re still making music!

      • Dan Black August 22, 2014 at 12:10 am #

        Oh, yes I am:)

  7. Paul Sohn August 21, 2014 at 3:29 pm #

    Very inspirational Matt. I love how you were able to see Emmet and learn from his passion. We need to dance to the music within and listen to the Director above us. There is a tune that we all need to dance in. The question is, are we going to listen?

    • Matt Ham August 21, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

      Very cool, Paul. Follow the Director, I like that. Glad we’re on the same wave length!