How to find your calling (and why most people get this wrong)

It never fails. Every week someone asks me what the "secret" is to doing work you love, to finding your purpose. They think because I work for myself that somehow I've got it all figured out, that I set a goal and made it happen—no problems or bumps along the way.

But the truth is, finding your calling is a process full of tensions to be managed. And it's just as much about responding to the signs God is trying to reveal to you as it is about taking action.

As Christians, we're told constantly that we were created with a purpose. And it's true, you were made to do good works, born to leave a legacy. The events of your life are directly related to your understanding of this. And whether you believe it or not, you're living a story. Whether it's worth telling is up to you.

So how do you find that purpose? If you're like many people who are striving to live meaningful and intentional lives, it will come in the form of what many refer to as "a calling."

Whether you believe it or not, you're living a story. Whether it's worth telling or not is up to you.

Two camps

There are two camps when it comes to this idea of calling:

1. "The need is the call."

Look around and you'll see a world in need. Can you help those needs? Great. This camp claims that if you can see a way to help, that's your calling. If there is some good you can do, then you have a responsibility to do it.

As my dad says to cars that remain parked in an intersection after the light has turned green, "What're you looking for—an engraved invitation?!"

2. "Pursue your passion."

Your heart knows what you were made to do, claims the second camp. You can trust your heart. Once you submit to your passion, you will begin to find your purpose.

Howard Thurman once said, "Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

But unfortunately, both of these common camps are tragically flawed.

Click here to read the full commentary courtesy of Relevant Magazine

The opinions in this commentary of those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position or the policy of the Florida Conference.  Jeff Goins is a full-time writer, speaker and blogger. His new book, The In-Between, explores the idea of waiting and learning to live in the lesser moments. He lives just outside of Nashville with his wife, son and dog. You can find Jeff online at or follow him on Twitter @jeffgoins.

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