I guess you could say God likes to sneak up on you.
You’re marching along to the beat of the ordinary. Then one day the ordinary is interrupted by a calling. That calling can change everything, if you discern it.
For me, as I sweated in the pet cemetery for $150 a week, the interruption wasn’t the voice of God speaking from the grave of a golden retriever. It was the sound of Pentecostal preachers coming from my headphones. See, as a brand-new, fired-up Christian, I lugged a huge collection of recordings of my favorite sermons to work every day, and I listened to those sermons on my Walkman while I strained in the sun. Remember Walkmans? They played cassette tapes. Remember cassette tapes? They . . . . Never mind.
The point is, I remember the sounds of old-school Bible preachers booming in my ears day after day. I would rewind those tapes to the parts I liked best. I memorized those sections word for word, breath for breath, down to the pauses and cadences the preachers had perfected. To me it sounded better than any dance beat at any club. And in the subtle intonation of my spirit, I was beginning to sense something. Something life changing: God is calling me to be a preacher one day. I’m meant for something much more than what I’m doing right now.
Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with burying pets and keeping their resting places perpetually tidy. It built a lot of discipline into me, and for that I’m grateful. But it wasn’t my greater calling.
Looking back, I can see that God used those sermon tapes to interrupt my life. To speak a future into my heart. He was stirring up in me a desire that would become my life’s obsession.
Elisha’s calling came through a lightning-quick encounter with Elijah. Mine came, in part, through the passion of soulful preachers backed up by Hammond B-3 organs.
How will yours come?
I’ve talked to some people who sensed their calling—which may have been to start a business or pursue their vocation with greater passion—through one sentence in a casual conversation that wouldn’t stop ringing in their ears. Or an experience that left an imprint in their minds that wouldn’t fade away.
I’ve also known moms and dads who got a clear and distinct vision for the way God was calling them to raise their children, not in a brilliant breakthrough moment, but over years of slow, steady, Spirit-led impressions and observations.
I could give you hundreds of examples, because God communicates vision differently to everyone He calls. It won’t be exactly the same for you as it was for me, Elisha, or your best friend.
So how will you know when God is interrupting your life with this calling?
You have to pay attention to the spiritual vibrations around you.
Evaluate the “interruptions” He’s using to knock you off rhythm. Examine the way God is aligning the truths in His Word with the context of your life.
Is there a message that seems to be hitting you upside the head over and over again? That’s one way you can know God is trying to get through to you.
Other times you won’t hear it so clearly. But if you’ll position yourself in God-focused places and around God-centered people, you’ll learn to hear God in greater ways over time. And that’s the goal. Greater.
The ways God speaks His calling into our lives are as unique as the colors He spun when He spoke the world into existence.
The thing is, you don’t have to get all wrapped up in figuring out how God’s calling will come to you. Just be ready to respond in faith when it does.
Excerpted from Greater by Steven Furtick Copyright © 2012 by Steven Furtick. Excerpted by permission of Multnomah Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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